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Help Us Define Industry Standards and Find Out if You Are Being Paid Fairly in 2024 - Take Part in the GAAPweb Salary Survey:
GAAPweb; one of the UK’s leading specialist sites for Accountancy & Finance jobs, is turning to its valued audience and followers to contribute to their 2024 Salary Survey.
Following a year of uncertainty and continued resilience to innumerable economic challenges, GAAPweb strives to investigate and understand the 2024 financial employment market. Building on findings from previous GAAPweb audience insight surveys, it strives to determine the current trends, challenges and changes facing the financial recruitment landscape.
GAAPweb asks for your confidential feedback from across the accountancy and finance profession including Accountants, Finance Managers, CFOs, and other finance professionals, at all levels of experience, across all sectors.
The 2024 Salary Survey will provide you with the unique opportunity to find out if you're being paid fairly in your current role and help us define industry standards by showing employers and recruiters what sort of environment you want to work in.
Participate in the GAAPweb 2024 Salary Survey here
Whether you're currently working in a part qualified accountancy job or as a fully qualified accountant, one of the first questions you will need to ask yourself when looking for a new accountancy job is, “do I want to work in practice or industry?”. In order to make an educated decision that best suits your career aspirations, it’s important to understand the differences between industry and public practice.
What is public practice accounting?
Practice accountants are employed by a firm or public practice to deal with the finances of external companies and individuals. Practice accountants review the accounting practices of an individual or corporation to verify their compliance with reporting standards and the law.
Working in practice allows you to handle the finances of a variety of clients, from individuals and local businesses, if you work for an independent firm, or global corporations and organisations if you are a part of a larger accountancy group.
What is industry accounting?
Industry accountants deal with the internal finances of their employing company. As an Industry Accountant, you will carry out reporting and analysis in order to evaluate performance, formulate projections and create budgets for their company.
An accountant employed by a large global manufacturing business, for example, will collect and assess current and past financial data from their organisation and use their analysis to forecast costs, profits and budgets for the future.
While industry accountants have limited opportunity to work with a range of clients, they are involved with the business on a deeper level. Regardless of job title, a substantial part of their role will involve liaising with departments across the business to gain information and provide financial advice, alongside meeting with members of senior management to deliver forecasts and suggest new or improved financial processes.
To succeed in industry, you must possess the ability to convey complex financial concepts and data in terms that non-finance colleagues can understand. Additionally, those in industry need a strong commercial mindset and a genuine interest for the sector in which they work.
Career Progression: Practice and Industry Perspectives
Commencing your career: The traditional route sees junior finance professionals beginning their journey in practice – attracted by funded qualification options, leave for exam preparation and a strong team morale. Alongside conducting formal studies, those in junior accountant jobs learn what it takes to support and communicate with clients, suggest snap but educated business decisions and perform under pressure. Every organisation needs a numbers expert, so you’ll be laying the foundations of future employment - especially if you’re a Top Ten trainee.
When starting out, there’s a level of expectancy that you will deliver on your firm’s investment. Most build claw back clauses into their study contracts and some even pull the plug on funding if you fail your exams. To offset education costs, your pay is likely to lag behind your counterparts in commerce. GAAPweb’s most recent Audience Insight Report reveals the average salary within accountancy practice as £52,548, compared to £60,484 in the public sector and upwards of £88,649 in areas such as technology, £92,206 in pharmaceutical, and £76,678 consultancy and business services.
Junior-level professionals within industry also enjoy comparatively quicker career paths. But early promotion comes at a price. Without a firm’s backing, the route to qualification is longer, can be less structured and fuelled by your own hard graft.
Mid-career: As a qualified accountant in practice, you’ll oversee the financial needs of a portfolio of clients (as well as sharpening your prioritisation and diplomacy skills), coach junior staff and, depending on your area of expertise, manage special projects within audit, tax, financial risk and more. It’s demanding, diverse work and many love the blue-streak buzz of servicing customers across a sweeping range of sectors.
