Career Guide – Accountant Career Guide

Career Guide – Accountant Career Guide

The role of an accountant is one that has many different guises across the many industries but has some core elements in common.  Whether you work as an independent accountant or as an in-house accountant for a company, you will need certain skills and qualifications to get the role.  Here is an overview of accountant jobs and what it takes to get one.

What the job entails

The basic job of the accountant is to prepare the accountants for a business to provide a financial overview.  This gives the financial status of the business, tracks transactions both incoming and outgoing and provides the information required for taxation and other government requirements.  It also highlights any irregularities and helps the business ensure it is in a fit financial position.

Every job within the industry will have its own specific requirements and jobs that the role will include.  These might see an account:

  • Tracking the company income and expenditure
  • Examining the income and expenditure to check financial wellbeing
  • Conducting audits
  • Operating payroll
  • Identifying and investigating financial risks or irregularities including suspected fraud
  • Offering advice on budgeting and ways to increase profits
  • Calculating tax and filing tax returns

Skills and qualifications

While you don’t need a degree for most accountant careers, you will need an industry standard qualification, such as an AAT qualification.  There are different qualifications depending on the area of accountancy you want to get involved with and these can range from foundation certificates through to professional diplomas.  Some jobs do allow on the job training for junior roles.

It goes without saying that you need to have a good head for numbers to be an accountant.  Excellent analytical skills will also be very useful and you will need to have a good organisational ability to manage your workload.  Being something of a detective and having good problem-solving expertise can be helpful for some roles and good financial acumen is important.

Salary and career progression

Salaries can be varied depending on the nature of the role and the area of the country you live in.  A trainee accountant can see a salary of £14,000-19,0000 then the rates rise considerably after you are qualified and have had some experience.  A qualified accountant can easily see a salary of £50,000 and senior accountants in some companies can earn double this.

There are also many opportunities to continue to advance your career as an accountant in different ways.  One traditional path is to move into finance managerial roles and even to finance directors over time.  You may also want to specialise in certain areas of accountancy and pursue a path in that particular area.


Accountancy is a varied profession that offers something to suit many tastes.  While sometimes seen as ‘boring’ it has a range of duties that means each day is often different and new challenges are common.  The industry is also open for those looking to re-train and start a new career with junior accountancy roles often offering on the job training and qualifications to get you started.


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