How to Kick-Start Your Career in Accountancy!
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Having only recently launched Equal Accountancy, it feels as though our own careers are only just taking off! That said, we (Directors Jordan and Kirstie) are approaching 10 years in the industry and we want to share some insights and guidance we would give our younger selves and hope to help you if you're considering a career in accountancy. Research the Roles Available Accountancy jobs are split into Industry or Practice roles. You should understand the differences to help you choose your route into Accountancy.
Industry positions are of an internal nature, working within a company's finance department from entry level roles such as an accounting clerk to becoming a financial analyst or ultimately the Chief Financial Officer. These roles tend to be less client facing and have internal deadlines such as month-end processes. Our Director Jordan started with a brief spell in Audit role in Practice but quickly moved to Industry, overseeing the internal accounting for construction companies and motor industry.
Accountancy roles in Practice are working on external client accounts to meet their statutory filing requirements. Duties range from bookkeeping, submitting VAT returns, payroll bureau and year end accounts and tax returns. More senior roles usually involve client management and allow for relationship building. Experienced Accountants can provide specialist tax advice and business advisory services. There are statutory deadlines for tax returns which must be met along with keeping to client expectations. Our Director Kirstie has worked in Practice throughout her career, starting as an Accounts Assistant to managing a high-street practice.
It is common for people to switch between Industry and Practice roles, so you don’t have to choose a side and stick with it forever if you decide it’s not for you. Studying
There are several professional qualifications in the finance industry, you will find some are more applicable to Industry or Practice although most have transposable content which cover similar areas. Some qualifications for you to consider would be AAT, ATT, ACCA, CIMA or ACA.
If you're still at school or in full-time education and already know that you'd like to pursue a job in the industry, our advice would be to start working towards an accountancy qualification as early as possible.
Firstly, if you’re fresh out of education then you’re still accustomed to studying and the pressures of exams – that can be a difficult mindset to get back into if you allow yourself too much time off! Secondly, it goes without saying the quicker you gain your qualifications will speed up your career progress to work your way up the ladder.
We feel this is the perfect job to consider an apprenticeship or trainee position to work towards your qualifications whilst gaining experience in the role. It is common for employers to support your studies financially and allow for days at college or study leave. Don’t be put off by a lower starting salary as an apprentice, your hard work will pay off eventually!
If the sound of more exams and the stress of studying doesn’t appeal to you, there are companies who are willing to train you on the job without studying for a specific qualification – our Director Kirstie started off this way before deciding to bite the bullet and sit her exams this year.
Start at Any Age
Whilst our advice so far has been directed at the youngsters, we believe this is an industry you can get into at any age. A benefit of studying for a professional qualification is that there are so many online and distance learning options available so you can learn in your own time, around your existing family or working commitments.
It’s never too late to gain new skills and if you have an aptitude for numbers, are a wiz at Excel or are just interested to learn more about tax then kick-start your career in accountancy today!
The boring stereotype of accountants is dying, and we're proud to be a part of that. As technology evolves and automates much of the dull data input and number crunching, an Accountant’s role is becoming more advisory based which is great for problem solvers. It can be so rewarding to make a genuine difference to a businesses growth.
As with any job, it’s important to find a company with the right culture for you. When interviewing for roles be sure that you will be working with like-minded people and your bosses have great leadership skills for you to learn under.
Get in Touch
We would love to share our experiences and help anyone considering a career in Accountancy so please get in touch if we can help you.
Equal Accountancy Ltd offers Accountancy and Bookkeeping services in Hemel Hempstead and surrounding areas across Herts, Beds and Bucks. We offer a range of services for Limited Companies, Self-Employed individuals and Landlords including Year End Accounts, Corporation Tax returns, Self-Assessment Tax returns, Payroll services, VAT returns, Bookkeeping and Company Secretarial. Get in touch today for a free, non-obligatory quote for your business needs.