Alas, this is also the jumping-off point for many finance professionals looking to make a more hands-on commercial contribution. The opportunity to drive strategy, cherry-pick your sector (Property? Healthcare? Retail?) and satisfy a slumbering entrepreneurial spirit can make the grass surrounding qualified roles in industry look invitingly greener.
Senior level: Is it wise to quit your comfort zone at the peak of your career? According to GAAPweb’s research, those in Finance Director jobs and CFO roles are more likely than other industry professionals to remain in the role for over 10 years. But there are always drivers to discover new challenges, even at the top.
For example, as a senior manager or director in practice, the buck often stops with business development. You’re expected to expand services and generate income for your firm or partners through networking, prospect meetings, tendering and – ultimately - winning new customers. Though you’ll have a team of part-qualified and qualified professionals to support you - and possibly the lucrative lure of partnership to keep you motivated - the pressure of high-ticket sales can switch off even seasoned practice accountants, making the move to an influential in-house position an attractive next step.
Making Your Decision
Ultimately, the decision between practice and industry hinges on your career aims, interests, and personal goals. Keep in mind that this choice is not irreversible; you can transition between the two sectors based on evolving preferences and career objectives.
The financial recruitment landscape has been shaped by a challenging combination of health, economic and geopolitical volatility, with job seekers living through a malleable job market, transcending from a candidate-driven, to an employer-led market. With accelerating transformations continuing to shape the demand for jobs and skills of tomorrow, it’s certainly a challenging time for graduates to enter the profession. So, what benefits does 2024 present for those looking to commence a career in the finance world?
The demand for skills:
As noted within The World Economic Forum, when their ‘Future of Jobs Report’ was first published in 2016, surveyed companies predicted that 35% of workers’ skills would be disrupted in the following five years.
In 2023, that share rose to 44%. The adoption of frontier technologies (leading transformation in 86% of companies) has driven the evolution of workplace skills across the full spectrum of skills, knowledge, and abilities, as workers adapt to automation and AI. With analytical thinking considered to be the core skill for candidates in 2024, and the demand for adaptability to generative AI playing a key part in the development of entry-level roles, employers are seeking graduates with open-minded attitudes, and the technical ability to work with new technologies.
With a natural analytical know-how, finance and accounting graduates can rest in the knowledge that the skills gained from their degree will aid not only their ability to conduct entry-level finance jobs, yet also see them through the technological changes of the years to come.
The demand for jobs:
As financial markets evolve and technological and digitalisation tools advance, the demand for finance graduates ameliorates with the trend. As noted in the latest High Fliers report, 2023 saw graduate recruitment considerably increase. In a notable achievement, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting & professional services firms hired more than 2,300 new graduates – the most ever recruited by a single employer in the UK.
The latest recruitment targets for the country’s leading employers demonstrated that the number of graduate jobs available last year was expected to increase by a further 6.3%. As affirmed in the GAAPweb 2023 salary survey, 2023 saw a rise in graduate roles, with 60% of our audience receiving a pay rise - a 66% uplift from 2021. A myriad of entry-level roles saw a pay rise and bonus supplement, with just shy of half of Assistant Accountants receiving a salary increase, alongside Finance Assistants and Finance Analysts.
The demand of industry:
Keeping an eye on industry trends helps to establish yourself as a leading graduate in your field. Last year, the Pharmaceutical industry surpassed Fintech for first position in regards to salary earning potential, with candidates earning an average salary of £92,206 per annum.
Retaining its authority as a distinguished sector, Fintech closely followed with an average salary of £91,905, with Technology (averaging £88,649) and IT/Telecommunications - experiencing the greatest upswing in pay of 2023, with an impressive 27% uplift on 2022 figures - the median salary now stands at £80,727.
Ready to join the profession? Apply for your first entry-level role on GAAPweb today.
It takes an employer or recruiter an average of six to eight seconds to decide whether your CV for a new finance or accountancy job should be added to the shortlist.
With such a narrow window of opportunity, your CV needs to deliver instant impact. Every element – from layout to language to length – must be clear, concise and convincing enough to keep the recruiters eyes on the page.
