For those interested in numbers and data-related insights, accountancy can be an incredibly rewarding career path. In high demand and often with competitive pay packages, it’s definitely a niche that’s worth looking into.
If you're interested in pursuing a career in accountancy in the UK, there are a number of steps you can take to kick-start your career. Let’s take a quick look at what those are.
Choosing highly-rated qualifications
First, you’ll want to think about qualifications. In the UK, there are several professional accountancy qualifications, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
Each qualification has its own set of requirements and areas of focus, so it's important to choose the right one for your career goals. You can find online accountancy courses if you prefer remote learning, and you may even be able to fit it in around your current work schedule.
Once you’ve chosen your professional qualification, it's important to prepare properly for the exams. This might involve attending revision classes as well as studying independently, depending on your preferred methods of learning. Make sure that you allow enough time for revision and practice, and seek support from tutors or study groups if needed.
Get some work experience
To stand out in the competitive field of accountancy, you absolutely need to gain relevant work experience. This can take the form of internships, work placements, or part-time roles in accounting firms or finance departments.
Look for opportunities to work in different areas of accounting, such as auditing, taxation department, or financial projecting, to gain a broad range of skills within the industry.
Hone your skills
In addition to technical accounting knowledge, there are a number of key skills that are essential for a successful career in accountancy. These include strong analytical skills, attention to detail, effective communication, and the ability to work well under pressure. Look for opportunities to develop these skills both at work and through extracurricular activities, such as volunteering or other experiences.
Focus on networking
Getting started in the accounting industry is much simpler if you have a strong professional network. While it may seem a little daunting at first, the networking experience can absolutely be an enjoyable one. You’ll get to attend work events, as well as reach out to potential mentors and connect with other professionals on social media sites like LinkedIn.
Finding a mentor who is experienced in the field of accountancy can provide valuable guidance and insights. A mentor can help you navigate the industry, offer career advice, and share their own experiences to help you progress in your career.
Staying updated with the industry
With the emergence of new technologies, accountancy is a rapidly evolving field, and it's important that you remain up-to-date with important trends. Read industry publications, attend accountancy conferences, and keep an eye on important blogs and forums to make sure you don’t miss any crucial news.
The field of accountancy is constantly evolving, so it's essential to engage in continuous learning. Stay updated with industry trends, changes in regulations, and technological advancements. Consider attending professional development courses or pursuing advanced degrees to enhance your knowledge and stay competitive.
As technology continues to advance, it's important for accountants to stay updated with the latest software and tools relevant to their field. Familiarise yourself with accounting software, data analytics tools, and automation technologies to streamline your work processes and stay ahead in the industry.
Develop industry specialisation
Consider specialising in a specific industry or sector within the field of accountancy. By focusing on a particular niche, such as healthcare, real estate, or entertainment, you can develop specialised knowledge and become a sought-after professional in that industry.
Build a personal brand
Establishing a strong personal brand can help you stand out in the competitive job market. Create a professional online presence through a well-crafted LinkedIn profile, a personal website, or a professional blog where you can share your expertise and insights. This can attract potential employers or clients and enhance your credibility in the field.
Stay updated on regulatory changes
Regulations and laws governing the accounting profession are constantly evolving. Stay informed about changes in tax laws, financial reporting standards, and compliance requirements. This demonstrates your commitment to staying current and ensures you provide accurate and up-to-date advice to clients or employers.
Develop soft skills
While technical accounting skills are crucial, don't neglect the development of soft skills. Skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are highly valued in the industry. Enhance these skills through workshops, training programs, or by taking on leadership roles in extracurricular activities.
Consider international opportunities
Accountancy is a global profession, and gaining international experience can broaden your horizons and open up new career opportunities. Look for opportunities to work or study abroad, participate in international accounting conferences, or seek clients with international operations to expand your skillset and network.
Getting started with your career in accountancy in the UK requires a combination of education, work experience, and networking. Remember that building a successful career takes time and effort. Be proactive, persistent, and adaptable to the changing demands of the industry.
By following these simple tips, you can position yourself for a successful career in this exciting and dynamic field.