How Do I Become An Accountant?

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Tom Bilby, from The Accountancy Partnership

So, you think you might want to pursue a career as an accountant – but you’re not sure where to start? Keep reading as we explore what qualifications you’ll need and take you through a few other important things to consider if you want to become an accountant, including:

• What area you’d like to specialise in

• Graduate programmes and apprenticeships

• Other forms of work experience

Do you need qualifications to become an accountant?

A university degree in accounting will, naturally, stand you in great stead but it’s by no means compulsory. In fact, you can have a degree in another subject – or no degree at all – and still build a super successful career as a qualified accountant.

While a university degree is not a mandatory requirement for a career in accounting, there are other qualifications you’ll need to achieve in order to progress through the industry.

An Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification is the minimum typically required of prospective accountants. To progress to chartered accountancy, you’ll also need to complete the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA) and/or (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) CIMA qualifications too. Accountancy does love an acronym, starting with its qualifications!

Other sought-after accounting qualifications you can pursue are the Association of International Accountants (AIA) professional qualification, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) chartered accountant status (ICAEW).

Good employers will take you on as a junior accountant with an AAT qualification, and then support you with training and study leave if you do decide to pursue additional learning.

Think about what area you’d like to specialise in

When embarking on a career in accounting, you might be wondering about areas that you could specialise in. This isn’t something you need to be sure about as soon as you leave education, and your specialism may very well change as your career evolves. However, it helps to have an idea of what direction you’d like to start off in, or what options might at least be available.

The typical path into the industry is down the financial accounting route, which includes tax and business finances. There are other areas too, such as forensic accounting, audit and business recovery and insolvency.

As time goes on, you’ll need to figure out whether you want to work in the private or public sector, such as for local government, a charity, or a business. There are other variations too, such as working ‘in practice’ for an accounting firm, or for a business in their finance department.

Research graduate programmes and apprenticeships

For those who do choose to study for a university degree, there is the option of graduate schemes or graduate roles. These initiatives are designed to enable people to obtain important qualifications, such as the ones outlined above, recognising that you might be able to ‘skip’ some modules already covered by your degree.

For those who don’t go down the university route, apprenticeships are a great alternative. There are a whole host of programmes run by leading professional bodies, such as the ICAEW and ACCA, that enable people to achieve the necessary qualifications even if they didn’t attend university

Consider other forms of work experience

Graduate programmes and apprenticeships aren’t the only options available to you, and there’s often a great deal of competition to get into these kinds of schemes. Another great way to gain invaluable experience and get your foot in the door is to request a work placement or internship.

Going down this route still means you get to shadow practising accountants and absorb relevant hard and soft skills. They’ll be an invaluable addition to your CV when it comes to landing a full-time position.

Contact local accounting firms and express your interest in a work placement or voluntary work directly, or take a look on jobs boards and professional platforms such as LinkedIn to find open vacancies.

You might also look at other routes into the industry, such as starting in a different discipline like bookkeeping, before moving to accountancy.

Now you know what you need to do to become an accountant, all that’s left to do is go out there and kickstart your career. Good luck!

Article written by The Accountancy Partnership (https://www.theaccountancy.co.uk/) – Providing online accountancy services nationwide for a low, fixed monthly fee.

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

How To Increase Your Employability

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Gemma McCann.

What is employability?

Put simply, employability is all about how employable you are. So to increase your employability, you need to begin thinking like an employer… What do they look for in a prospective employee?

Employability includes:

  • Transferable Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Subject Knowledge
  • Work experience
  • Additional knowledge
  • Professionalism

Transferable Skills – These are the general skills that you can pick up from a variety of areas such as education and employment. Transferable skills can include:

  • Active Listener
  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Time Management
  • Organisation
  • Critical Thinking

Technical Skills – These can include skills developed through your particular field. Technical Skills can include:

  • IT-based programming skills knowledge.
  • In-depth knowledge of your chosen subject and particular specific knowledge needed (this can be found through specific modules)

Subject Knowledge – You will learn a lot about your chosen field throughout your course; however, there is so much more you can learn by doing some independent research.

Work Experience – This is always a good area to work on as it can be so simple to find. Work experience can be developed through paid jobs, voluntary work, placements, and internships.

Additional Knowledge – This can be anything extra that you have gained that you believe to be relevant and useful e.g. dbs, first aid, driving license.

Professionalism – It is important to remember to stay professional in everything that you do for an employer; from your cv, to your presentation at interview level.

Remember: For any support or guidance regarding careers, contact us using the below information, or pop in and see us on campus!