GAAPweb have provided their five top finance CV fundamentals to break the six-second barrier:
1. Create a finance CV template
2. Identify your keywords
3. Keep your CV short and structured
4. Always proofread
5. Sell your authentic self
1. Create a finance CV template
When curating a finance CV, it’s essential to start broad, then narrow it down in a bespoke manner. Tailoring your details to each opportunity is a given. Having a catch-all CV template provides a time-saving shortcut, and allows you to add your tailored elements, without having to make a CV from scratch.
Highlight all your expertise, experience, and achievements in one comprehensive base document, then personalise your content for specific positions. Use the job description as your starting point, ensuring each version of your CV aligns with the hard and soft skills, industry credentials, and cultural fit the role requires.
Tech has revolutionised how firms recruit for finance and accountancy roles. Many employers now use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to automate initial candidate selection. This means a piece of software will have first sight of your CV, seeking keywords that mirror the company’s job description.
Including these keywords boosts your chances of being seen by a hiring manager. So with every job, pinpoint the ad’s non-negotiables – such as people management, ACCA qualification, or advanced Excel skills – and tick them off as you refine your resumé. Find out more about how to optimise your CV for an applicant tracking system on TotallyLegal.
3. Keep your CV short and structured
An Accountant CV should be no more than two pages. Keep sentences brief and action-focused, avoiding jargon and business talk.
Your layout should feature:
● Personal details – Include your full name, phone number, home address, email address, and LinkedIn profile.
● Personal statement – Recruiters scan this section first, so start with a 3-5 powerful lines of experience, qualifications, career goals, and key qualities.
● Professional experience – List your career history in reverse chronological order, including employer names, positions held, and time spent in each job. Cover your roles, responsibilities, and, above all, results. Highlight accomplishments demonstrating your leadership, management, and financial acumen at work, bringing wins to life with quantifiable metrics – from saving £7,000 in external audit fees to improving operational efficiency by 22%.
● Skills summary – Provide employers a quick snapshot of your hard and soft skills, spanning core financial capabilities – like analysis, budgeting, forecasting, risk management, and reporting – as well as technical and interpersonal strengths.
● Professional qualifications and education – Outline your professional accreditations and educational achievements, including full details of your accounting and finance qualifications, undergraduate degree, and post-graduate studies. Secondary school results can be condensed, but be sure to mention any other professional certifications or training.
4. Always proofread
Attention to detail is a vital skill in finance and accountancy, so even minor grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors could remove you from the running. Proofread your CV multiple times and ask others to spot mistakes you may have missed. AI tools like Grammarly are superb for finding typos and suggesting improvements, and Word’s ‘Read Aloud’ function lets you listen out for possible edits.
5. Sell your authentic self
While it’s essential to promote yourself and your skillset on your CV, be careful not to exaggerate your experience. Highlight the credentials that make you stand out in a crowded hiring market, ensuring you can back up your claims when it’s time to excel at an interview.
First seen on GAAPweb - the UK’s leading job site for finance and accounting professionals.
‘Is AI coming for my job?’ - We've all heard the rumours that it’s the highly skilled jobs such as finance, and law that are the most exposed and vulnerable to AI-driven automation. The ‘Generative AI’ buzzword continues to infiltrate the conversation of job stability on both employer, and employee level, with certain automation tools like Chat GPT entering businesses from the top down. With companies rethinking the way they operate, a recent Goldman Sachs report announcing that AI could replace the equivalent of300 million full-time jobs, and workplace habits being steadily influenced by new AI technology, where do we stand in the finance and accountancy world?
How is AI viewed in the workplace?
TheOECD Employment Outlook report, focusing on ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Labour Market’, denotes that the development of AI, with its outstandingly quick chat bots, leaves ‘occupations in finance…and legal activities which often require many years of education, and whose core functions rely on accumulated experience to reach decisions…suddenly at risk of automation from AI’.
Unlike prior technological innovations, AI can automate non-routine tasks. Yet, as Generative AI continues to develop in finesse and ability, with information ordering, memorisation, perceptual speed, and deductive reasoning progressing at a brisk pace, finance professionals are left with the concern that AI will also impact the tasks that rely on their cognitive and bespoke ability.
