How to become an Accountant

What is an Accountant?

An accountant is a professional who handles the bookkeeping and prepares financial documents like profit-and-loss statements, balance sheets and more, either for individual clients or for larger businesses and organizations employing them. They are considered as the financial backbone of a business as they help conceive goals, plan how to achieve them and take the necessary steps.

How to be an Accountant?

The first step of learning on how to become an Accountant is to first earn a degree and then further professional training to qualify. Relevant subjects include:

  • Accounting
  • Business and management
  • Finance
  • Statistics
  • Auditing
  • Personal and business tax

Entry requirements are as follows:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

Accountant Duties:

  • Provide auditing services for businesses and individuals
  • Ensure that statements and records comply with laws and regulations
  • Advise on business structure
  • Preparing and reviewing budgets, revenue, expenses, payroll entries, invoices, and other accounting documents
  • Analyzing revenue and expenditure trends and recommending appropriate budget levels, and ensuring expenditure control
  • Resolving accounting discrepancies
  • Financial forecasting and risk analysis
  • Compiling and presenting reports, budgets, business plans, commentaries and financial statements
  • Analyse the effectiveness of services

Accountant Skills:

  • Thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
  • Knowledge of economics and accounting
  • Critical Thinker
  • Integrity
  • Ability to reflect on one's own work as well as the wider consequences of financial decisions
  • Adaptability
  • Information Technology expertise
  • Industry knowledge

How to find an Accountant job?

When you search for Accountant jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for Accountant jobs include;

  • Public Accountant – They are employed solely by any one client, and such they are not part of the client’s business or corporate structure
  • Management Accountant – Their tasks involves partnering in management decision making, devising planning and providing expertise in financial reporting and control to assist the management
  • Bookkeeper – They are responsible for maintaining an organisation’s key accounting records, known as ledgers. Tasks include recording transactions such as income outgoings, and posting them to various accounts
  • Internal Auditor – Trained professional tasked with providing independent and objective evaluations of company financial and operational business activities
  • Government Accountant – They review financial documentation for the government and its taxpayers
  • Investment Accountant – They work in the specific sector of the financial industry which are brokerage and asset management firms.
  • Forensic Accountant – They examine data to determine where missing money has gone and how to recover it. They may also present reports of their financial findings as evidence during hearings, where they often testify as expert witnesses.
  • Fiduciary Accountant – Their task involves recording the transactions associated with a trust or estate entity, and issuing periodic reports on the status of the entity.
  • Private Accountant – Work for a specific company or business entity for which they offer accounting services

How to apply for Accountant jobs?

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the Accountant jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for Accountant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

To be an effective Accountant you'll need certain competencies;

  1. Choose your training route – You can become an accountant with a professional diploma in accounting from The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) as you’ll need no prior experience. Here are some examples of different routes in Accountancy together with the type of qualification required:
  • Accountant – AAT
  • Auditing Specialist – ACA
  • Chartered Accountant – ACCA
  • Management Specialist – CIMA
  1. Choose your accounting specialism – Choose a particular industry or field to help you distinguish where to focus.
  1. Get an accounting apprenticeship and work experience – Securing a training contract enables you to work while studying for a recognised accounting qualification. This will be a valuable addition to your CV and help you on your way to becoming a qualified accountant.

What does an Accountant do?

The day-to-day tasks of an Accountant include;

  • Prepare financial records and statements
  • Allocate money to projects and departments
  • Present to boards and budget holders
  • Review budgets and investments
  • Analyse the effectiveness of services

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