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Four Finance and Accountancy Career Options


Risk-taker, detective, manager or expert adviser – sound like you? If it does, take a look at these four finance and accountancy career options.


Stockbrokers support individuals or organisations to make investment decisions. Work activities depend on what service they provide: discretionary which involves managing all investments, buying and selling shares on the client’s behalf, advisory which means advising but not buying or selling, or executive which involves buying and selling based on what a client asks them to do.

Starting salaries for newly qualified graduates are around £25,000, rising to between £45,000 and £100,000 with experience.

You’ll need great communication and negotiation skills as well as IT and numeracy skills and you’ll need the ability to cope under pressure and with long days!

There are no set entry requirements but employers tend to recruit the best graduates at university jobs fairs. You must be registered by the Financial Conduct Authority before you can act as a trader.

Forensic accountant

Forensic accountants combine skills in accounting and investigation. They do forensic research and analysis in order to investigate inconsistencies and inaccuracies, including fraud and professional negligence. It’s called forensic because they produce evidence that is suitable for use in court and they can be called to present their findings as an expert in court hearings.

The starting salary for a graduate is about £24,000 and with experience forensic accountants can earn between £40,000 and £70,000.

The work of a forensic account requires incredible attention to detail, excellent IT skills, particularly in using spreadsheet software; a sensible approach, sound judgement, and an ability to scrutinise large data sets.

A degree in any subject can be used to get into forensic accountancy, but a degree in accountancy or a related subject would be helpful.

Retail banker

Banking can be business, personal, private or online. This means that working in retail banking offers the possibility for a varied career. Retail bankers work in banks and building societies on the high street as well as online offering a variety of services including loans, financial advice, insurance and credit facilities.

As a junior banker you can expect to deal with customers in branch and on the telephone and as a manager you would deal with more complex queries and problems, recruit staff, manage sales targets and budgets and open and close the branch.

Salaries in retail banking depend on where you are in terms of career development but on a management trainee programme you could earn around £20,000 and after training salaries can go up to £40,000.

You will need very good customer service and communication skills, and if you are thinking of a management role then, leadership qualities as well as business expertise. If you are entering into a specific retail banking role, such as fraud prevention you would need relevant specialist skills.

You don’t absolutely need a degree for retail banking. It is possible to work your way up from an entry role position by completing in-house training schemes. If you do have a good degree though, particularly in business, economics, management or maths, you can start on a graduate management programme where you can be fast-tracked into a management position.

Chartered accountant

A chartered accountant manages financial systems and budgets and can work in public practice, industry and commerce or the public sector.

The role of a chartered accountant is a professional one and the aim of an accountant is to maximise profit for their client or employer.

Chartered accountants check the organisations financial position; they offer financial advice and produce financial reports and statements. They may also advise clients on business matters and manage more junior workers in the finance department.

Starting salaries for accountants vary depending on the size of the organisation employing them and the location. The average starting salary for a graduate is about £25,000 and once fully qualified they can earn anywhere between £26,000 and £50,000, although some salaries are as much as £90,000.

The kind of skills that a chartered accountant needs include a generally good awareness of business, good organisational skills as well as a disciplined approach to work and good interpersonal and communication skills. It goes without saying that you need great skills in numeracy and analysis, but you also need integrity and honesty.

All chartered accountants must undertake a training contract with an approved employer which will last between three and five years to qualify. This point can be reached in a variety of ways but this is a fiercely competitive industry and many employers will ask for very good classification of degree.


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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