According toHays, 36% of employers in the banking and financial services industry expect the sector to be impacted by AI, with 58% stating that we should embrace it within the workplace. The pitched benefits come down to cost savings, process efficiencies, reduced standardised work, consistency, and improved productivity. Impacting automation, intelligence, and creation, the finance world is left with a changing nature of work from the perk of increased efficiency and job creation, to the looming reality of potential redundancy.
As we stand, four out of five organisations aren’t using AI tools according to Hays, yet the majority expect to do so in the forthcoming years. The adoption is relatively slow, with many firms preferring to rely on voluntary workforce adjustments. As stated within the OECD report, large companies and firms are more likely to adapt to AI in the first-instance. This is supported by research conducted by theWorld Economic Forum, revealing that 56% of banks have implemented AI into their business domains, from management to revenue generation, leaving us to assess the new wave of AI, with its juxtaposed opportunities and challenges.
Is my profession under threat?
As a reminder, AI refers to the development of computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. Automation, language processing, and machine learning are rendering certain tasks more efficient than those completed by the human hand. Whilst it may seem intimidating, it’s welcome to note that AI is designed to augment our working capabilities, and not replace them in their entirety. Understanding the ways AI will impact your profession, will help you adapt and carve a niche in the emerging AI landscape.
As Roddy Adair, Director at Hays, comments: “rather than being treated as a threat to job security, AI could be seen as an exciting opportunity to add greater value to organisations. For instance, the automation of certain tasks could allow professionals to spend more time on high value tasks and invest in improving their skill sets to future proof their careers”.
Vulnerability doesn't equate to immediate obsolescence; instead, it results in the chance for upskilling and professional development. For finance professionals, AI could increase automation, support intelligent analysis and decision-making, and in-turn result in the creation of new business models and sectors.
How can you futureproof your profession?
When choosing to adopt new technologies, change is inevitable, however as an employee it’s easy to feel ill-equipped in terms of your skillset and confidence in approaching AI tools. A certified way of futureproofing your employability, is to embrace change, communicate, and upskill yourself.
An open mindset when navigating the changing financial landscape will help in your adoption of new structures and processes. Asking the questions you need to understand the changes taking place, and reframing your thinking around the challenges of AI will help in the adjustment of new technologies.
Communicate with your employer:
If you harbour concerns about the potential effects of AI on your job role, engaging in a conversation with your manager may help provide some clarity. It’s also an opportunity to discuss how you believe AI can be of benefit to your role, demonstrating a proactive approach.
Upgrade your skill set:
Currently, 89% of those in Banking and Financial services feel inept of the skills required to use AI. Upgrading your calibre of skills will stand you in good stead for future employability, and help you in the long run, to adjust to the world of AI. Whether it’s by utilising company-approved AI tools across your workload, raising awareness and supporting AI, developing a culture that is open to change, conducting AI training programmes, or trialling different AI models in your spare time.
Identify your transferable skills:
In the face of technological disruptions, it’s good to remind yourself of the multitude of transferable and soft skills you have in your skill set. These are the skills that make you adaptable to change, and whilst technical expertise brings value, it’s the soft skills that make us indispensable within a team. Problem-solving, exceptional communication, the ability to adopt change, and an aptitude for learning new skills and adaptability, are all skills found within financial professions. They are also the skills that enable you to navigate challenges, collaborate effectively, and be open to learning new techniques.
Over time, the demand for finance professionals with acute skills in AI technologies, both on a technical and application level, will come to the forefront. There will also be increased demand for individuals with creative talent, complex problem-solving skills, communication, logic and creation.
Having confidence in your ability to conduct an ever-changing role is the foundation to overcoming AI anxiety. AI-driven tools will enable finance professionals to navigate the transition to the world of AI seamlessly. By embracing a new mindset, having a curiosity to learn, and accepting the new technologies coming our way, those working within the finance landscape, should feel safeguarded within their role.
Advocating for gender pay in the workplace is a challenge across the finance and accountancy sector. As the UK’s leading specialist accountancy and finance job site, GAAPweb remains committed to closing the gender pay gap and promoting gender equality across the finance profession.
