What does an accountant do?

Accountants work in a wide range of job roles in both financial and management accounting functions. Past and present performance is continuously evaluated so that the organisation’s business operations can be carefully planned and controlled.

As a financial accountant, you provide historical records to comply with legislation. Your tasks will include bookkeeping, financial accounts preparation, taxation, auditing, reporting and communicating, and systems management.

If you go down the management accounting route, you’ll be focused on strategic planning. You can expect to be involved in: budget setting, cost control, strategic planning, performance evaluation, investment appraisal, and systems management.

Careers in accountancy

Accountancy opens the door to a wealth of opportunities and career paths. After qualifying, you’ll be able to work in senior roles in global blue-chip companies, public sector institutions, and non-profit organisations.

Here are a few different career options available to you:

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Bookkeeper →

Association of Accounting Technicians Average salary £25,000 p/a

EARN UP TO

£37,000

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

3 years

Bookkeepers record financial transactions and are vital to most businesses. They keep an eye on the accounts and are responsible for classifying the transactions before they are analysed.
Find out more about bookkeeping.

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Tax Accountant

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Average salary £40,000 p/a

EARN UP TO

£90,000

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

5 years

Tax is everywhere, and it takes a quick-thinking mind to meets the demands of a constantly changing area. You’ll find yourself working with people and business to prepare tax returns, advise on how investment or mergers can affect a business’ tax, and learn new laws to write documentation.

Business analyst

Average salary £52,000 p/a

EARN UP TO

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

Business analysts provide support to senior leadership teams for commercial decisions. They need to have excellent analytical skills to build financial models for internal customers. They need to have strong management accounting skills, as well as good communication skills to explain complex financial information in layman’s terms.

Which Accounting Qualification should I choose?

You can choose between AAT, ACCA and CIMA to work in accounting. AAT is recommended if you’re just starting out, and ACCA is more advanced and designed for those who may already be accountants. CIMA is designed for those wanting to develop their accountancy skills to lead finance departments or provide management accounting consultancy.

Once AAT qualified you can be an Accounting Technician. On completion of the full ACCA qualification you can be an accountant.

You don’t need any previous qualifications to do AAT, just enthusiasm for the subject. You don’t need qualifications to start at the Foundation level of ACCA either, but there are more levels to take to qualify.

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AAT

Association of Accounting Technicians Average salary £ 25,000 p/a

EARN UP TO

£37,000

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

3 years

ABOUT AAT

Gives a good grounding in the main principles of accountancy, in order to become an Accounting Technician.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You don’t need any previous qualifications or accountancy experience to begin studying AAT. And anyone, from school leavers to career changers, can start the qualification.

ACCA Approved Learning Partner Gold logo
ACCA

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Average salary £ 40,000 p/a

EARN UP TO

£90,000

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

5 years

ABOUT ACCA

Ideal if you’d like a career in finance, business or accountancy, or would like to become a Chartered Certified Accountant.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

You should have completed the final level of AAT or the ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business before beginning ACCA. If you have two A Levels and three GCSEs in five separate subjects, including English and maths (or equivalent qualifications), you can start your studies at the ACCA Qualification.

CIMA symbol
CIMA

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

EARN UP TO

£100,000

AVERAGE TIME TO COMPLETE

3 years

ABOUT CIMA
The qualification you need if you want to lead finance departments or provide management accounting consultancy.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
You can start at Certificate in Business Accounting with no experience, but if you want to study at the Professional level you’ll need to have completed CIMA Certificate, AAT Professional (Level 4), or have an accountancy or finance degree.