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Placements – What You Need To Know.

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Gemma McCann.

Is a placement right for you?

The answer is yes! Whether you are looking to do a full placement year, a placement as an optional module, or you are just looking to fill up some of your spare time in the summer; a placement is the perfect option.

Why are placements important?

Placements improve your employability. It’s great for employers to see that you have a degree and knowledge in a specific subject area, however, experience is an essential tool. Experience is important to employers because they can see that you have an understanding of the subject area and they can see that you know how to apply it. Why is this important? Because it increases your chances of success when applying for jobs. Placements are also an important opportunity for you because it gives you insight into what that job entails. You might find that you do a placement and don’t enjoy that particular job role, you then know that you can look for another role that will be more suited to you.

What type of placement should you look for?

There is no right or wrong answer here. As you begin to look through placement opportunities you will become alert to the type of placements that suit you. It is ideal to get a placement that relates in some way to; 1) the type of job or subject area that you are interested in, and/or 2) the employers/companies that you are interested in.

Where should I be looking for placement opportunities?

Some useful websites can be:

  • My Career (Accessible through the Staffordshire University website).
  • Rate My Placement.
  • Prospects
  • Total Jobs
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Milkround
  • Gradcracker
  • Google (Search ‘Placements UK’ etc)

If you have a specific employer in mind then you can always look on the careers section of their website to see if they have any placement/internship/volunteering opportunities. You can also email companies directly with information on what you are looking for, to see if there is anything that they can offer you.

What should you do after securing a placement?

  • Keep your personal tutor informed, particularly if it is a placement directly for your course.
  • Keep a diary or an information sheet about what you did and learned throughout your placement (you might want to refer back to this for your future cv or in job interviews).
  • If you have looked to the Career Connect Hub for any guidance or advice then you can let them know about your achievement (We love to hear about our students’ successes!).

If you are struggling to find an appropriate placement or you are unsure of the application process, you can talk to your personal tutors/lecturers or you can book an appointment with, or pop down to the Career Connect Hub for any guidance and support.

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

How To Have A Productive Summer!

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Gemma McCann

Happy Summer!

Exams and assignments are coming to an end, and I know that many students will be preparing for summer; going home, having barbecues, and sun, sun, sun! This time of year however can be valuable in enhancing your employability and future prospects.

How can I make my summer productive?

  • Create/update your cv – Summer can be a great time to start thinking about creating or updating your placement/graduate cv. This is a task that can be done so easily, no matter where you are, and it could save you a lot of time in the future! To begin, it can be useful to gather your educational background and personal details, you can then move on to your work experience and then you can start to think about what skills you may have gained. You can then have a go at putting your information together in a professional-looking cv, or you can contact the Career Connect Hub to help you finalise it.
  • Work experience – This is the perfect opportunity to gain some experience in your chosen field of study. Whether it be paid or voluntary work, any kind of work experience you can get will be both productive and advantageous in enhancing your skillset, gaining some work-based knowledge, and building your cv. It can also keep you as busy or as free as you like… You can choose your availability. If you are interested in this, but you don’t know where to start then contact us and we can help!

Work, rest, play:

Although it can seem tempting to do absolutely everything you can to utilise your summer, it is important to remember that you are most efficient when you are feeling your best; so a balance between work, rest, and play is key to success.

Remember! The Career Connect Hub is still open throughout the summer, so if you are around and would like some support then pop in and see us, or if you are away from campus this summer then book a digital appointment, or for general queries email in.

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Social Media – How To Network Right:

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Gemma McCann

Fact! 85% of jobs are filled via networking. Fact! 70% of jobs are NEVER advertised.

YOU WANT IT? YOU GET IT!… But How?

First thing’s first… Where to network? Many social media platforms can be used, depending on what you need them for. The most commonly used platforms for networking, however, are LinkedIn and Instagram. Why? They are professional and pleasant to view, and they are simple to use!

Top Tip! Keep your professional profile and your personal profile separate! Your potential employers want to see what you are capable of, your work, and your previous experience – not what you had for your lunch or who you are dating!

What should your profile include?

It depends on what platform you are using as to how much information you include; for example:

Instagram – As this is picture-based, it can be perfect for creating an online portfolio! However, it doesn’t give you much room for writing. Work, skills, and experience can be shown creatively throughout the pictures, with a bit of detail going into the caption. That leaves the ‘short but sweet’ bio for you to add who you are and the contact details that you would like potential employers to contact you on.

