Published on 31st October 2016
While many recent graduates are settling into their first ‘grown up’ job post-education, others will still be asking themselves; ‘what am I going to do for the rest of my life?’ This may also be the case for many students in their final year.
Deciding what you want to do career-wise can be daunting, but there are plenty of valuable information sources out there that can help you research potential career paths, one of these being recruiters.
Yes, that’s right recruiters. Specialist recruiters have a wealth of knowledge and information about the sectors they recruit into as they are continuously in communication with both employers and experienced job seekers that work in these industries.
As a recruitment consultant specialising in assisting accountancy practices with their search for new finance staff, I have picked up a thing or two about accountancy over the years. One of the surprising aspects of this industry is that you often don’t need a degree in Finance or Accounting to start working towards a successful career in this field.
Here are some other reasons why, in my opinion, a career working for an accountancy practice should be on the radar of graduates exploring new opportunities:
1. An abundance of opportunities (both immediate and in the future)
It is not all about getting on to one of the ‘big 4’s’ graduate schemes, or even those of the top 20-50 accountancy practices. Whilst these schemes do present graduates with very good opportunities, be mindful that they are not the only option available.
There are hundreds of accountancy practices in Central London alone, all varying in size, culture and specialisms. Many of the smaller practices will have a niche area. These firms rarely have more than 50 people working for them and do not have the cut-off entry requirements (2:1 and above) that bigger firms may demand. You are also likely to have more interaction with partners and senior staff than you may have in a larger firm.
Once qualified, you will have the option to either stay in practice, potentially working your way up to partner level, or move into industry and work in an internal accounts team.
2. Earn well respected professional qualifications
Joining an accountancy practice as an entry level or graduate trainee will more than likely mean you will be given the opportunity to study for a renowned professional qualification as you work.
Most accountancy practices will offer a path to receive either ACA qualification via the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW), qualification via the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or qualification via the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Once you have completed one of these qualifications and hold either Chartered Accountant, Chartered Certified Accountant or Chartered Management Accountant status, the world is your oyster. Whether you decide to stay in practice or move into industry, you will have in-depth knowledge around accountancy, finance and business. These qualifications are normally completed over a 3-5 year period while you work.
3. Insight into many different businesses across many different sectors
Whether the work on your training contract consists mainly of audit or outsourced accounts, you will be given access to financial data for different businesses varying in shape and size.
Certain practices will focus on several industries, giving you the opportunity to explore accountancy for different areas of business.
Others may have a niche area of business. For example, we work with a number of practices that concentrate their services within the Music & Entertainment industry and manage the accounts for a number of household names.
4. Excellent earning potential
Ambition assist many practices with their hunt for new talent. Initial starting salaries for graduate accountancy positions tend to range from £20–25k per annum with regular salary reviews upon completion of exams.
Newly qualified accountants earn something in the region of £40–55k per annum and those taking on manager positions in practice will earn anything from £50k plus.
This will significantly increase with experience or when working your way up to partner.
5. Opportunities for Self-Employment
In the future, you may have ambitions of setting up your own accountancy practice or starting up a new business in a different area entirely. A career in accountancy and the professional qualifications that you obtain will put you in great stead for running your own business due to the in-depth knowledge and technical skills you will have developed.
Another option is to become a career contractor. Many qualified accountants opt to work interim assignments through their own limited company. This option offers excellent financial reward and a flexibility you do not get in permanent work.
So there you have it, if you’re a graduate who is looking to kick-start a career that offers fantastic opportunities to develop, gain qualifications, learn new skills and which has excellent earning potential, a career in accountancy might be for you!
Do feel free to get in touch with us if this is something you are interested in exploring for yourself.