Find out all you need to know about becoming an accountant in the UK if you have excellent numeracy abilities, an analytical mind, and are good at handling money. If this sounds like you, continue reading.
Those who are not involved in the accounting field sometimes have the misconception that a career in accounting is one that is boring; nevertheless, working in accounting may really be one of the most satisfying professions, regardless of whether you work in the private or public sector.
Abilities in analysis, interpretation, and adaptation are essential in order to effectively convey correct financial information, propose realistic goals, and propel the development of a corporation. However, even if you already possess the skills required to become an accountant, you will still need to pick which subfield of accounting best matches your interests and research the requirements that are often expected of professionals in that area of expertise.
If you want to work as an accountant in the United Kingdom, you will need to do the following procedures first.
1. Make sure you have the appropriate credentials in accounting.
The AAT certificate is generally considered to be the very minimum degree of expertise required of an accountant; however, if your goal is to become a chartered accountant, you will need to further your education to get the ACCA, ACA, or CIMA credentials.
Although a degree from an accredited college or university is required for many accounting jobs, having one is often seen as more desired than necessary. In most cases, the bachelor's degree may be in any field, even though having one is required for a certain position.
Therefore, even though taking economics and mathematics at the advanced level (A-level) and then going on to get a degree in accounting may be advantageous, you would still be able to get the accounting qualifications you need even if you didn't go down this focused route. This is because professional bodies provide courses for students and workers of all levels.
People who are interested in accounting occupations have access to a wide array of financial credentials; this may make the process of looking for employment prospects complex.
To offer you a solid place to start, the following are some of the most prominent credentials for accountants:
Accounting courses offered by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) integrate theoretical education with hands-on experience in the workplace. These accounting courses span three levels (Levels 2-4) and include a total of four credentials.
certifications conferred by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); these qualifications are broken down into two tiers: fundamentals and professionals. The modules cover a wide range of subjects, including auditing and assurance in addition to corporate and commercial law.
Professional certification from AIA (The Association of International Accountants) - by completing their highest award, you may earn qualified accountant status and become a member of this international organization. AIA is an acronym for "The Association of International Accountants."
This certification requires 450 days of practical work experience in addition to the completion of 15 test modules in order to get the chartered accountant designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). This qualification is also referred to as the ACA.
CIMA, or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, is an organization that offers a business finance award. This organization also manages the well-known CGMA, or the Chartered Global Management Accountant, which requires candidates to already possess the postgraduate-level CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting (Cert BA).
However, if you have a certain career route in mind, it is important to check into the recommended accounting degrees of that specialisation. Many accounting businesses accept qualifications from any board, but if you have a specific career path in mind, it is important to look into those qualifications.
For instance, in order to become a chartered accountant, you will need to have completed the studies necessary to get the ACCA certificate and have worked in a field-related capacity for a minimum of three years. The overall amount of time required to get completely certified is often between three and four years.
Obtaining a combination of GCSEs and A-levels is required in order to apply for the ACCA certificate. If you are interested in becoming a chartered accountant but do not have a degree, this may answer your question. On the other hand, if you already have a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in any field, you may not have to take as many of the tests. You are able to join the accounting profession and begin your studies at the foundation level even if you do not have any formal academic credentials.
2. Determine which area of accounting you want to specialize in.
Management accounting and financial accounting are the two primary categories that compose the accounting profession as a whole. Within these divisions are further specialized disciplines to work in, such as budgeting and financial analysis, as well as the position of controller.
Management accounting, in contrast to financial accounting, is concerned with providing information to those working within an organization, such as managers and employees; financial accounting, on the other hand, is concerned with providing information to those working outside of the organization, such as shareholders.
Management accounting, in contrast to financial accounting, is not mandated by law and is limited to the coverage of certain goods. Financial accounting, on the other hand, encompasses the whole organization. The majority of graduates will join the field of accounting via the field of financial accountancy, which may lead to a range of different career paths including the following:
recovery of businesses and avoidance of bankruptcy
auditing and accounting for crimes
Graduates also have the option of working in either the public or private sector depending on the area of accounting specialization they pursued.
3. Obtain employment or an apprenticeship in accounting.
The value of accounting work done in real-world environments cannot be understated, notwithstanding the significance of obtaining certifications in order to build a reputation in the field. It is common for students to continue their education while working full-time, which provides recent graduates with the ideal chance to gain the essential skills. You will be able to continue working while pursuing a certification in accounting if you are successful in securing a training contract.
You will be able to find employment as an accountant in any industry, including the public sector and the private sector, as well as with huge corporations as well as small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). You will eventually be able to zero in on the atmosphere that best suits your working style. The vast majority of job openings are posted directly on corporate websites, so it is important to keep an eye out for openings that you are qualified to fill.
You'll also discover that graduate programmes in finance are often designed with the chance to get an accounting certification like the ACA or the CGMA as one of the program's goals. This is something else you should keep in mind.
However, accounting apprenticeships, such as those provided by the AAT, are a realistic alternative to university. Not only that, but they give a fast-track to gaining chartered status with the key professional organisations, such as the ICAEW and the ACCA.
If you are able to acquire an apprenticeship, you will be able to earn a pay and receive the same benefits (including a holiday allowance) as other workers at the firm while also gaining valuable practical experience.
Conduct a search for the most recent graduate accounting positions.
4. Acquire experience in appropriate areas of accounting work
A work placement, volunteer position, or part-time job are all viable options for anyone looking to get into the sector. Even if it's only for a day, seeing someone else in their accounting role may give you a sense of the types of tasks you could be responsible for. Some accounting companies now provide possibilities for clients to get work experience through the internet rather than in traditional office settings.
Formal summer accounting internships with larger financial institutions, such as PwC or Deloitte, can be very competitive for students because they are typically oversubscribed; however, any type of finance work experience will boost your chances of landing a full-time job in an accounting role. Examples of such institutions include PwC and Deloitte.
Check the websites of the firms whose employment you would want to pursue to see whether they have any open positions at the moment. Sending out speculative applications to local SMEs in the financial industry might net you a job placement if you're looking to gain experience in that field.
If you are already enrolled in college, you should think about participating in extracurricular activities such as offering your services as a volunteer treasurer for a club or society, or you could search for a part-time employment that would assist you in developing your talents in this area.
Depending on the size of the company, you may have the opportunity to gain essential accounting skills while working on actual projects and taking responsibility for your own workload. Those that participate in work experience are often offered training, and you'll have the opportunity to network with professionals in the field, which may be beneficial to your future career.
This will be a valuable addition to your CV and help you on your way to becoming a qualified accountant because many employers will only support a trainee accountant in studying for their accounting qualifications if they have previously undertaken relevant work experience. If you want to become an accountant, this will help you become qualified.