Accounting is an important field. It involves recording, classifying, interpreting, and analyzing financial transactions for decision-making. Accountants are always in demand because they are essential to the success of any organization.
In the UK, accounting is a popular career choice. As a result, opportunities are available for both experienced and recent graduates in the private and public sectors of the economy.
This brings us to one frequently asked question "Is accounting a good career in the UK?" Some see accounting as a great career choice, while others think otherwise. However, the answer to this question will largely depend on factors including job prospects, salaries, job security, work-life balance, and personal interest.
In this blog post, we will explain why accounting is a good career in the UK and the career opportunities in accounting in the United Kingdom. Before we go further, we will define accounting.
What Is Accounting?
Accounting is the process of recording, classifying, summarizing, analyzing, and interpreting financial transactions and information to provide accurate and timely financial information for decision-making and to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
This financial information determines the profit, loss, cash flow, assets, liabilities, capital, and taxes of the business over a given period. With the increasing number of businesses in the UK, it is clear that accountants are in high demand.
Why Accounting Is A Good Career Path In The UK
Accounting is a rewarding career path in the UK that provides numerous chances for advancement. These are some of the benefits of an accounting career in the UK if you want to pursue one.
1. High demand for Accountants
There is a significant increase in the number of new businesses in the UK, which means more job opportunities for accountants. Most business owners can't combine managing their finances and running other aspects of their business. Hence, they hire an accounting professional to help with tax filing, account receivables, and income statements.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were more than two million accountants and auditors in the UK in 2022. They also project an increase of 5 percent over the next ten years. It means there will be many job prospects because of the strong demand for qualified accounting professionals.
2. Lucrative Salaries
Accounting is a lucrative industry in the United Kingdom. Payscale reports that the typical annual salary for an accountant in the UK in 2023 ranges from £30,000 to £40,000, depending on the qualifications and years of experience. With the right skills and knowledge, you might increase your income. Some senior-level accountants make more than £100,000 annually. You should anticipate making even more money as your career develops and you gain experience.
3. Variety of Career Paths
There are careers available in accounting, including auditing, tax accounting, bookkeeping, financial accounting, and management accounting. You can therefore choose a professional path based on your interests and skills. For instance, you might like to concentrate on financial accounting if you enjoy working with numbers and data analysis. A management accounting job might be more appealing to you if you enjoy interacting with people and giving financial advice.
4. Career Progression
There are prospects for career advancement in accounting. You may go from a bookkeeper or junior accountant to a senior accountant, financial controller, or even a CFO with the appropriate qualifications and experience. Many accounting firms offer training and development programs to help their employees advance their careers.
5. International Opportunities
There are opportunities to work overseas because accounting is a global profession. A career in accounting might take you across the globe if you enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures. There is a global need for qualified accountants, as evidenced by many accounting firms, such as the big 4 accounting firms, having offices in several countries.
6. Job Security
Employees love job security. There will always be a demand for accounting services as long as there are companies and people. Hence, a career in accounting is secure and dependable. Accountants are still in demand as companies look to improve their financial management, even during economic downturns.
7. Qualification Routes
There are several qualification pathways open to aspiring accountants in the UK. These include the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Each qualification route provides a different level of qualification and is appropriate for people with various levels of education and experience.
What Are The Roles In Accounting?
Accounting is a broad field that offers several jobs with different duties and needs. Whether you want to pursue a career in finance or go to a new position within accounting, there are many options to consider. The accounting function is typically divided into several roles, each with unique responsibilities.
No matter the role, ensure to buy a professional liability insurance for accountants to protect your business against lawsuits The followings are some typical accounting roles and the responsibilities that go along with them:
A bookkeeper is responsible for recording financial transactions daily. They maintain accurate financial records and ensure that all entries are up-to-date. Bookkeepers also manage accounts payable and receivable, prepare ledger accounts, reconcile bank accounts, and prepare financial statements.
An accountant is responsible for analyzing financial data, preparing financial reports, and ensuring compliance with accounting principles. They also assist with budgeting, tax filing, and audit preparation.
3. Financial Analyst
A financial analyst helps businesses make informed financial decisions. They analyze financial data, identify trends, and create reports to help companies improve profitability, manage risk, and reduce costs. They also help with investment analysis and financial planning.
The controller is responsible for managing the accounting function. He oversees the work of bookkeepers and accountants and ensures that financial statements comply with accounting standards. Furthermore, the controller develops and implements accounting policies and procedures, manages internal controls, and oversees financial reporting.
