How to become an accountant

What is an accountant?

Accounting is interpreting and evaluating financial information. An accountant reports on this data to help businesses and people better understand their finances and make more informed strategic decisions.

Accountants basically manage money. They deal with areas such as financial reporting, budgeting, pay, purchasing, procurement and tax. In some companies, they may also audit financial figures.

What does an accountant do?

Depending on your level of expertise, the duties of an accountant might involve:

  • Preparing forecasts and budgets and preparing solutions for any setbacks
  • Planning investments
  • Filing tax returns and month-end accounts
  • Conducting audits
  • Staying up to date with financial laws, regulations and their impact

There are several different areas of accounting you can go in to:

  • Management accounting involves forecasting and cost reporting based on a budget – this is a forward looking function
  • Financial accounting involves creating statements for shareholders based on historical information
  • Tax accountants advise businesses and self-employed individuals how to complete their tax forms

How to become an accountant

You don’t need a degree to do accountancy and with the right qualifications and commitment, anyone can become an accountant.

There are a range of different qualifications you can take to become an accountant. The AAT qualification is the minimal level of qualification required for most kinds of accountancy.

You can then choose to take higher level qualifications like the ACCA or CIMA, which will allow you to become a chartered accountant.

Required skills and qualities

Accountants are an important part of any business and essentially they manage money, so you must be good at numbers to do your job effectively.

  • Attention to detail – accountants cannot afford to simply gloss over the facts. Errors too can have a major impact both in the short and long term.
  • A keen interest in the mechanics of the business.
  • Communication skills – as you need to explain potentially complex information to your clients on a regular basis.
  • Organisation – the biggest part of this role is maintaining accurate record keeping, and so you will have to make sure everything is in order, tasks are prioritised and you are on top of all your work.
  • Technology skills are beneficial.

Accountant salary

Accountants have a good earning potential and it’s all dependant on the route you choose to go down and factors such as the company you work for, your practice and location.

On average AAT accountants can start at a salary of £22,000 rising up to £30,000 with experience.

One of the many benefits of enroling as a student with us is that we will help you even after your studies are finished. We work with a recruitment specialist who can help you secure a position in your dream career. Contact us to find out more.