Accountancy is an excellent career to pursue with the many benefits of an accountancy career and some things to consider as to whether the profession is just not right for you. Here, we will look into exactly what a career in accountancy entails, the pros and cons, and the key skills and aspects of the job to help you answer the question, will I like accounting?
What is accounting?
Accountancy is the process of managing financial transactions for individuals and businesses to help them make the right financial transactions to avoid losing money or spending money in the wrong places. An accountant’s job consists of recording, classifying and reporting on these transactions, this is done to help keep the finances of companies and individuals in check and to advise on their expenditure.
There are various different types of roles you can take as an accountant as well as different aspects of a business you can specialise in. One part of being an accountant is recording and classification which consists of making note of 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 through the ICAEW by earning the ACA qualification which expands their expertise and technical knowledge. 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.
Although there are many more good points to being an accountant, there are a few cons that might affect your choice to being an accountant. To help you decide if being an accountant is right for you, here we can look into the pros and cons of have a career in accountancy.
A great reason to be an accountant is the opportunity to work where ever you like. The ACA qualification is globally recognised meaning that you can work anywhere in the world without having to take country specific exams to work there. Also, many accountancy firms have international offices and the nature of the job means that you can have the chance to either work with clients from all over the world or even relocate to other international offices.
Training and support
Whether you are a graduate or a school leaver, there are endless opportunities to get training and support in order for you to become an accountant. A lot of companies offer graduate schemes and apprenticeships. Here, you gain valuable work experience and progress in the industry whilst getting paid and being fully supported to study and complete your qualifications.
Open to everyone
Another great aspect of being an accountant is that anyone can train to pursue this career as long as you have an interest in maths and have the relevant skills and determination to work hard in order to do so. Accountancy isn’t just for economics or accounting graduates; school leavers and graduates from all degree backgrounds such as business or politics can also train to become an accountant.
Depending on the skills you have and your expertise, salaries as an accountant are great with earning potential rising as you develop more skills or even specialist in certain areas. Starting salaries as an accountant can start from £18,000 as a trainee and rise to £75,000 as a qualified accountant.
With a career in accountancy, there’s no shortage of the different types of opportunities available as you grow in your career. If you always wanted to work in fashion for example, you are able to do so in the finance department and that can vary from working for small start-ups to large corporations. You can also even start your own accountancy firm once you have the relevant contacts and expertise.
Gain valuable expertise and skills
Accountants have to go through a lot of training and they can develop specific skills that can set them apart from others. Due to this, accountants are always in demand and the more skills and expertise you acquire the more likely you would be sought after for an excellent job!
Takes time to get qualified
As mentioned previously, to become an accountant you would need to get qualified and depending on which route you take this can take up to 6 years. It also means that you will have more studying to do and more exams after graduating from university. During that time, however, you will still be working whilst learning so it is a great opportunity, though you would need to be sure if accounting is right for you to be prepared to train to become an accountant.
Another thing to consider is the work-life balance. Depending on the role you take there are busy seasons for accountants which can be quite stressful. The lead up to filing taxes for example, the work-life balance in this situation will tipped towards work. Also, if you are still getting qualified and need to factor in study time for your exams this can also take some time out of your day affecting that work-life balance.
Key skills needed
To be an accountant you would also need to have a range of skills in order to succeed in this field, the following skills are important to have to become an accountant-
A large aspect of being an accountant is dealing with numbers and ensuring that finances are managed well in a business. You would also need to be able to analyse the numbers you are working with and come up with solutions and ways to communicate the complex issues to clients.
Attention to detail & Organisational skills
As with working with numbers, in order to get your calculations, correct you would need to have excellent attention to detail. Having great organisational skills can also help keep you focused when working on projects and studying.
Another aspect of an accounting is being able to communicate complicated issues to your clients or the business owners in order for them to understand the financial decisions they need to make; therefore, you would need to have great communication and interpersonal skills in order to communicate this information effectively.
Proficient in learning new software
In the world of technology today, there are various software that accountants work on in order to do their work and protect their clients’ privacy. If you are tech savvy and love learning new software then you are opening yourself to more opportunities in any industry.
Will I like accounting?
So, to sum this all up, if you are interested in working with numbers and a range of clients in any sector than a career in accountancy may be for you. Whether you are a school leaver or graduate there are many ways to get into accountancy and ensuring that you are willing to work hard and are eager to develop your skills, you will most probably love a career in accounting.