LinkedIn – This can be a useful place to host all of your relevant information, similarly to your cv. You can fit a lot of your important details in here – just remember to keep it relevant and to the point. If you ramble on, potential employers won’t want to read; this is why it is important to keep your beginning section short and punchy, much like your personal profile on your cv. You can then go into more detail further down, where the employers can choose to carry on reading but remember to keep it relevant!

Fact! At least 84% of organisations use social media for recruitment, and 9% of those who do not yet use it are planning to start.

What content should you consider including?

  • Skills.
  • Qualifications.
  • Keep it short, and relevant.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic.
  • Mention career goals/aspirations.
  • All contact information that you would be happy to be contacted on e.g. business cards, email address.

Top Tip! Post engaging content – only what you would like potential employers to see.

What contacts should you use/look for?

  • Former and current colleagues.
  • People you went to school/college/university with.
  • Contacts made through dedicated networking events.
  • Contacts made through conferences and career/employability fairs.

Top Tip! You can look for and interact with potential employers too!

Why is it important to network on social media?

  • Career support.
  • Useful information and to gain knowledge.
  • Company relations and speculative applications.

For any further information, or for support on how to set up/use your social media for career networking please feel free to contact the Career Connect Hub!

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Job-Hunting… Where To Begin

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Sarah Hartley.

Students predominantly attend university with the goal of getting a job at the end of their degree, however, it’s sometimes a struggle to know where to start! Developing good job-hunting habits is essential to getting a job.

What to do when job-hunting:

1. Network:

Networking is one of the most effective tactics when it comes to job-hunting. When an opportunity arises, introduce yourself and start a conversation, and get to know new people. Where you are doesn’t matter; opportunities to network are everywhere, and you never know where the connection or conversation may lead.

2. Enhance your credentials:

What are your career goals? Once you know the answer to this question and know where you want to go, you can start looking into conferences, seminars, programs, etc. which will allow you to expand your knowledge and make you invaluable to potential employers.

3. Boost your CV:

It is imperative to have a good CV. You want to make a great first impression, and having a good CV allows you to do this. Your CV needs to make you stand out; ensuring you’re not overlooked by employers or recruiters. Before applying for jobs, fine-tune your CV, and ideally get it reviewed.

4. Practice interviewing:

If your CV is accepted and you are invited to an interview, make sure you’re ready. Interview skills can be perfected in several different ways:

· Roleplay with a friend/family, where they ask you interview questions

· Record yourself, and see where you could improve

· Use a mirror to see how you present yourself

5. Utilise what Staffordshire University has to offer:

The University has a team who are trained to aid you with all of the above, and more. Our skilled Career Coaches offer peer-to-peer support, regarding any career-related queries you may have. Appointments can be made through our website, MyCareer. As well as this, MyCareer shows all the roles available to students; with emphasis on graduate-level roles.

Hopefully this will help you when job-hunting! If you require any assistance, feel free to contact the Career Connect team!

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Career Connect Hub – How Can We Help You?

By Gemma McCann,

Written by Gemma McCann

Career Connect - Current students - Staffordshire University

Hi, I’m Gemma! A level 4 Psychology and Criminology student, and career coach. I wanted to become a career coach because I love to help people. I have a lot of career-based knowledge and experience, and I would love to pass this on to make people feel more confident and relaxed in their own applications and career experiences.

Who Are We?

From career advisors to career coaches, from cv’s to graduate jobs; we’ve got you covered. At the career connect hub we strive to offer you a happy and helpful service, as a team of well-trained and knowledgeable individuals, we are here to support you. We are a team of friendly, dedicated, and reliable staff, who will always have your back.

Where Are We?

You can find us located – Room 1, Career Connect Hub, Science Centre, Leek Road. This can be accessed by going through the Career Connect Hub door which is located at the back of the Science Centre building. This can also be accessed by going through the front of the building and walking towards the back wall and then turning right down the corridor.

What Can We Offer You?

The Career Connect Hub can offer students a range of support in the following areas:

  • Cv
  • Cover letter
  • Personal statement
  • LinkedIn/Professional social media profiles
  • Application guidance
  • Psychometric tests
  • Mock interviews
  • Searching for and securing placements, voluntary and paid work experience, and jobs

When Are We Available?

Appointments can be booked with the career advisors and career coaches throughout the year (except Christmas holidays) Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (depending on appointment availability), we try to be as flexible as possible to ensure that we meet the needs of everybody. Drop-in sessions are also available, along with selective digital appointments.

Our contact email address and phone line are also operational between these days and times, and we aim to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible.

