I Want To Work In ..... Accountancy
- Job Roles in Accounting
- Vacancy Information
- Chartered Accountancy Firms
- Finding Out More
- Accountancy PRACTICE INTERVIEW (separate page)
You do not have to have a degree in accounting, business or maths to become an accountant! Graduates in all subjects, from Anthropology to Zoology can and do become successful accountants.
Accounting employers often require good academic grades with a good GCSE Maths and 280 UCAS points usually being minimum requirements. Top employers usually require a 2:1 but smaller firms may accept a 2:2 if you have good A-level grades.
Accountancy employers also look for a number of key skills, including numeracy, communication, teamworking, time management, analytical skills and attention to detail.
For further details of academic and skills requirements, see the job profiles below:
“We look for well-rounded applicants and accept applications from all degree disciplines. For us, it is not necessarily a matter of what you study or relevant work experience, it is about experience in general. This can come from many areas, such as travel, community work, sport, charity work, etc”.
Student Recruitment Officer, PwC
Chartered accountants provide financial advice to clients that range from multinational organisations and governmental bodies to small independent businesses. Accountants often specialise in particular areas of practice, including audit, management consultancy, recovery, forensic accountancy, taxation, assurance, and corporate finance.
- Job profile of a chartered accountant from the TARGET Jobs website
- Inside Careers: Chartered Accountancy
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Top Reasons for Applying to Accountancy
Opportunities for professional qualifications 33% Good long-term career prospects 32% Quality of training and development 31% Availability of jobs 25% Excellent starting salaries 25% Able to use your degree subject 25% Interested in content of work 24% Work is intellectually demanding 22% Good job security 19% Good work-life balance 14%Source: The UK Graduate Careers Survey AGR/The Times
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland
Chartered Certified Accountant
Chartered certified accountants provide a wide range of accountancy services in a variety of sectors. These range from working with clients in private practice to financial reporting and advice within organisations.
- Job profile of a chartered certified accountant from the Prospects website
- Job profile of a chartered certified accountant from the TARGET Jobs website
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Chartered Management Accountant
Chartered management accountants use financial information to analyse business performance and provide strategic advice to management colleagues.
- Job profile of a chartered management accountant from the Prospects website
- Job profile of a chartered management accountant from the TARGET Jobs website
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
The difference between Management Accountancy (CIMA) and Certified Accountancy (ACCA)
Management Accountancy (CIMA)
Focused on business and uniquely covers:
CIMA putsemphasis on:
Focuses on broad business management skills: equips trainees to deal with decisions and changes that affect the whole organisation.
Certified Accountancy (ACCA)
Focused on professional practice and uniquely covers:
ACCA puts emphasis on:
Chartered Public Finance Accountant
Chartered public finance accountants provide accounting services and advice to public sector bodies, ensuring that they deliver value for money. They make work within these public bodies, in particular within local government and the NHS, or be employed in private practice, advising public sector clients on a consultancy basis.
- Job profile of a chartered public finance accountant from the Prospects website
- Job profile of a chartered public finance accountant from the TARGET Jobs website
- The Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants
Accounting technicians support professional accountants and business managers by preparing financial information. They may work in industry, commerce, private practice or the public sector.
This route is open to graduates who may not have achieved the academic qualifications required for immediate entry to a Chartered Accountant training contract. Qualified Accounting Technicians can continue their training to achieve the Chartered (ACA) qualification.
- Job profile of an Accounting Technician from the Prospects website
- The Association of Accounting Technicians
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.
On applications for an accountancy positions:
"I was closely involved in every aspect of my former company, right up to its bankruptcy".
Developed and recommended an annual operating expense fudget.
Proven ability to track down and correct erors.