Women In Finance Charter - Representation:
To champion efforts to promote gender diversity, GAAPweb have been a signatory of the Women in Finance Charter through their annual Women in Finance pledge since 2016, when the Charter was launched. The Charter aims to empower productivity and harness the talents of women in financial services by tracking and promoting the representation of women in senior roles in financial services. In addition, we have conducted a detailed exploration into diversity within the sector through our annualSalary Survey.
As noted in theHM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, “global economic and geopolitical turmoil present a complex and challenging backdrop for the financial services industry. Multiple levers will need to be pulled to prevent diversity and inclusion (D&I) sliding back to being considered a non-essential activity – organisations must clearly communicate how diversity and inclusion connects to strategy, leaders must lead inclusively to mainstream DEI, managers must demonstrate allyship and advocacy – and to bring the importance of DEI to life and maintain focus and rigour at the micro level.” Businesses must be as committed to D&I initiatives as they are to other areas of business, taking on the hard work to deliver all-important change.
After a plateau of progress in 2021, where female representation in senior roles remained flat at 33% for the first time since the charter began, signatories have now recovered lost ground, reaching an average of 35% in 2022. The 2% progress is the largest percentage increase in the history of the charter, presenting great strides in the move towards parity for women in senior roles. TheGAAPweb 2023 salary surveyresonates with this achievement. Whilst the challenge to achieve gender parity in senior positions continues, 2023 brings us subtle breakthroughs, with 42% of Finance Business Partner roles and 52% of Finance Managers now held by women. On the other hand, male workers still monopolised CFO roles, with an 82% majority, and 67% of Finance Directors roles were conducted by men.
As highlighted within our salary survey, the average salary for male respondents stands at 22% higher than female respondents, with the average salary for female accountancy and finance professionals standing at £58,234. Since our survey analysis began in 2018, the pay gap has narrowed by 4%. If this rate of change continues, salary parity between genders won’t be achieved until 2051.
The Top and Bottom - Leading Sectors and Groups:
As noted by Women in Finance, there’s a widening chasm between top banking sectors, such as building societies and UK banks, vs the bottom (global/investment banks and asset managers). With the gap increasing from 18% to 22% in regards to representation, this issue remains a focal point at the forefront of discussion. For the first time, the top quarter of firms (52) signed up to the Charter that conduct regulated financial activities have achieved a minimum of 40% female representation in senior management. However, the disparity between the top and bottom quartiles has been widening - a division evidently aligned with specific sectors. Building societies and UK banks stand at the forefront, while global investment banks and asset managers occupy the lower end of the spectrum.
For our GAAPweb audience, there’s an apparent divide in representation in the types of companies they work for. Male employees dominate the Big 4 Accountancy Firm sector, holding a 71% majority, with Large accountancy firms following suit with 68% of jobs conducted by men. The lead for women in senior positions, seems to be limited to SMEs. Female employees see parity in Head of Finance and Finance Director roles in SMEs, with an even 50% split. Yet, a mere 2% of women are represented in Finance Director roles in the Big 4 Accountancy Firm group, and 7% of women hold the title of CFO in a FTSE 500 company.
The issue infiltrates each sector, company type, and industry. Female-led industries, such as Fintech (52% women, £28,455 less), Construction (69% women, £17,000 less), and Consultancy & Business Services (66% women, £15,400 less), present progress in representation, yet retain discrepancies in pay.
Driving Change in Recruitment:
To drive change, Women in Finance has placed a greater emphasis on recruitment practices. Taking an active role in gender diverse recruitment will allow firms to adhere to the Charter’s principles of setting targets, establishing accountability frameworks, and accessing progress to drive momentum across their initiatives. 75% of firms are channelling efforts into a diverse recruitment drive, focusing on a range of practices:
Diverse Interview Panels:
One in six signatories have stated that they are addressing the diversity of their interview panelists, ensuring that under-represented groups are involved throughout the interview process.
Specific training for recruiting managers and resourcing teams is to be prioritised by one in eight firms. Equipping those within the recruitment process with the skills and incentives they need to deliver equal opportunities will be a mandatory practice.
