Anyone looking to enter the field of accounting will soon realise that there are many different career paths available. The path you choose will ultimately decide your earning potential and employability prospects, so it’s good to look at the range of options available to you before you set off on this exciting journey.
Here we will look at some of the most popular and exciting career paths that accountants can take. Read through them all and you’ll get a better idea of which area most appeals to you and your skills.
Public practice HND accountancy
This is most people’s view of the accounting profession – a stable job in a large public practice firm. This option provides excellent career progression especially if you land a job with one of the “big four” accountancy practices. Trainee accountants can easily progress to manager and then partner and even senior partner.
If you qualify with a small to medium size firm, you should look to transition to one of the big firms as quickly as possible to better further your career. Larger firms offer more options for progression and you will be exposed to listed company accounting which can lead to further job prospects for larger publicly listed companies.
The auditor’s job is to review the financial records of companies and organisations to ensure that they are accurate and that tax has been appropriated properly. Auditors can also act in an advisory role recommending possible cost saving and revenue enhancing measures which may benefit the business.
Many auditors specialise in specific industries, such as manufacturing, finance or energy. They often work away from home, travelling around the country and in some cases the world. The role of an auditor is exciting, but it can be a high-pressure position with many days working away from home, so it may not suit everyone.
Tax accountants have been in the news recently due to a number of leaked documents such as the “paradise papers”. The tax accountant’s role is to offer advice to companies to help reduce their tax burden. Tax laws change frequently so tax accountants must be able to adapt their strategies frequently to keep ahead of the game.
There is strong demand for tax accountants so this role offers good progression prospects. Tax accountants are also required to visit various tax havens around the world, so if you like foreign travel this may be the job for you. To excel in this position, you need a high level of numeracy and excellent creative problem-solving skills.
Risk compliance roles are found in large banks, investment funds, and publicly listed companies. Their role is to ensure that regulations, procedures and controls are adhered to and to point out any deficiencies or weaknesses in internal systems. Candidates will also need strong verbal and written communications to be able to communicate the need for complex policies to non-financial members of staff.
Risk compliance officers are typically recruited from an auditing or risk assurance background so there is little opportunity for newly qualified accountants here. However, once qualified and with the right amount of experience. the job provides a varied career with good long-term prospects and competitive salaries.
Corporate finance accountants usually work for large mutual and investment funds. Their job is to carry out investment analysis on various companies which the fund has invested in or is looking to invest in. The role is varied and dynamic with its own set of unique challenges. The career progression for corporate finance accountants is good with excellent remuneration possibilities.
Traditionally, this role was reserved for candidates with investment fund experience, but a shortage of suitable candidates means that even newly qualified accountants can be successful applying for positions. Especially if they have successfully completed their training and are currently studying for their CFA qualification.
Whichever path you choose, your accountancy skills are in strong demand and highly transferable across industries. So even if you make a mistake choosing your initial career path, it shouldn’t be a problem transferring your skills to another area or industry. Contact Mont Rose College today to start your journey with an HND accountancy.