- ICAEW Training Vacancies www.icaewtrainingvacancies.com
- ACCA Accounting Graduate Schemes
- Employers offering CIMA training
- CIPFA Training Vacancies www.cipfa.org/recruitment/cipfa-trainee-vacancies
- Inside Careers www.insidecareers.co.uk/search/jobs/type/all/profession/chartered-accountancy/
- TARGET Jobs Accountancy and Financial Management https://targetjobs.co.uk/search/all#path=sector/accountancy-and-financial-management
- Accountancy Age Jobs www.accountancyagejobs.com UK Financial & Accounting job opportunities ranging from Graduate and Trainee to Finance Director vacancies.
- Robert Half www.roberthalf.co.uk Recruitment agency specialising in accountancy and finance jobs. The site also includes advice on applications, career development and salaries.
CHARTERED ACCOUNTANCY FIRMS
“Accountants are far from the boring stereotype. The accounting industry is now very focused on client service and relationships: gone are the days when accountants sat behind a desk with a calculator all day. The nature of the business has changed and, with it being very client facing, I would say if you are boring then accountancy is not the right path!
Recruitment partner, medium-sized firm
These are the world’s largest accounting firms, providing accounting, audit and other professional services to clients ranging from multinationals to owner-managed businesses. As well as accountancy and audit, services offered by these firms include tax, management consultancy, risk management, forensic accounting, insolvency, actuarial and much more. Each of these firms recruits several hundred graduates a year into a variety of roles and training programmes.
- Deloitte www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/careers/students.html
- EY www.ey.com/UK/en/Careers/Students
- KPMG www.kpmgcareers.co.uk
- PwC www.pwc.co.uk/careers
The “medium-sized” category covers a large range of firms: the largest of these are around half the size of Big 4 firms while the smaller medium-sized firms may have one or two offices and around ten partners. The firms listed below are mostly at the larger end of this category and within the top 50 firms in the UK.
- BDO Top 10 firm www.bdo.uk.com/careers
My journey began at A Level where I decided against Economics despite my interest. I went on to study English and American Literature at Kent because it was something I enjoyed and I had no plan in terms of career after my degree. Journalism and teaching didn’t appeal to me so I went to the CES at the end of my Second year to get some advice. When Accountancy was suggested I was surprised as I had always thought Accountancy was limited to Finance and Business degrees. Instead I discovered that Accountancy firms are often keen to hear from BA students as they like the variety of insight and creativity they bring. With this in mind I spent my Summer looking at vacancies and then at the start of my Third Year I began applying.Getting in to Accountancy isn’t straightforward. For the Big Four and Medium sized firms the process is typically:
- Online Application
- Online Tests
- Phone Interview
- Assessment centre
- Final Interview
The most common stage for failure is the second stage; the online tests are usually a timed numerical test and then either a non verbal reasoning test or an in-tray exercise. I practised the tests before I took them and I was informed swiftly that I would have a telephone interview. This tends to be competency based; the STAR technique is best for tackling the questions asked and preparation is important. Look at the company website and check what competencies they are looking for. They don’t always have to be work related as long as you clearly explain the situation, the task, your action and the result in a concise manner. After the phone interview I found out I had been successful and I was invited to an Assessment Centre at the London offices for PWC.
Assessment Centres are actually quite fun. The people I met were all very nice and although I was the only BA student there were people who were doing science degrees instead of business/finance subjects. The assessment centre involved a written exercise, another set of numerical and non verbal tests and a group exercise. My advice for this would be to stay calm, be friendly and keep yourself aware of what they want you to do. After the Assessment Centre I was invited to a Partner interview, the final stage of the process. I prepared for this by researching the company, looking at practice videos on the CES website and keeping track of financial news via BBC news and the Financial Times. The interview itself was straightforward with a brief chat about why I was looking to do Accountancy and then some more competency questions. I heard back the next day with the wonderful news that I had been successful.
Accountancy is accessible to BA students as long as you do your research and understand what the job involves. It isn’t the easiest of jobs at the start as you typically do a 3 year qualification such as the ACA or CTA but after this you are fully qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After that the world is your oyster!
