Getting into… the accounting industry


This week’s blog post by the Accountancy Partnership goes into detail about the accounting industry and lists the skills, experience and specific qualifications that can facilitate getting into the industry. If you are thinking about a career in accounting, but aren’t sure where to start, this post has some useful information and relevant resources to help you out.

The accounting industry isn’t the same as it once was. We should no longer view accountants as number crunchers, because in today’s business world, they have a much larger part to play.

While many accounting roles require similar skills, employers also want accountants to be able to show versatility. This article looks to find out exactly what jobs the accounting industry has, how they’re changing and how you can apply for them.

Types of role and qualification

The qualifications you need to become an accountant may vary depending on what area of job role you want to pursue. See below for some of the most popular roles, and the qualifications that are required for them.

Accounting technician

An accounting technician should be either qualified with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or studying it. There are different levels of study, depending on the requirements of the employer.

Chartered certified accountant

Possibly one of the most recognised qualifications in the industry is being qualified with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) this is not to be confused with the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), which is a separate qualification.

Financial adviser

The qualification needed to become a financial adviser varies, although a Diploma in Financial Advisers (DipFA) is one of the more noted qualifications.

Forensic accountant

Forensic accounting involves investigative skills as well as analytical. This role involves the application of accounting to crimes and analysing financial information for legal proceedings.  A popular qualification is the Forensic Accounting Accreditation (FAA).

Tax adviser

As the title suggests a tax adviser will provide advice relating to tax to clients. If you wish to pursue this role you might consider a Fellow of Federation of Tax Advisers (FFTA) qualification.

Activities/experience that will help you get in

While accounting is about the data you’re given, the industry is changing. Employers of accounting graduates are looking for people with a varied skill set, rather than just analytical skills.

You will have to dish out a fair bit of business advice and be technologically friendly, as online cloud accounting software is used more by accountants.

With that in mind, one of the best ways to prepare for a career in accounting (other than getting an accounting qualification) is to have a varied background of work experience.

Being able to show you’re adaptable should a priority, so gain experience in what interests you the most and seek out placements where you can use a host of skills, rather than doing the same tasks every day.

Interview tips

Interviewers are looking to see how ready for the industry you are, so it’s important that you show the employer your awareness of the industry, and show them how you’d fit into a role that’s constantly changing.

  • Demonstrate a broad skill set. This can be hard to do under pressure, so preparing beforehand is essential. Keep to the point by explaining times when you have had to give advice, use initiative, or adapt to different situations.
  • Keep up to date with industry news – and show it! Start a conversation with your interviewer about something you read recently and ask their opinion on it, or if there’s a new piece of tax legislation that’s just come in, ask how it will affect the role. The interviewer will appreciate that you’re aware of industry updates – and a unique conversation might just make you the candidate that stands out.
  • Follow up with an email. Leave on a good impression by following up the interview with a thank you email. It can never hurt to say you enjoyed meeting them!

Useful links

If you’re ready to dominate the world of accounting, here are some helpful links that might come in handy!


Accountancy Age


My Accountancy Jobs

Industry updates:


ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales)

ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)

HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)


Written by Lauren Wise, content writer for The Accountancy Partnership.

If you require further advice on the career path you are considering, or need assistance with your CV and application for a position, book an appointment, or drop in 1-4pm Monday-Friday at the Careers Centre.

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