If you want to work in accountancy there are a variety of ways that you can work towards this career, including: beginning in entry level accountancy jobs full time, beginning your career as an apprentice to studying at university before heading out to work full time.
What are entry level accountancy jobs?
Entry level jobs in accountancy include roles like purchase ledger clerk, sales ledger clerk and accounts assistant. Working in these roles and gaining qualifications can allow you to work your way up – perhaps all the way to accounts manager. You can also gain experience as a junior bookkeeper and move across to accounting from here.
For all accountancy roles, being competent with software is going to be a must. At school, chances are you won’t get to use software like Sage or Oracle, which are two of the common systems used for accounting, but you will probably be able to get to grips with spreadsheet software like Excel. So, if you are interested in a career in accounting, you should really make sure that you learn as much as you can about using this software.
Work experience is always a good thing. Make use of your summer holidays maybe to gain some experience in an accounting environment. Even if this is voluntary it will look good on your CV.
Attention to detail and organisational skills
With all accountancy roles, attention to detail and the ability to spot errors is a skill that you’ll need. When it comes to roles like purchase ledger clerk there will be a lot of checking involved to make sure that everything is correct.
Apprenticeships in accountancy
Accountancy apprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced and higher levels, so there really is scope to start right at the bottom and progress within the apprenticeship framework.
Level 2 apprenticeship in accounting
Entry onto the level 2 apprenticeship might be from GCSEs, A-levels, or a National Diploma. You could work in a role such as: accounts assistant, accounts clerk, credit control clerk, purchase ledger clerk or sales ledger clerk. You would work towards level 2 certificates in Accounting and Financial and Management Accounting.
From here you could progress to a level 3 apprenticeship and work as a trainee accountant or accounting technician, again working towards qualifications at the appropriate level.
From here it is possible to progress to a higher apprenticeship and work as an account manager or accounting technician. You could also progress to a foundation degree programme or alternative degree programme.
Professional qualifications are important for many roles in this sector and which qualification you do will depend on the area of accountancy that you work in. For those without any experience, the following qualifications are ideal:
AAT – awarded by the Association of Accounting Technicians, this is an entry-level qualification. No previous qualifications are needed and you’ll be trained in basic finance and administration skills. This is a non-graduate route into chartered accountancy and could be gained as part of an accountancy apprenticeship.
ACCA – awarded by the Association of Chartered, Certified Accountants, this a qualification aimed at those wanting to work in business or set up their own practice. The focus is on professional values and ethics. You need three years’ experience to gain this qualification.
CIMA – awarded by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, this is a globally recognised qualification for those new to, or with a little experience in accounting who want to work in strategic planning. You’ll need a foundation in business and accounting and three years’ experience to gain this qualification.