Accounting is a vital part of any successful business operation, so it’s no surprise that those with the right skills and qualifications are in high demand. Accounting professionals are highly sought after, and a career in accountancy can open up many exciting opportunities. Explore some of the many exciting accounting careers and the differences between them here.
Accounting Career Paths
Find out about accountant career path, earning potential and how to become an accountant here.How to become an Accountant
Find out about the chartered accountant career path, average salary of chartered accountant and how to become a chartered accountant here.How to become a Chartered Accountant
Find out about the bookkeeping career path, average salary of a bookkeeper and how to become a bookkeeper here.How to become a Bookkeeper
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Is accounting a good career?
There are many benefits to pursuing a career in accountancy, including:
- High demand: Accounting is a field that is always in high demand, as businesses of all types and sizes need to keep accurate financial records and comply with tax laws.
- Competitive salaries: Accountants typically earn above-average salaries and those with specialised skills, qualifications or experience can earn even more.
- Opportunities for career growth: There are many different types of accounting careers out there, from Bookkeeper to Accountant to Chartered Accountant, so there’s bound to be an accounting job for you.
- Job Stability: As long as there are businesses, there will be a need for accountants – accounting is a profession that offers good job security and stability.
- Transferable skills: The skills learned in accounting, such as data analysis, problem-solving, and attention to detail, are transferable to other fields and can be valuable in a wide range of industries.
- Flexibility: Accountants and bookkeepers can work in various industries, including public accounting firms, government agencies, non-profits and corporations. They can also choose to work as independent consultants or self-employed accountants and bookkeepers.
- Accessible training opportunities: Those pursuing accounting careers can train for a career in accountancy with StaySharp’s AAT, CIMA and ACCA courses. These prestigious qualifications have been specially designed to allow learners the chance to study at their own pace, from wherever they like.
So, is accounting a good career? We certainly think so. Below we’ll explore some of the most in-demand accounting careers and how you can take your first step towards them with StaySharp.
An accountant is a professional who is responsible for keeping and interpreting financial records, ensuring that they are accurate and comply with relevant laws and regulations. They typically work with individuals or organisations to manage their finances, including preparing financial statements, providing tax advice, and helping to develop budgets and financial plans.
Accountants may work in various industries, including public accounting firms, government bodies, non-profits and corporations. They may also specialise in areas such as auditing, taxation or management accounting. Their work is essential to the financial health and success of businesses and individuals alike, making accountants one of the most heavily pursued accounting careers amongst those looking for a career in accountancy.
The average accountant salary in the UK varies depending on factors such as the accountant's level of experience, qualifications, and location. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, as of April 2021, the median annual salary for accountants and auditors in the UK is £36,692. However, this can range from around £22,000 for entry-level positions to well over £70,000 for senior-level roles in larger organisations or in London.
Those seeking careers in accounting should be skilled in a range of relevant areas, including:
- Strong numeracy skills and attention to detail, as accountants work with numbers and financial records on a daily basis.
- Analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities, as accountants need to be able to identify errors and inconsistencies in financial records and develop solutions to address them.
- Good communication skills, both written and verbal, as accountants need to be able to explain financial information to clients, colleagues and other stakeholders in a clear and understandable way.
- Familiarity with relevant accounting software and technology, as most accounting work is now done using computer systems.
- Knowledge of accounting and financial regulations and standards, including tax laws, financial reporting requirements, and auditing standards.
- Time management and organisational skills, as accountants often have to manage multiple tasks and deadlines simultaneously.
- Attention to ethics and professionalism, as accountants are responsible for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of financial information and may be subject to professional codes of conduct or regulatory oversight.
These are all skills that learners will develop during their accountancy training. Those looking to pursue a career as an accountant should begin working towards their career in accountancy by studying for AAT Accreditation with StaySharp.
One of the most respected careers in accounting, a chartered accountant is a professional accountant who has obtained a specific qualification from a professional accounting body, such as ACCA or CIMA. The chartered accountant certification signifies that the individual has completed a rigorous program of study and training, including both academic coursework and practical experience and has demonstrated a high level of competence in accounting and related areas such as taxation and auditing.
Due to the extra qualifications and skills acquired by chartered accountants, they are generally able to seek higher salaries than those in other accounting careers. As of February 2023, the average salary for a CIMA chartered accountant in the UK is £44,000 per year, while the average salary for an ACCA chartered accountant is £41,000 per year. However, this can vary significantly based on the factors mentioned above, with some chartered accountants earning over £100,000 per year in senior-level positions or in high-paying industries such as finance or consulting. Additionally, bonuses, benefits and other forms of compensation may also be available depending on the employer.
