Accounting Job: Steps to Become an Accountant
Accounting is often considered by those who are outside of the industry to be the uneventful career, while actually, it is one of the most fulfilling jobs, no matter whether in the private or public sector.
The basic requirement to succeed is to have the skills of analysis, interpretation and adaptability. It is very important to decide which area of accounting suits your qualifications and skills.
Studying for the right Accounting Degree:
Everybody knows that in order to apply for an accounting job a Bachelor’s Degree is a minimum requirement. But to have a better standard career in accounting a higher qualifications are a must.
Bachelor’s Degree opens doors to jobs such as financial reporting, taxes, auditing and other non-accounting business areas. If you are really interested in becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), then you have to pursue a higher-level study related to the accounting field. A CPA career needs a total of 150 credit hours in accounting and other related areas.
If you want to become a chartered accountant, the basic requirement of AAT qualification is not enough. Instead, you will have to progress to the ACCA, ACA or CIMA qualification.
Sometimes, the students who are from different sectors also try to opt for the career of a chartered accountant. For those, it is a must to have the background of maths and economics at A-level. And that to be followed by accounting as a subject in their final year.
As mentioned before, accounting is a common platform that can be easily understood by anybody. The accounting related courses are available at most of the colleges and universities throughout the UK, as a regular, full-time course or a distance learning course. It is the responsibility of a student to find out whether a program is fully accredited before beginning a course of study.
Most Popular Accounting Qualifications Available
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT Accounting courses) – This course is designed with three levels of qualification and combines industry knowledge and practical work skills.
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA qualifications) – This course comprises of two levels, i.e., fundamentals and professional. They both cover a variety of topics from corporate and business law to audit and assurance.
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW chartered accountant status) – this course is also referred to as ACA. It is a qualification that consists of three to five years of practical work experience with the completion of 13 modules.
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA business finance award) – This course is a widely recognised CGMA qualification (Chartered Global Management Accountant) that requires you to have a post-graduation degree in Business Accounting.
Pursuing a Speciality:
All accountants and CPAs need to be specialised in one or more areas of practice. The two main ones are management accounting and financial accounting, and they both target the specialist fields such as budget and financial analysis and working as a controller.
These two key concepts of management accounting and financial accounting are noticeably different from each other. Management accounting is the one that provides information to people within a company, whereas the financial accounting provides information to those who are outside of it, for example shareholders.
Financial accounting is required by law and it covers the entire organisation. But this is not the case with management accounting as here, it covers only the particular products. Most graduate enters into accounting through financial accountancy. Here, they are provided with a variety of career prospects such as business recovery and insolvency, corporate finance, forensic accounting, tax, etc. For each accounting specialisation, it depends upon the graduates whether they need to work in the public or private sector.
Accounting career – Secured job or accountancy apprenticeships:
Generally, an accountant can find work in both, public and private sectors. For the accounting background, most vacancies are available directly from the employers. And it is your responsibility to select the role to apply for as per your eligibility.
Sometimes, these finance graduate schemes are structured with an accounting qualification such as ACA or CGMA. Although, when it is about accountancy apprenticeship, maintained by AAT, an alternative one to the one provided by a university, they are often perceived as a fast track to achieve chartered status with the main professional bodies such as ICAEW, ACCA, etc.
The main benefits of an accountancy apprenticeship is that you can gain the required practical skills while earning a salary.
Gain Relevant Work Experience:
Apart from starting your career as an accountancy apprentice, you can enter into the industry directly too, as a part-time employee. At the beginning, you will be provided with a shadow-working process for a day or two that can help you to get to know about the accounting activities.
You can check individual companies’ websites to see if they have any current openings, or send an application letter to the local SMEs in the financial sector. While studying can look for a part-time job that can enhance your skills in the accountancy area. Sometimes, even working as a part-time employee can get you a chance to work in a big sized firm. The best thing over here is that you are offered a real-time project to gain more experience.
All these above-mentioned points can help you enhance your chances for accountancy career. Make your course a valuable addition to your CV and become a qualified accountant.