What types of accountants are there?

People gathered around talking about work

Thinking about working in accountancy but not sure what career path might be right for you? The term accountant can actually apply to so many careers – no wonder some fields are often overlooked.

Maybe you’re dipping your toe into finance, or well on your way to achieving your AAT or ACCA qualification. Wherever you are on your journey, we’ve put together a breakdown of some potential types of accountancy you might want to consider for your future career.


If you’re a people person and looking for a job that involves travelling, life as an auditor might be for you. They work as independent external accountants, that review a company’s annual statement of accounts and check that their practices are up to scratch.

You’ll usually work as part of a team to cover checks across all aspects of a company’s finances. This can mean everything from receipts, spreadsheets and evaluating a company’s assets. The purpose of the work is to ensure that everything matches up with what’s in a company’s financial report, but it’ll also include writing up your own report for each company.

Because you’re working for different companies, you’ll spend a lot of time in different locations. Working on-site alongside clients will be part of your day-to-day, so it’s definitely suited to accountants with great people skills.

Financial accounting

As a financial accountant, you’ll be the go-to person for all things financial. It’s probably the kind of position you think of when you hear about accounting and covers the bookkeeping side of things, as well as producing financial reports for stakeholders.

Being a financial accountant is very centred around processes and using software for accuracy. In larger companies they’ll have their own systems in place with a lot of accountants contributing. In smaller companies you’ll likely have more say in how best to streamline your work and improve processes already in place. Whatever the company, the role would be right for you if you have strong organisational skills and great attention to detail.

Management accounting

Are you a strategic thinker who has a knack for looking at the bigger picture? As a management accountant, you’ll provide financial and strategic information to help organisations prosper.

In some ways it’s similar to being a financial accountant as it’s about tracking a company’s financial performance and involves a lot of report writing. The main difference is where financial accountants create reports to be used externally, management accountants write them for internal use.

It’s a key job in the finance industry – you won’t just be reporting back facts and figures, but you’ll also be interpreting trends, analysing statistics and being a key influence in how a company operates. If you’re strategic and ambitious, it’s the kind of role that could take you really far.

Tax accounting

Tax is intrinsic to the financial universe – affecting governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. As a tax technician, you’ll be on hand to advise on big decisions such as investments, restructures or mergers.

You’ll be in charge of tracking all the transactions that might affect how much tax a company has to pay. You’ll also be expected to find ways to legally reduce tax. But it’s not just big companies that you can work for as a tax accountant, there’s also a demand from wealthy individuals that are looking to pay their tax bills efficiently.

Adaptability is one of the key skills you’ll need for this position – legislation is continuously evolving and changing and it’ll be up to you to communicate this in your work.

Forensic accounting

You don’t have to be a detective to solve crimes. As a forensic accountant, you can use your skills and expertise to follow the paper trail of corruption.

One day you might be tasked with detecting fraud and embezzlement. You might also be called upon when it comes to divorce settlements. And if your cases go to trial, you may be asked to give expert evidence in court, translating your findings into an argument that a jury can understand.

Again, this requires a logical, process-driven brain. But if problem-solving is your thing, it could be the ideal career for you.

Want to get started?

There are so many more career paths that you can specialise in, but luckily if you’re just starting off in your journey you don’t need to decide right now. Whatever type of accountant you think you’d like to be, download our guide on how you can kick start your accountancy studies with Eagle.