Accountancy & Finance

How to become an Accountant

Accountants perform a range of services to clients, including managing financial records, filing tax returns and generally providing financial advice. Becoming an accountant is a rewarding and often very lucrative career that requires dedication, hard work, attention to detail and excellent maths skills. Here we’ll answer all your questions, such as; what is an accountant, how much do accountants make and how long does it take to become an accountant? We’ll also look at the accountant career path, what qualifications do you need to be an accountant and the different options available to those interested in how to become an accountant, including the AAT, CIMA and ACCA courses offered by StaySharp.


Take the first step towards your career in accountancy with StaySharp

StaySharp offers learners the opportunity to train as an accountant with three of the industry’s most respected authorities, ACCA, AAT and CIMA. While there are differences between the three, each course offers leaners the chance to build and develop all the skills an accountant needs to succeed. The first step towards a career in accountancy is to simply decide which course is right for you.

What is an accountant?

An accountant specialises in managing financial records, processes, and transactions. Accountants have many responsibilities that require a detailed knowledge of finance and accounting principles. They must be able to analyse data, review financial statements for accuracy and create reports that accurately represent the financial operations of an organisation. Accountants are also required to maintain accurate records of all transactions made by clients in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, they may be called upon to develop strategies for investing funds or reducing costs associated with running an organisation.

The path that you take towards becoming an accountant will differ depending on the type of accountancy you wish to practise. Different types of accountants include chartered accountant, managerial accountant, auditor, tax accountant and forensic accountant – of course, for the most part, the skill set required is similar between each of these roles.

How much do accountants make?

The salary you can expect to earn in your accountancy career varies depending on your qualifications, the type of accountancy you practise and your specific job role. The average accountant salary in the UK is around £38,000. Those just starting out in an entry level accountant role, such as an accounting assistant or junior accountant can expect to earn between £24,000 and £29,000 a year. At the other end of the scale, some senior accountants or those working in government accounting positions could be earning well in excess of £70,000 per annum.

What qualifications do you need to be an accountant?

There are many different pathways into an accountancy career, from traditional higher education to the courses offered here at StaySharp. So, what A Levels do you need to be an accountant and how can you find your way into accounting with alternative qualifications?

What A Levels do you need to be an accountant?

Those seeking to get into accounting through traditional education alone tend to start their pathway into accountancy by studying a relevant A-Level subject, such as mathematics, economics or business studies. Following this, most go on to obtain a degree in finance & accounting, or another similar subject. This degree can then be used to access entry level job roles in the accounting world, such as a junior or trainee accountant.

How to become an accountant with AAT, ACCA or CIMA?

To further your career and earning potential, you can train as an accountant by gaining AAT, ACCA or CIMA accreditation. These highly respected qualifications consist of several units that have each been specially designed to equip learners will all the expertise and skills an accountant needs to begin and thrive in the accountant career path.

All of these courses are available to study with StaySharp. Studying with us allows you to gain a highly respected accounting qualification on your own time and from wherever you might be, with 100% of your required course materials made available through our online learning portal.

How long does it take to become an accountant?

The time it takes each individual to train as an accountant varies depending on the type of training they have chosen - on average, it takes between three and seven years to become a chartered accountant, though this varies between different types of accountants.

We have provided average the completion times for all of the courses that we offer, available on their individual course pages. However, as our courses are designed to be studied at the learner’s own pace, your own completion time will depend on how much time you are able to dedicate to your online studies with StaySharp.

Is accounting a good career?

There are plenty of benefits to choosing a career in accountancy, including:

  • High earning potential – accountants in high-level roles may earn more than £70k p/a
  • Wide range of job opportunities in various industries
  • Job security – the majority of large organisations require an accountant
  • Plenty of room to progress in your career
  • Universally applicable skills – ideal for those with ambitions to live and work abroad
  • Training is available to learners of all levels with StaySharp

For more information on the flexible courses offered by StaySharp, visit our Tax and Accountancy Courses page.


What our students say

Ellen Sheehan
CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice

Find out how StaySharp helped Ellen convert from a background in Law to solidify her knowledge in HR with our CIPD Level 3 course.

Henry Wright
CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice

The flexibility of StaySharp allows Henry to balance his study with work and personal commitments. The enhanced skills he has gained have opened doors to furthering his career

Katy Baetjer
CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice

The flexibility of StaySharp has allowed Katy to broaden her skills around her current role whilst working as a line manger in the NHS.

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CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management

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