Accountancy is a great career to pursue with the opportunity for growth in many areas of work as well as great salaries, for those who are great with numbers and love solving problems particularly in finances will love this career option. In the past few years there has been a growth of accountancy jobs so here we look into what being an accountant entails, and why there is a demand for accountants in the present day.
What is accountancy?
So, first off what is accountancy? Accountancy is the process of managing financial transactions for individuals and businesses. This consists of recording, classifying and reporting on these transactions in order to keep the businesses finance in check and to advise on their expenditure. Recording and classification consists of making note or reoccurring transactions in a business such as issuing invoices or pay slips for employees and then creating a general ledger which is a summary of what the accountant has recorded.
In reporting there are two types of accountancy, Management Accountancy and Financial Accountancy. Management Accountants provide financial expertise and insight internally within a company or organisation which includes helping out with decision making, budget analysis and forecasting potential gains or losses.
Financial accountants however, provide information externally to different clients and this can be for individuals, shareholders, investors and creditors. Accountants can also become chartered where they train to become an ICAEW chartered accountant and earn the ACA qualification which expands their expertise and technical knowledge. Chartered accountants can then choose to specialise in various areas such as working in the finance area of the beauty industry for example or even working for a celebrity in the film industry. Being a chartered accountant means that you have a high level of training and skills to apply in various areas of work which can offer more opportunities for accountancy jobs.
Where do accountants work?
Accountants can work in many areas of work which includes in the public sector, in commerce and tax as well as in charity and not-for-profit organisations.
In public practice firms, accountants deal with their clients independently from their staff, this can include working in various services such as audit and assurance, tax advice, consultancy, risk management amongst others depending on the size and location of the accountancy practice. The Big Four accountancy firms (PwC, EY, KPMG and Deloitte) are included in public practice as well as other large international firms.
Commerce and industry
Graduates have also been getting into the commerce and industry sector where they can work in banks, various sized organisations to help with the process of financial management and reporting.
Charity and not-for-profit
Accountants can also work in the charity and not-for-profit sector where they can manage budget and financial systems for a charity or even liaise with budget holders and trustees to manage the needs of the organisation. Those with accountancy backgrounds can also work for an auditing firms that specialise in the charity sector where they can deliver system reviews, consultancies and audit work for charity clients.
In the public sector, chartered accountants manage, distribute and invest finances in public services such as health, education, housing, emergency services and local authority services.
Are accounting jobs in demand?
There has been a rising demand for those with a finance background in the past few years and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for accountants will grow 6% from 2018 to 2028. This also applies in the UK where in 2018, there was and still is a high demand of accountancy jobs with many industries looking for accountants across audit, advisory and tax particularly in the Big Four.
According to Accountancy Age, a significant number of roles consist of hiring newly qualified candidates whilst the job market remains high for trained accountants with job opportunities across the commercial sector, financial services as well as other industries.
There has also been an increase in advisory and project work in the past two years offering the opportunity to expand your skill set into other areas. For newly qualified candidates, they are in demand in tax and audit since recruiters look to be six months ahead so that when past candidates move on to higher positions, the company’s headcount will still be to their standard by hiring newly qualified candidates to train. Outsourcing and having expertise in cloud type software is also in demand because as technology constantly changes and companies start moving certain processes online, for those who know how to use particular software such as Xero or Quickbooks or those who are quick to learn and adapt to new software will have an advantage when looking for jobs. As well as those who have experience working for an accountancy firm rather than in house at a company, may also have an advantage since there has been an increased need for outsourcing accounting.
As technologies develop and the threat of cyber security increases, businesses and organisations are trying to mitigate the risk of possible cyber security attacks which in turn increases the need for professionals working in audit, risk and compliance according to Hays.
Other reasons why accountancy jobs are in demand could be the growth of the economy where sees more businesses expanding or developing which raises the need for accountancy services and to also replace professionals that are planning to retire in the near future.
Accountancy is an exciting area to work in which the various accounting jobs in demand in different areas.