An auditor is responsible for ensuring that financial statements accurately represent the financial position of a business. They conduct independent assessments of financial records and identify any issues. Auditors also provide recommendations to improve internal controls and financial reporting.
6. Tax Accountant
A tax accountant specializes in tax planning and preparation. They help businesses and individuals understand tax laws and regulations and ensure tax returns comply with government requirements. Furthermore, tax accountants also provide advice on tax planning strategies to minimize tax liability.
7. Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant specializes in investigating financial fraud and embezzlement. Furthermore, they use accounting principles and techniques to analyze financial records and identify fraudulent activities. Forensic accountants also provide expert testimony in legal proceedings.
8. Cost Accountant
A cost accountant analyzes the costs of producing goods or services. They help businesses understand the costs of their products and services and identify ways to reduce costs and improve profitability. Cost accountants also help with budgeting and forecasting.
9. Accounts Payable Clerk
A company's accounts payable clerks are responsible for managing vendor accounts. They process invoices and issue payments. Furthermore, they reconcile vendor accounts and resolve any payment discrepancies, communicate with vendors to negotiate payment terms or resolve any payment issues.
10. Internal Auditor
An internal auditor is responsible for reviewing a company's internal controls and ensuring they are effective. They also identify any issues in the controls and provide recommendations for improvement. Internal auditors help businesses reduce the risk of fraud and ensure compliance with company policies.
11. Financial Manager
A financial manager is responsible for overseeing the financial operations of a business. They develop financial strategies, manage budgets, and meet financial goals. Financial managers also analyze financial data and provide recommendations to improve financial performance.
12. Payroll Clerk
Payroll clerks are responsible for processing employee payroll, including calculating wages, withholding taxes, and other deductions. They also maintain payroll records, such as vacation and sick time, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
13. Accounts Receivable Clerk
Accounts receivable clerks are responsible for customer accounts, invoicing, and collecting payments. They also reconcile customer accounts and resolve billing discrepancies. Furthermore, they communicate with customers to resolve payment issues or negotiate payment plans.
How To Become An Accountant In The UK
Becoming an accountant in the UK can be a rewarding career path. Here's an overview of the steps you need to take to become an accountant.
1. Decide on the Type of Accountancy You Want to Practice
Accountancy is a broad career. No individual can practice all. Therefore, an accountant will focus on a particular aspect and become an expert. The different types of accounting include financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, forensic accounting, etc. Determine the area of accounting you want to specialize in and what qualifications you need to earn.
2. Obtain a Relevant Degree
Most employers in the UK require that job applicants should have a degree in accounting or a related field, such as finance or economics. A degree program will equip you with a solid foundation in accounting ethics and practices.
3. Gain Work Experience
While an accountancy degree can help you get a place on the interview table, most employers also need candidates with work experience. This is important, especially for businesses looking for an experienced professional. It shouldn't discourage you. You can gain the necessary work experience through internships or entry-level accounting positions.
4. Obtain Professional Qualifications
Becoming a chartered accountant in the UK requires professional qualifications. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) offer the most popular professional qualifications in the United Kingdom. These bodies provide training, support, and professional development opportunities for members.
5. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Learning is a continuous process. Chartered accountants must complete Continuing Professional Development (CPD) yearly to update their skills and knowledge. The professional body you belong to organizes these development programs for its members. It includes attending courses, conferences, and seminars, reading industry publications, and networking with other accountancy professionals.
6. Gain Relevant Skills
Your qualifications are important, but employers look beyond them. Employers also look for candidates with relevant skills such as excellent numeracy, communication, and analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure.
Accounting is a good career path for those in the UK who aspire to be accountants. It provides a variety of positions, from entry-level to more senior jobs. Also, accounting offers job security, good earning potential, and chances for career advancement.
As a growing economy, businesses in the UK need skilled accountants to manage financial records accurately and efficiently. Accounting provides good employment opportunities and the chance to work in different industries due to the growing demand for qualified experts. These sectors include finance, services, government, and non-profit organizations.
If you want to become an accountant, it is important to note that a career in accounting requires professional qualifications such as ACCA, CIMA, and ICAEW to succeed. These professional qualifications need strong math, analytical, computer, and communication skills.
Since you know why accounting is a good career path and some job opportunities available, take the first step by researching the various qualifications and job opportunities to build a successful career in accounting in the UK.