An accountability framework allows firms to evaluate the measures they need to take to close the gender pay gap. Having vetted members sit on interview panels helps to ensure that diversity and objectivity holds a prominent place in the decision-making process.
The Strategic Approach:
With one in seven signatories noting that they reviewed or are reviewing their approach to recruitment, it is reassuring to see that firms are taking an active role in monitoring the changes implemented to aid gender diversity.
External Recruitment Partners:
The use of external recruitment partners and job sites have been pushed by one in six signatories, to source diverse candidates and aid the overall target to level the gender pay gap. This practice combines well with a market mapping policy, to proactively identify and source female talent.
Building the pipeline of female talent within each individual organisation is an essential measure to working towards the closure of the gender pay gap. Evolving practice has become more granular with organisations focusing on tracking the impact of their programmes implemented to aid gender diversity.
More than a quarter of signatories discussed the programmes they have introduced to develop female talent, ranging from focusing on building networks to enhancing the understanding of an organization's culture and politics. Alongside this, 1 in 12 signatories have introduced programmes to encourage women back after a career break.
Hybrid working has come to the forefront this year, with signatories demonstrating a significant shift in the ways in which they use data to monitor the actions undertaken to pursue targets and to understand their impact, particularly hybrid working. According to the charter, “post-pandemic, 91% of signatories are exploring some form of hybrid working, and more of them are on the lookout for potential negative impacts on women.”
68% of our salary survey respondents adopted a hybrid structure in 2023, compared to 21% last year. The question thus remains whether the positive benefits of hybrid working, such as a newfound ‘structured freedom’ for women, outweigh the negative ramifications.
GAAPweb; the UK’s leading specialist site forAccountancy & Finance jobs, turned to you, our valued audience and partners, to contribute to our 2023 salary survey.
Following a year of uncertainty and continued resilience to innumerable economic challenges, GAAPweb strove to investigate and understand the 2023 financial employment market.
Building on findings from previousGAAPweb audience insight surveyswe’ve determined the current trends, challenges and changes facing the financial recruitment landscape.
GAAPweb has received confidential feedback from across the accountancy and finance profession including Accountants, Finance Managers, CFOs, and other finance professionals, at all levels of experience, across all sectors.
OurAudience Insight Reportwill provide you with the unique opportunity to benchmark your salary, allowing you to see if your compensation is in line with colleagues and the wider industry average.
Accountancy is an attractive profession for those seeking a lucrative career. For new starters, there are several different pathways into the profession and qualifications to pursue to solidify your employability and professional credibility.
Within this article, GAAPweb, the UK’s leading job site for Accountancy and Finance professionals, cover what it takes to become an accountant, and the steps you’ll need to follow to secure your objective.
The Basics: What is an Accountant?
In short, Accountants analyse, interpret, and report financial information on behalf of individuals or companies. Employed to provide financial advice, Accountants improve the ways parties manage their finances and, ultimately, increase their profitability. Day-to-day activities will vary depending on the type of specialism; however, the type of work will lend itself to regularly dealing with financial reporting, tax advice, auditing, forecasting, and budgeting.
While “Accountant” is not a protected title, “Chartered Accountant” is. To become a Chartered Accountant, you must pass a series of exams before completing years of work experience.
Types of Accountants:
Five areas of accountancy, differing in purpose and responsibility:
• Practice Accountants: supporting businesses by helping to manage their finances on a daily basis. Employed by accountancy firms/working with numerous clients.
• Tax Accountants: aiding businesses to fulfil their tax responsibilities. They ensure that businesses meet their tax requirements each year, whilst offering advice on how to reduce legal tax exposure.
• Management Accountants: offering real utility to businesses by managing budgets and taking steps to make a business more profitable. Many management accountant jobs require individuals to look to the future, with both forecasting and strategic planning regular duties.
• Financial Accountants: overviewing a company’s financial transactions, including income, expenses, and liabilities. Seeking to understand how money is processed through the company, Financial Accountants prepare financial statements, offering financial advice to management.
• Forensic Accountants: analysing complicated financial matters through a mixture of accounting knowledge and investigative analysis. Forensic accountants aid the investigation of fraud or embezzlement.
