career: Accountancy

What's it all about

Accountancy jobs involve advising clients on their finances. This can range from high profile businesses to single clients who just need help organising their bills. There are so many different specialties within accountancy, you’ll be sure to find one that suits you.

Being an accountant means dealing with clients and people on a daily basis, as well as knowing your stuff when it comes to finances. Your mathematics skills will have to be up to scratch and organisation is key. The reason why you’ve been hired is to organise someone else’s finances – so you need to be on the ball at all times. Mistakes can’t happen when it comes to the world of accountancy, so you’d have to be good at working under pressure.

What will it involve 

What will it involve

  • preparing accounts and tax returns
  • administering payrolls and controlling income and expenditure
  • auditing financial information
  • compiling and presenting reports, budgets, business plans, commentaries and financial statements
  • analysing accounts and business plans
  • providing tax planning services with reference to current legislation
  • financial forecasting and risk analysis
  • dealing with insolvency cases
  • negotiating the terms of business deals and moves with clients and associated organisations

Routes in

While it is possible to become an accountant through a degree, there is in fact another way to enter this career path. Recently, it became possible to get into accountancy through a much more vocational route. Doing an apprenticeship in accountancy means working and earning money while also gaining the qualifications you need to become a chartered accountant.

Despite the common misconception that apprenticeships are only for manual labour jobs such as plumbing and construction, accountancy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for school leavers looking to start a career in this sector. When students leave university after three years of learning to be an accountant, you would have already been in the business for three years and have a clear and in-depth understanding of how the industry works – as well as the qualifications the graduates have. Perhaps most importantly, you would have been earning money rather than getting in to debt.

Although the university route might be right for some people looking to go into accountancy, if you are a more hands-on learner who wants to earn while they learn, an alternative such as an apprenticeship is definitely worth looking in to.

What skills to I need 

What skills to I need

  • self-motivation
  • responsibility
  • business interest
  • organisational skills
  • ability to manage deadlines
  • teamwork
  • client skills
  • proficiency in IT
  • analytical ability
  • problem solving skills
  • numeracy

Been there, done that


Kayleigh Anderson, 20, EY School Leaver... 

Kayleigh Anderson, 20, EY School Leaver...

I studied Maths, Biology and Physcial Education at the Rochester Grammar School for my A levels. Only one of those subjects really relates to what I’m doing now and it wasn’t until the end of my first year I really started questioning what I wanted to do.

I signed up to an EY mailing list at a careers event and was invited to another careers evening held at the EY head office. At this one I spoke to a guy who was currently working at EY as a school leaver and he explained his department and day to day role which really interested me, and I liked the way EY focus on ensuring their employees are getting the best experiences to progress their career.

It’s really practical experience and if the only think that’s stopping you is missing out on a social life, don’t worry about it! Things like the UNFM society is great to meet new people and I think school leavers will really benefit from it like I have.

Expert opinion

Are you an expert in this field? Then we want you to tell us what it takes to make it in this industry. Get in touch by emailing us at hattie@unisnotforme.com to find out more.



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