Despite the global economic recession of recent years, choosing a career in accountancy remains a wise move as every company requires such skills. Rather than simply being a sedate number-cruncher, accountancy can be an ideal profession for those with lofty aspirations and a global outlook. Whether you wish to join the Big Four or seize the ACCA accounting qualification under the wing of a smaller firm, be sure to check out our top 5 tips to get your foot in the door:
A relevant degree is a good start, but not mandatory
It’s a common misconception that you need a finance degree to be an accountant. Most large accountancy companies will be looking for candidates with at least a 2:1 degree (typically in any discipline) but alternative routes into the profession are on offer including school leaver apprenticeships as well as flexible programmes for college students and long-distance learners.
There’s more than just the Big Four
The Big Four (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte) can demand strong entry requirements with candidates typically needing a 2:1 degree or above (in any discipline) before undergoing a series of tests from assessing reasoning skills to rigorous face-to-face interviews. Keep in mind that acquiring an accounting qualification can also be achieved by joining smaller firms, which will accept lower grades whilst also providing training and will pay for professional exam fees.
Get as much work experience as you can
Volunteering is a clear way to increase your employability chances and an excellent opportunity to gain valuable hands on experience and develop your skillset. Many organisations including charities and local companies often advertise for voluntary bookkeepers so keep a look out for online vacancies. Consulting academic career services and recruitment agencies are also both useful avenues as is contacting businesses directly.
Target firms which reflect your lifestyle aspirations
It’s important to remember that undergoing a three-year ACCA accounting programme is a significant commitment in one location so it’s vital your surroundings mirror your lifestyle ambitions. If you’re a keen traveller, the potential international opportunities afforded by transnational firms such as the Big Four could help fulfil such goals. Conversely, opting for a smaller, regional firm could be an ideal fit should you wish to remain in the local area and/or be close to family and friends.
Focus on you and do your research
It’s vital in this highly competitive market that you hone your communication skills and project a confident, informed presentation during interviews. Conducting extensive research on the accounting firm in question, keeping up-to-date on current financial affairs and articulating your vision for the company are just some of the ways to convince employers that you should be the one they hire.
Overall, entering accountancy represents a sound investment for your future and while there are many different routes to take, we recommend that you ensure your chosen path of learning aligns with your professional and personal aspirations.