Skills Required for Accountants:
Accountant jobs vary greatly from one specialism to the next. Nonetheless, there is a significant crossover in the realm of professional skills required. To pursue a career in accountancy, you will require:
• Numeracy Skills: it goes without saying that you will require a strong numerical skillset. You don’t have to be a mathematical wizard, just own a level of comfort when working with numbers.
• Attention to Detail: accounting delves into the tiny details, looking for discrepancies or mistakes that aren’t easily spotted. With minor errors leading to financial error, it’s essential that you possess acute attention to detail.
• IT Skills: Accountants will often use relatively complex software to carry out their work. Those who are comfortable with computers will be able to leverage artificial intelligence and cloud computing software to carry out crucial elements of their work.
• Organisational Skills: dealing with large volumes of data, requires you to be an organised individual. The ability to stay organised and prioritise tasks accordingly is essential.
• Communication Skills: accountancy roles aren’t isolated to the Finance Department. Working in accountancy requires you to be able to communicate financial information to those who work outside of the financial remit.
Obtaining an Accountancy Qualification:
Accountancy provides various avenues for you to explore, with different professional qualifications to choose from. Our partner, the Association of International Accountants (AIA), offer leading accounting and business qualifications to further your career.
Attain qualified accountant status by following the required steps for the highest qualification. You will need a minimum of 2 A Level and 3 GCSE passes (including maths and English) to gain entry to this programme. Leveraging a global reputation, qualifications from the AIA offer a clear value to prospective employers.
What Are Accountancy Specialisms?
To build a satisfying and enduring career in accountancy, it's wise to pick a specialism and acquire the skills and qualifications that best match that field.
In short, careers in accounting are split into two broad categories: financial accounting and management accounting. Management accounting focuses on delivering information to people within a company, whereas financial accounting provides information to those who are external to the organisation.
Financial accountancy is the popular choice for students, with specialisms including:
• Audit and Assurance • Business Recover • Insolvency • Corporate Finance • Tax • Forensic Accounting
Naturally, it’s wise to research each specialism before committing to a professional qualification, allowing you to match your qualification to your career aspirations.
Securing an Accountancy Job:
Obtaining work experience is essential for those looking to secure their first accountancy job. The ideal scenario is to acquire a training contract, enabling you to work while studying for your accountancy qualification.
• Accounting apprenticeships, offering practical experience, wages, and regular employment benefits such as annual leave.
If you are struggling to find paid work, consider work experience or voluntary positions. Building practical experience aids your accounting CV, enhancing your employability.
How Much Do Accountants Earn?
According to our 2022 Audience Insight Report, Accountants earn £45,714 per year on average, with 54.6% of our audience reporting a pay rise since 2021. This amount is malleable by factors such as location, specialism, employer, industry and the seniority of your role.
With ample career progression offered within the accountancy sector, one could aim for a goal of Finance Director, Finance Manager, or Chief Financial Officer.
CFOs now report an average salary of £123,008, with Finance Director jobs offering an average salary of £104,422 per annum, up 10% year-on-year.
Ready to commence your job search? Head over to GAAPweb to discover the latest Accountant jobs, as well as senior and management roles from Finance Manager to CFO level. View the latest vacancies and start your job search today.
GAAPweb: the UK’s leading specialist site for finance and accounting, explains how to write the perfect graduate accounting and finance CV.
The accountancy and finance job market can be competitive – especially for recent graduates who are looking to break into the industry – however, there is plenty of reason for optimism. Securing an interview can prove difficult, however, there are certain techniques you can employ to improve your success rate with recruiters and employers.
The first hurdle is your CV.
A first-class graduate accounting CV will help you get your foot in the door. By optimising your CV, you’ll heighten your chances of securing an interview with the firm of your choice.
The Importance of your Accounting and Finance CV:
Building an elite CV that will pass Applicant Tracking Systems and impress recruiters, may seem tedious, but it pays dividends in the long run. With recruiters only looking at CVs for a matter of seconds, you'll need to do everything you can to make your CV accessible, purposeful, and memorable.
