If you’re looking for a graduate job in accounting, with over 300,000 students graduating from British Universities every year, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Accountancy is more than dealing with numbers and as a graduate looking for a job in accounting, you need to see the bigger picture, so with this in mind, here are 5 things you should know about graduate accounting jobs:
1) There are three paths that you can take as a graduate accountancy trainee
The most common route is to train within large accounting firms that provide consultancy services with clients. However, if securing a chance in these large companies becomes a challenge, you can train within smaller firms. Another path is to train within the finance department of a commercial business or a public sector organisation. All of these options are available to you so think carefully about which path you’d like to take and have a backup plan in case you’re unable to take the first route.
2) You’ll gain more qualifications
One good thing about a graduate job in accounting is the training on offer, as it puts you in a good position for the rest of your career, and the best part is that this training is totally funded by the company. However, it is important to note that the qualification you study for will largely depend on the area you want to work in as well as the organisation you are training with. For instance, if you are working in an accountancy firm, you will most likely study ACCA or ACA. Similarly, if you have interest in management accounting, you will study CIMA.
3) Entry to the accounting profession is quite stringent
While bigger firms will require at least a 2:1, this does not change the fact that experience is crucial for any aspiring accountant. Whether you’ve gained experience through working in a high street firm, a small accounts department in a small business or one of the big four – all experience, provided it is relevant, have a role to play as far as getting your first accountancy job is concerned. If you don’t have any experience currently, then there are entry level positions available that you can go for, but the likelihood is you’ll be earning less than those with some prior experience.
4) You need to learn how to relate with different people and businesses
The ability to communicate is imperative when you’re working in accounting, and the better you are able to communicate with clients, the more in demand you will be. Showing you’ve experience of communicating with people on all levels, whether through volunteer work, a part time customer facing job, or as a contributing member of an organisation within your university will stand you in good stead when it comes to getting a trainee role.
5) It’s not all number crunching in the office
You will spend a lot of time away from home if you find an audit job, and this will call for a lot of meetings and interactions with clients, usually at their premises (for larger clients at least). The opportunity to get out of the office and meet clients face to face is a good thing, as it broadens your experience and teaches you how to communicate at a corporate level, but if this scares you, the good news is that tax activities are more office-based. Therefore it’s imperative to choose to apply for roles that you’re most comfortable with.
In reality, getting a graduate accounting job isn’t always easy, but once you have a foot in the door, it can lead to a stable, long term career.
Author: Priority Placements – leading Irish recruitment consultancy, specialising in providing opportunities in the accountancy and financial services sector.