What is an Accountant?
An accountant is a person who tracks, monitors and advises on an individual’s or company’s financial accounts.
This person often deals with budgeting, purchasing, tax documents and the general financial reporting for the company.
Accountants are an essential part of almost every business and so the demand for accountants is high, making the job seekers market for accountants very competitive.
Is accountancy right for me?
In order to have a successful career as an accountant you have to possess, and develop, a mathematical and logical mind. You will likely have fondness for numbers, and enjoy calculating complex equations and undertaking statistical analysis.
Accountants need to pay close attention to detail, and to be able to work very well under pressure whilst adhering to tight deadlines.
Responsibilities of an Accountant
There are a range of responsibilities of an accountant, below are a list of the main areas that you will be required to manage.
- Documenting financial transactions and making sure they are all correct and up to date.
- Recommending financial options to companies and clients.
- Summarising financial statuses by information – calculating profits, losses and spendings.
- Controlling account spendings.
- Securing and storing a financial history of clients by backing up data.
Qualifications needed to become an Accountant
There are many different routes to become an accountant, however, you will need a qualification before you can become certified. Many companies will require their accountants to be educated to a degree level.
Relevant degrees to get you started:
- BSc Accountancy
- BSc Mathematics
- BSc Finance
Don’t worry if your degree doesn’t directly relate to a career in accountancy, it is common for employers to accept a candidate with any high-quality degree, so long as you have the relevant additional qualifications. Commonly, if the individual is already part of a company, their company will subsidise for their course.
Relevant accountancy qualifications
Association of Accounting Technicians qualifications are a great starting point to individuals who are new to the industry as you do not need experience or qualifications to begin your studies. AAT is the leading body for accountancy qualifications in the UK and can take you to Level 4 qualifications which are the equivalent of studying at university for a year.
The association of Chartered Accountants qualifications are recognised around the world by finance employers. An ACCA qualification is ideal for progressing after completing AAT courses or if you are seeking a more advanced understanding of the profession.Completion of the Professional units is equivalent to a master’s degree, equipping you for roles such as a Personal Banker and Financial Analyst.
To gain an accountancy career in industry, you will need to become CIMA qualified. The Certified Institute of Management Accounts has a range of levels giving you a deep and broad understanding of management accounting.
Chartered Accountancy Qualifications
The Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) are awarding bodies of chartered accountants.
With the seriously competitive nature of the accountancy job market, it is often essential to have a qualification to ensure you are a credible candidate.
Skills Needed to become an Accountant
To become an accountant you will need to have a strong mathematical brain and exceptional numerical skills. You must be comfortable working primarily with numbers and managing complex figures. You will be the person that the business turns to for help with budgeting, purchasing and understanding financial reports and so it is imperative that you have outstanding numerical skills.
Not only will you have to work comfortably with numbers, but you will have to able to analyse the figures and how they relate to the profitability of the business. You will need to be able to analyse data and financial statements, digesting the numbers whilst all the time understanding the real impact the data has on the business.
It’s one thing being able to understand the numbers, but as an accountant, you’ll need to be able to report on your findings to the rest of the business. Software such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel is useful for creating spreadsheets for your reports and data findings.
As previously mentioned, many of the financial responsibilities will fall onto the accountant and so it is important that you have good cost management skills. You may need to be accountable for delegating budgets and managing the company’s finances, and so you will need to demonstrate that you have strong control of expenditure.
Much like other industries, salaries for accountants will vary depending on the company, location and sector of work. Here are some example average salaries for the career progression of an accountant:
How do I apply?
You can easily apply for accountancy jobs with Fish4jobs and filter your results by location, sector, hours and contract type.
Need more help?
We have the perfect Accountant CV Template you can download and fill out to give you the best chance of bagging your dream job!
It’s also important to have a great cover letter when applying for jobs, so take a look at our guide on how to write a cover letter for Accountancy roles.
You might also need a personal statement and we can help you with that too! Take a look at our accountant personal statement for additional guidance.