Those seeking a career as a chartered accountant will need to possess a range of relevant accounting careers skills, including:
- Strong numeracy and analytical skills, as chartered accountants work with financial information and need to be able to analyse and interpret data.
- Attention to detail, as even small errors in financial records can have significant consequences.
- Good communication skills, both written and verbal, as chartered accountants often work in teams and need to be able to explain financial information to colleagues and clients.
- Familiarity with relevant accounting software and technology, as most accounting work is now done using computer systems.
- Time management and organisational skills, as chartered accountants often have to manage multiple tasks and deadlines simultaneously.
- A strong ethical compass and commitment to professionalism, as chartered accountants are responsible for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of financial information and may be subject to professional codes of conduct or regulatory oversight.
- Business acumen and strategic thinking, as chartered accountants may also be called upon to provide strategic financial advice and help clients or employers make important business decisions.
These are all skills that can be acquired through an approved chartered accountant qualification, such as the CIMA and ACCA qualifications offered by StaySharp. If you are seeking a career in accountancy as a chartered accountant, you should begin your journey by viewing our CIMA and ACCA courses.
A bookkeeper is a professional responsible for maintaining accurate financial records for a business or individual. They record and categorise financial transactions - purchases, sales, payments, receipts and such - into a ledger or accounting software. Bookkeepers also ensure that financial statements, such as balance sheets and income statements, are up-to-date and accurate. They may also handle tasks such as invoicing, payroll, and tax preparation. Bookkeeping is a crucial function for any business, as it provides the information needed for financial decision-making and helps ensure compliance with financial regulations. Bookkeeping is a popular entry-level point for those pursuing accounting careers.
According to data from the UK government's Office for National Statistics, the average salary for a Bookkeeper in the UK is around £25,000 to £28,000 per year. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, industry, and level of experience. Bookkeepers who work for larger companies or in more specialised industries may also earn higher salaries.
Bookkeepers who hold professional certifications from leading authorities such as AAT, may be able to command higher salaries.
Those seeking a career as a bookkeeper should have certain relevant accounting careers skills, such as:
- Attention to detail: bookkeepers need to be meticulous and accurate in their work, as even small errors can have significant financial consequences.
- Organizational skills: bookkeepers must be able to keep track of multiple financial transactions and documents and maintain an organised filing system.
- Math skills: bookkeepers should have a solid understanding of basic math concepts, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
- Knowledge of accounting software: Many bookkeepers use accounting software to record and categorise financial transactions, so knowledge of popular programs such as QuickBooks is often essential.
- Communication skills: bookkeepers may need to communicate financial information to colleagues, clients, or government agencies, so strong written and verbal communication skills are important.
- Analytical skills: bookkeepers may need to analyse financial data to identify trends, discrepancies, or opportunities for improvement.
- Ethics and integrity: bookkeepers handle sensitive financial information, so they must be trustworthy and adhere to ethical principles such as confidentiality and accuracy.
If you are looking into careers in accounting and would like to pursue bookkeeping, you should begin by studying the AAT bookkeeping pathway, starting with the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping.
What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
One of the most common questions from those beginning to explore the idea of a career in accountancy is ‘what is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?’ while there is some overlap in the duties of an accountant vs bookkeeper, accountants and bookkeepers are different accounting careers and have different roles in the financial management of a business.
Bookkeepers are responsible for recording and organising financial transactions, maintaining accurate records and generating reports. They typically handle day-to-day financial tasks such as recording invoices, paying bills, and reconciling bank statements.
Accountants, on the other hand, use the financial data recorded by bookkeepers to prepare financial statements, analyse trends and provide strategic financial advice. They may also handle tasks such as auditing, tax planning and budgeting.
In summary, bookkeepers are primarily focused on recording and organising financial data, while accountants provide analysis and strategic advice based on that data. While accountants and bookkeepers are different roles, many professionals go from working as a bookkeeper to accountant during their careers, due to higher salaries and increased progression opportunities.
Those looking to follow the AAT pathway should look carefully at the differences between the AAT courses for accountant vs bookkeeper training before selecting their course.
What is the difference between chartered accountant and accountant?
It’s a common misunderstanding that a chartered accountant and accountant are one and the same – so what is the difference between chartered accountant and accountant?
Accountants are professionals within the accounting careers space who may have completed a degree in accounting or received AAT accreditation but do not hold the same level of certification as chartered accountants.
Meanwhile, chartered accountants have completed a rigorous training and certification process with an authority such as ACCA or CIMA. While both accountants and chartered accountants may perform similar tasks, such as tax preparation and financial analysis, the chartered accountant certification is generally considered to be the most prestigious and respected in the industry.
Accountancy course comparison
Which accountancy course is right for me?