My Career – How To Book Appointments:

Go to the Staffordshire University website (www.staffs.ac.uk), and find the student tab in the top right-hand corner. Seek careers, click the MyCareer tab and login by using your Staffordshire university email address and password.

To create a student profile, open the menu tab in the top right-hand corner and click on your name. Click on the ‘Edit Profile’ tab in the top right-hand corner and fill out your details and preferences.

Don’t forget to save the changes!

To book an appointment, scroll down the page to ‘Upcoming Bookings’, seek sub header, and select search appointments. From there, you can select the type of booking that you would like to make and then proceed to make the booking.

We look forward to seeing and hearing from you, and offering our expertise to support your pathway to achieving your goals!

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch:

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Calling ALL Students…HAVE you heard of MyCareer?

By jp4,

Written by Wil Lewis

Seriously!! HAVE you Heard of MyCareer?

Are you asking yourself “I need a job, but don’t know where to look” or “I have useless degree”?

Well, you’ll be over the moon to know that the Career Studio manage a site called MyCareer, our university’s very own jobs platform. A fabulous tool for a student to use. On this website, you will find hundreds of jobs to explore, whether that’s for placement opportunities, part time work, voluntary places or for graduate positions.

Don’t believe me? Check out a few of the these fabulous opportunities BELOW!

  1. https://mycareer.staffs.ac.uk/employerConnect/jobSearch.html?execution=e7s2
  2. https://mycareer.staffs.ac.uk/employerConnect/jobSearch.html?execution=e7s3
  3. https://mycareer.staffs.ac.uk/employerConnect/jobSearch.html?execution=e7s4
  4. https://mycareer.staffs.ac.uk/employerConnect/jobSearch.html?execution=e7s5

The jobs don’t end here… There is so much more on MyCareer – find out for yourself: www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers/mycareer

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

Our Offer of Lifetime Support

By jp4,

Written by Career Relationship Manager, Claire Bashford

Our Offer of Lifetime Support

Throughout your studies you will come across the Careers Team, be that in curriculum, by visiting the Career Studio or attending one of our events. You will most likely be aware of all the great advice and guidance you can access in relation to your employability, future career/further study goals. But did you know that once you graduate you can continue to be supported by the team for life?

It is extremely common for students to be confused and apprehensive about their next steps. Often appearing when graduation is looming or you’ve completed your studies and not secured your graduate role as yet. But fear not, we are here and will continue to work with you for as long as you need. You can make an appointment with one of our Career Coaches, who can discuss your requirements and advise you on what support they can offer. You can access all our online Career resources too – https://www.staffs.ac.uk/students/careers

If you know exactly where you are going and have your graduate role in the bag, that’s great! But, further into your career journey, if you ever need advice with regards career changes, getting back into work after career breaks and taking you career to the next level we can help!

What should you do?

Contact the Career Studio by emailing careers@staffs.ac.uk.

For self-employment queries, you can visit a member of the BeInspired Team, look online http://www.staffs.ac.uk/support_depts/careers/work-for-yourself/ or email beinspired@staffs.ac.uk

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs

How to Bulletproof Your Graduate CV for Hiring Managers in 2021

By jp4,

Why Is Crafting a Professional CV Important for Graduates?

Guest Blog Written by

WikiJobProviding Interview Tips & Practice Aptitude Tests since 2007!

Leaving university and entering the wide world of work can be daunting enough, but if you have studied for years to be the perfectly qualified candidate for the graduate programme that will kickstart your career, you want to be sure that your graduate CV does you justice.

Your graduate CV should be the greatest hits of your capabilities, work experience and qualifications, presented in an easy-to-read manner that summarises why you are the perfect candidate.

There are some problems that graduates can face when they are completing a CV, such as a lack of direct work experience, an overly generic document or too much irrelevant information. However, with the right strategy, these problems can be avoided.

If you are looking to the future and want to make sure that your CV shines among the other applicants, then following these tips will help.

10 Tips for Improving Your Graduate CV

1. Structure

Having the right structure for your CV is important. Recruiters will receive potentially hundreds of CVs for open graduate programmes – and they want to be able to find the information they need quickly.

This means you need to ensure that the details you are presenting are shared in a straightforward way.

No long paragraphs of dense and small print; instead, look to create short and to the point sentences. Bullet points are a great idea as lists are easier to read.

Make sure that your layout follows a straightforward structure – an introduction, which can be a summary of key skills and achievements, followed by an outline of relevant work history and details of study and qualifications.

Think about the font and point size too – fancy colours and elaborate fonts distract from the information you are trying to convey. Formatting is important.