Here’s how to up your CV game to give you a fair chance in the finance recruitment landscape.
Areas to Focus on for a Top Graduate Finance and Accounting CV:
As a graduate, recruiters will show a keen interest in your academic performance. As you are just leaving education, they will not expect you to have an elaborate employment history to show.
Your university education or finance qualification will act as the bedrock for your career, so should be a key feature on your graduate accounting CV. If you are yet to graduate, it’s wise to include a predicted grade or your current average. This will give prospective employers an insight into your academic performance.
A comprehensive overview of your A-level grades should be accompanied by a brief summary of your GCSEs. The total number of GCSEs and the range of grades you achieved for them will suffice. A few key subjects such as Maths, is also worth mentioning.
Employers will understand that your finance work experience will be limited, or even nonexistent. Nonetheless, if you have any experience within the field, you should highlight it vociferously. The more detail the better, from summer jobs, internships, student programmes, or work experience placements, all experience is valuable.
Employers are looking for a true passion for finance. So, if you’ve attended any finance or accounting-oriented insight days or events, then list them.
For those who have had no working experience in finance or accounting, listing any other work experience is still valuable. A strong work ethic is a strong asset for any graduate applicant.
Goals and objectives are both consistent aspects of the finance and accountancy world. Navigating tight deadlines and quick turnarounds comes with the territory of being an accountant, so you need to make clear that you have the right skillset to do so.
Mention an occasion wherein you have met/exceeded deadlines or targets in the past. For the purposes of a trainee accountant CV, this could be in any type of work, volunteering, or even your studies.
A history of setting financial objectives demonstrates that you adhere to the principles that are key to a successful career in the accounting and finance world. Using precise figures – as you would as a qualified accountant – is important.
Customer and Client Service:
Interpersonal skills are a must for any aspiring accountant or financial professional. The majority of jobs in finance involve a variety of communication and relationship building, either working in collaboration with other members of the finance department or with third parties.
The ability to explain complex financial concepts to individuals without any financial training or education is crucial and a skill that is highly sought-after.
Any experience you have with serving clients and customers will therefore stand you in good stead. Discussing your negotiation and influencing skills and techniques that you have leveraged is an excellent method for demonstrating your aptitude in this space. Providing examples of reaching common goals with colleagues or associates, either within or outside of your team, also provides a little flair to your CV.
Voluntary Work and Positions of Responsibility:
Volunteering work plays a key part on your graduate accounting CV. Under a clear and succinct heading, list your voluntary work, highlighting a variety of transferable skills that can be applied to relevant finance and accountancy roles. Volunteering is looked upon favourably by employers, as it demonstrates that a candidate has taken the time to improve themselves outside of work and education.
It is also worth mentioning other positions of responsibility that you held, perhaps while at university. A place on a student council, captaining a sports team, or managing a society are all relevant points to mention.
These snippets of information serve to demonstrate the soft skills that you have developed during your fledgling career. Inevitably, this section of your CV will shrink as you gain more experience in the finance and accounting world, but for now, it has clear value.
Observe Job Adverts:
The most proactive approach for job applications is adjusting your CV to use specific language that mirrors the job advert that your application is for. If the job asks for a high level of Microsoft Excel aptitude, for example, that is something that you need to highlight. This is all about spotlighting that you have the skills the employer is seeking.
This process naturally adds to the time spent on job applications; however, if you put in the time and effort, you will reap the rewards.
The Final Touches:
There are always ways in which you can go above and beyond to improve your graduate accounting and finance CV. Here are a few extra tips:
Adding additional languages you can speak, including the level at which you can speak and write. Bilingual candidates have a natural advantage.
Reference specific software: IT skills are an expectation for finance graduates, so try to emphasise your capabilities, with reference to specific software.
Format: use a professional font with high readability and ensure there are no grammar or spelling errors present on your CV.
Keep it short and sweet. Your graduate finance or accountant CV should not be any longer than two sides of A4.
Making Your Graduate CV Count:
Make a long-lasting positive first impression. It’s imperative to stand out, so make every word count.
By keeping the document succinct and highlighting your squalities, you raise the likelihood of getting interviews substantially.