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 ( – Providing online accountancy services nationwide for a low, fixed monthly fee.

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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!

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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.

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