The accounting and finance industry provides services to businesses to manage their money and oversee company returns and taxes. Working in accounting and finance can span over all other business sectors as you could be working with clients within all types of industries, stretching from local businesses to global organisations. You could also work as a management accountant within a company, helping them make in-depth decisions on how to grow and develop their business.
Offering financial advice, increasing the value of businesses by preparing accounts and keeping track of financial transactions are some of the areas you could be focussed on when embarking on an accounting & finance career.
What do employers look for?
Accounting and finance companies or roles often require certain skills with A Level Maths being an obvious subject achieved. Top employers within the sector usually require a 2:1 in a bachelor’s degree but smaller companies may take a 2:2. You do not have to have a degree in accountancy to follow this career path. Key skills outside of a degree that will benefit you when working in accounting and finance and in-turn considered strengths by employers are numeracy, communication, analytical skills and a methodical approach to work that includes logical thinking and a keen attention to detail.
Working in the accounting and finance sector can present the opportunity to study for industry recognised qualifications such as CIMA for Management Accountancy or ACCA for Certified Accountancy which can help develop and progress your career to higher levels in the future.
What are the different job roles I can go into?
The accounting and finance sector has a number of job roles that you can specialise in, although if you work in a smaller firm you will be expected to cover a number of technical areas rather than focus on one. It’s a difficult balance to strike, between chasing the big companies with a prestigious name and possibly feeling pigeon holed into a particular role compared to a smaller company where you may have much more job variation but not the same opportunities to progress up the hierarchy.
Working as an auditor will involve checking financial dealings to prevent and detect fraud whilst at the same time adding to a company’s reputation by providing accurate and reliable financial information. Another job role is working as a consultant, analysing and advising firms through their business problems, which also enables you to suggest plans for improvement. Other roles may require you to specialise in taxation to minimise the exposure and cost for your clients or you can specialise in top level corporate finance and provide advice on mergers and acquisitions. The skills learnt and the financial understanding and interests you have as an individual may well lead you into a variety of areas over the course of your career outside of what we have mentioned above.
School and college leavers
Although the finance sector often requires specific qualifications and it can be beneficial to have a good degree, there are also lots of entry level internships and apprenticeships designed specifically for school and college leavers alike. With the new government apprenticeship levy in place, more companies have started to offer apprenticeships in the finance sector as they allow companies to train younger students up whilst giving them an insight into the working world before they leave the programme.
Is it suited to you?
Working and studying for your initial qualification can create a lot of stress and long hours as you balance more and more at work with obtaining industry recognised qualifications. However your hard work will ultimately be what unlocks the door to working within an industry where the rewards of a fruitful career can be achieved.