There's more to it than maths...

Accountants play a key role within any business: put simply, they’re in charge of the money. That means analysing and recording all information about a company’s finances, from how much is going in to how much is going out, and on what.

Accountancy is a professional career, meaning you study and take exams in order to become qualified. It’s a reliable profession - every organisation needs an accountant! - and as a result it’s paid well, with clear routes for progression and exciting opportunities to grow.

There are lots of different routes into accountancy: you might choose to follow an accounting apprenticeship, enrol on a school leaver programme with a big firm, or turn to the profession after university. No matter what pathway you take, they all end with the same level of qualification: becoming a Chartered Accountant. So it’s really up to you what entry route you want to follow, depending on which experiences best suit your style of learning and development.

There are two main types of accountants: financial accounts and management accountants:

  • Management accountants provide financial information to leadership teams within an organisation, to help inform decision-making; they might be involved in budget analysis, planning, forecasting and building business models.
  • Financial accountants provide financial information for those outside of a company, for example shareholders, investors and creditors; they tend to analyse and summarise a company’s current financial position, focusing on factors such as profitability.

When people think about accountancy as a career, they often assume that you have to work in a big accounting firm that services multiple clients. But it’s also very possible to work as a management accountant within an organisation, meaning a career in accounting could take you to all sorts of interesting opportunities and organisations. Chartered Accountants can progress to leadership roles within organisations, such as Head of Finance or Chief Financial Officer, meaning there is potential to get involved in high level business decisions at the peak of a career in accounting.

It’s widely believed that you have to be a maths whizz in order to become an accountant, but whilst you need to be comfortable handling numbers to do the job, qualities such as attention to detail, organisation, good time management, communication skills and trustworthiness are actually the most important characteristics of a great accountant.

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