Accountancy and finance careers

To say that accountants look after the financial details of businesses is an oversimplification of the variety of job roles that fall into this category. Job roles can include financial reporting, auditing, supporting financial decision making and advising on tax compliance to name but a few. Read on to find out about accountancy and finance careers.Careers in accounting and finance are varied, as are the routes into them. You could choose the academic route or a vocational / work based route and the skills and qualifications that you will need to be successful will vary according to the job role that you want to pursue. Discover the routes into this career and be inspired by one of our case studies.Maths and accountingOne thing that may come as a surprise to you is that maths is not as important as you might think, although be able to do basic arithmetic is, just as it is with most jobs (and for life). Computing skills are probably as important to success as much of the number crunching done relies on the use of software.Professional qualificationsThe professional accounting qualifications needed for particular job roles, such as AAT, ACCA, CIPFA differ and ultimately what you need to study for will be decided by your employer. These qualifications can be gained by studying for an accredited degree, which is a degree course that is recognised by the professional body or some can be studied for as part of an apprenticeship, such as AAT.Qualifications explainedAAT– awarded by the Association of Accounting Technicians, this is an entry-level qualification. No previous qualifications are needed and you’ll be trained in basic finance and administration skills. This is a non-graduate route into chartered accountancy and could be gained as part of an accountancy apprenticeship.ACCA– awarded by the Association of Chartered, Certified Accountants, this a qualification aimed at those wanting to work in business or set up their own practice. The focus is on professional values and ethics. You need three years’ experience to gain this qualification.CIMA– awarded by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, this is a globally recognised qualification for those new to, or with a little experience in accounting who want to work in strategic planning. You’ll need a foundation in business and accounting and three years’ experience to gain this qualification.CIPFA– awarded by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting, this is a qualification suitable for those working in areas where public money is managed, such as the NHS or in local government.ACA– this ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) qualification is designed in partnership with the AAT and offers a progression route for high calibre AAT students.Accounting and finance apprenticeshipsApprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced and higher levels – check out opportunities on our vacancies page.

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