Always remember that you are aiming for conciseness, not length. It is perfectly acceptable for a graduate CV to be just one A4 page long.

2. Tailor It to the Job Description

You are not a generic candidate – and your CV should not be generic either if you want to score that job.

When you are looking for a graduate role, you can find a lot of information about what the recruiters are looking for in terms of qualifications, skills, experience and aptitude.

This information should be used to tailor your CV – providing recruiters with all the information they need to see that you are the perfect candidate for them.

EY, for example, provides a comprehensive list of skills and attributes that it wants to see from graduate applicants, so a bit of research on the company will be really rewarding.

For example, if the job role requires someone good at people management, then highlighting your competency in working alone will not be relevant.

3. Achievements, Not Duties

A laundry list of all the responsibilities you had in a role is not helpful. If you worked as a customer associate in a retail environment, it will be obvious that one of your duties will have been serving customers.

What you want to focus on is what you achieved during this employment. So, if you managed to increase sales on a particular item by 25%, mention that instead.

Focus on what you have accomplished, not what you had to do.

4. Include Metrics

A great way to hone in your achievements is to provide metrics and statistics.

Numbers really help to drive home your successes, so if you can provide data in your CV, this is a great option.

This might be in work experience, as in the example above, but it can also be in your academic achievement. If you scored in the 95th percentile in a test or exam, provide that detail (if it is relevant to the job description).

5. Avoid Cliches

It might seem like a good idea to encourage a recruiter to choose you by describing yourself as hardworking and reliable, but you can bet that they have heard this from all the other candidates applying for that position.

Cliches are boring and overplayed – and in most cases are seen as just space-fillers rather than important information for the recruitment team.

6. Include Voluntary Work Experience

One of the common stumbling blocks for recent graduates is the lack of relevant work experience.

If you have been lucky enough to complete an internship in your chosen industry, that should provide a wealth of examples you can use – but if not, there are other things that you can use.

Voluntary work is still work experience, so if you volunteered as part of the Student Union or were involved in any events, you can use this here.

In some cases, any work experience that you might have had, even a summer job in a local supermarket, can have relevance for a professional graduate CV – it just needs some creative thinking.

7. Include Hobbies and Interests

While a good recruitment process aims to remove bias and ensure that the best candidates are chosen, hobbies and interests can still have value when added to your CV.

You can demonstrate your uniqueness, especially if you have an unusual hobby like falconry or an interest in baking – and there might be some experience or competencies that you can use as examples in your CV too.

  1. Look for Professional Development Opportunities

Filling gaps in your knowledge or experience might not be necessary if you can leverage experience from other things, like taking a gap year to travel or work abroad, for example.

However, if you know that the graduate opportunities in the industry you are excited about need specific skills that you do not possess, then why not look at online courses.

You might also be able to find internships or voluntary experience opportunities in the industry – and whether paid or unpaid, the experience will help you understand not only what the job is actually like, but also give examples needed to complete that CV.

9. Use Professional Language

In any correspondence with a company, especially regarding a job role, professional language is important.

A great way to make sure that you are using appropriate language is to mirror what is used in the job description.

This can be down to specific words used and include phrasing specific to the employer or the role – and this can help you hit the right note in terms of tone, but also ensure that your experience and qualifications match what they are looking for.

10. Spellcheck

If you have created a perfectly structured, informative and tailored CV for your desired graduate role, the last thing you want to do is send it to a recruiter without checking for errors.

Check for spelling and grammatical errors and ensure that the layout is clear and easy to read.

You have spent the time crafting this document, so don’t send it on before ensuring that it is the perfect representation of your skills, attributes, qualifications and experience.

Conclusion

Your CV is a summary of who you are in a professional capacity, and with some care, it can be a simple document that contains all the relevant information that makes you an ideal candidate for a role in your chosen industry.

While it might seem laborious and time-consuming to create a new CV for each application, remember that you can make things easier for yourself by making a master list of all qualifications, all competencies and all experiences that you have, so you can use the most relevant in the bespoke CV you are creating.

Tell the recruiter your story through your CV and give them the information they need to make the right decision about your application.

You can find more information about careers as a student or recent graduate of Staffordshire University on the Careers Studio Blog, along with links to workshops and career fairs locally.

To speak to one of our Career Coaches get in touch: 

Email: careers@staffs.ac.uk 

Twitter: @CareersAtStaffs 

Instagram: @CareersAtStaffs 

Facebook: Staffordshire University​ Career & Personal Development 

LinkedIn: @CareersAtStaffs