The finance industry is lucrative
In the UK, careers in finance are very often rewarded with higher salaries than many other professions. The role of an accountant is valued by businesses of all sizes, and graduates of accounting and finance will discover just how valued – in terms of pay. Career options for qualified accountants are excellent. Graduates find themselves amongst the most consistently sought after in the jobs market, with a newly-qualified accountant salary for entry level accounting jobs being around £30,000 per year.
Every business needs a numbers expert
Not matter what business or industry, a proficient accountant is a prized asset. It’s perhaps also worth noting that in the UK nearly 59% of graduates of accountancy and finance find employment within business, HR, and finance. Employers are always eager to find experts with modern, up-to-date financial and accounting skills who can ensure the fiscal health of their enterprise. With the right accreditation, such as from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a long and prosperous career can be achieved and maintained with an accounting and finance degree.
What might a career in accounting look like in the future?
The World Bank estimates global GDP at around 75 trillion USD. Of that amount, the global financial services sector makes up around 15 trillion USD, and looks set to grow in 2018 and 2019. What that means for aspiring finance and accounting professionals is a future in one of the most dynamic industries on the planet. As emerging markets, advances in technology, and developing global strategies all make their mark on the world stage, it’s the women and men driving sound investment of resources and accounting for spending that will contribute significantly to a brighter future for businesses and individuals.
Skills and abilities: Attention to detail with strong analytical abilities, effective negotiation skills, able to communicate with people from all levels.
What you’ll be doing: This role is required by private clients, public bodies, and global corporations. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Conducting regular audits and risk analysis, investigating irregularities
- Reviewing and amending financial controls and systems as required
- Bookkeeping, controlling expenditure and cash flow
- Advising on financial controls such as project cost, and ensuring tax compliance
- Liaising with, and advise clients; providing advice, financial information, identifying areas of business improvement, or dealing with insolvency
- Checking invoices, charging customers, ensuring funds are properly distributed
- Staff training, at senior levels
Career progression: You will usually require relevant qualifications to work as an accountant – you may wish to become a Chartered Certified Accountant to improve your prospects, with ACCA or CIMA. This position could lead to senior managerial roles within finance, or to other strategic business roles. With sufficient experience, you could become a partner in a private practice, or establish your own consultancy.
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/chartered-certified-accountantFinance & AccountingAccounting and Financial Management£9,500Finance & AccountingIslamic Banking and Finance£9,500
Skills and abilities required: Ability to research, analyse, and interpret data. Excellent mathematical and statistical skills. Strong problem-solving and communication skills.
What you’ll be doing: This role is required within consultancy, insurance, or government workplaces. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Analysing statistics and assessing risks
- Testing financial options and forecasting
- Building mathematical and statistical models
- Delivering and explaining findings to clients and managers
Career progression: To become an actuary, you will first be required to join the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) as a student member, and then conduct yourself as a trainee actuary whilst undertaking professional exams. As your experience increases, you may progress to a managerial role, or eventually become a partner in a financial firm. You may move into consultancy, or specialise in a particular area or industry such as healthcare.
* https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/actuaryFinance & AccountingMergers, Acquisitions and Private Equity£7,500Finance & AccountingInvestment Banking and Capital Markets£9,500
Skills and abilities: Excellent mathematical and analytical skills concerning financial information and report writing. Strong ability to communicate and negotiate.
What you’ll be doing: This role is requiredwithin various organisations selling financial products, possibly as an independent adviser for investment or pension consultancies. You may fulfil a similar role to a Financial Adviser. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Discussing financial planning with clients, and updating clients about their investments
- Researching and understanding financial products to explain to clients
- Negotiating with different providers, and meeting sales and performance targets
- Producing financial reports
- Maintaining knowledge of products and laws
Career progression: You may choose to specialise in a specific area, or move into management. With additional qualifications and experience, there may be the option to become a partner in a firm – you may wish to become a Certified Financial Analyst. Alternatively, you may decide to move into compliance, upholding industry guidelines.
* https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/financial-adviserFinance & AccountingRetail Banking and Money Markets£7,500Finance & AccountingMA in Finance & Investment£7,500Finance & AccountingRisk Management£7,500
Skills and abilities: A clear understanding of mathematics and statistics. Analytical and problem-solving skills with accuracy, attention to detail, and a methodical approach.
What you’ll be doing: This role is requiredwithin a variety of sectors, from government or finance, to market research or sport. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Agreeing the type of data to collect and the method for it to be gathered
- Designing methods for collection, such as surveys or trials
- Presenting results to clients, managers, or regulatory bodies
- Advising key decision-makers based on results
- Writing articles and reports for publication
- Collecting, analysing, and interpreting data whilst ensuring correct decisions are made with the results
Career progression: Careers in statistics provide many areas for specialisation, and statisticians are encouraged to change post every two years in order to be exposed to as many areas of statistics as possible. Positions usually begin at assistant level, and are required to sit on formal promotion boards for advancement. Senior statisticians (Grade 7) can manage branches or provide leadership. Many companies are international, offering opportunities abroad.
* https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/statisticianBusiness & ManagementAdvanced Certificate in Business Statistics£650Finance & AccountingAdvanced Diploma in Statistical Economic Analysis£1,800
Skills and abilities: Strong financial skills and leadership, supported by credentials and experience. Strategic knowledge with an interest in financial market operation.
What you’ll be doing: This senior role may be known by other titles, such as Head of Finance, or Finance Director, and is requiredwithin larger organisations or smaller companies, often sharing the role of controller. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Developing finance strategies, and establishing objectives
- Studying trends, monitoring performance, and working capital forecasting
- Maximising returns on investments, analysing variances, and improving performance
- Maintaining ties with investment communities and professional networks
- Accomplishing HR finance strategies, communicating and implementing policies
- Ensuring productivity, identifying and resolving problems
Career progression: Typically, people begin their careers as a treasurer for an organisation, and graduate to other positions such as controller. Appropriate qualifications – such as a Global MBA, ACCA, CIMA – in addition to appropriate experience, are required to achieve this position.
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