- Grant Thornton www.grant-thornton.co.uk/Careers The largest UK firm after the Big Four
- H.W.Fisher www.hwfisher.co.uk top 30 firm based in London. Works with entrepreneurial small-medium enterprises (SMEs), large corporates and high-net worth individuals.
- Hazlewoods www.hazlewoods.co.uk/careers/graduates.aspx Gloucestershire firm recruiting trainee chartered and certified accountants
- Jeffreys Henry LLP www.jeffreyshenry.com/about-us/careers/graduate-trainees Recruits 4/5 graduates annually in London.
- Kingston Smith www.kingstonsmith.co.uk/careers 60 partners and 500+ professional staff in London and the South East
- PKF Littlejohn www.pkf-littlejohn.com/careers-graduates Based in Canary Wharf.
- Mazars http://graduates.mazars.co.uk UK firm of Europe-wide partnership
- Menzies www.menzies.co.uk/careers Top 20 firm with a network of offices across Surrey, Hampshire and London
- Moore Stephens www.moorestephens.co.uk Top 10 firm with an international network
- Price Bailey www.pricebailey.co.uk/careers/graduates Top 30 firm with offices in London, the east of England, the Channel Islands and the Caribbean
- RSM www.rsmuk.com/careers The seventh largest accountancy and business advisory firm in the UK, and part of a worldwide network.
- Saffery Champness www.saffery.com/careers/graduates.aspx Top 20 firm focusing on private client work for high net worth individuals. Offices in the UK, Guernsey and Switzerland.
- Smith & Williamson www.smithandwilliamsontrainees.co.uk Top 10 firm with graduate trainee programmes in assurance and business services, business tax, private client tax services and investment management.
Many of these firms are part of larger national and international networks and at least five of the top 30 firms are represented in Kent.
- Adams & Moore www.adamsandmoore.co.uk Offices in London and Dartford and an international client base.
- Barnes Roffe www.barnes-roffe.co.uk London firm with an office in Dartford and a national client base of owner managed businesses, large corporations and public sector not for profit organisations
- Burgess Hodgson www.burgesshodgson.co.uk Canterbury firm with City clients
- Chavereys www.chavereys.co.uk Faversham firm specialising in agriculture and rural businesses
- Creaseys www.creaseys.co.uk/careers/training-positions Tunbridge Wells firm working with owner managed and mid-market businesses across a wide range of sectors
- Crowe Clark Whitehill www.croweclarkwhitehill.co.uk/ The 9th largest audit firm in the UK with eight offices including two in Kent (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells)
- Dendy Neville www.dendyneville.co.uk Maidstone firm
- Haines Watts www.hwca.com/about-us/careers Top 20 firm with offices in Canterbury and Maidstone
- Kreston Reeves www.krestonreeves.com/careers Formerly known as Reeves, this is a Top 30 accounting firm that has offices in London, Canterbury, Chatham, Sandwich and several locations in Sussex. Part of a global network of independent accounting firms
- Macintyre Hudson www.macintyrehudson.co.uk/careers Top 20 independent firm with 12 offices including Canterbury and Maidstone
- McCabe Ford Williams www.mfw.co.uk Chartered Accountants, Tax Specialists and Insolvency professionals with offices in Ashford, Cranbrook, Dover, Herne Bay, Maidstone and Sittingbourne
- UHY Hacker Young www.uhy-uk.com/careers Top 20 firm with 27 offices including 3 in Kent (Ashford, Sittingbourne and Broadstairs)
- Wilkins Kennedy www.wilkinskennedy.com/join-wk Top 30 firm in the UK with 15 offices in London and the South East including Ashford, Sandwich and Orpington – plus an office in the Falkland Islands
- “What Can I Do With My Degree in Accounting and Finance?”
Useful information for students of other subjects as well as Accounting and Finance students
- Business Insights – Accountancy and Financial Management from Kent Business School
- Accountancy Age www.accountancyage.com News, jobs and lists of top firms
- Careers Uncovered: Accountancy (Trotman Publishing, 2010) Available in the CES Resources Room at Canterbury.
Last fully updated 2016