The accountancy profession is a great career path, offering excellent financial rewards and a real opportunity to progress. It’s also a really popular choice for career changers, with our research showing that 55% of accountants previously had a different career.
With lots of different specialisms and entry routes, it can be hard to know exactly what type of accountant you might like to be. Would you like working in Audit, as a Tax Manager, as a Management Accountant or something completely different?!
So we’ve devised a quick quiz to help you narrow down your options. We’ll suggest an area of accountancy you may find interesting based on your traits, personality and motivations. Take a minute to find out what kind of accountant you could be.
The careers considered in the quiz fall into five areas: management accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, financial accounting and tax. Each role comes with its own responsibilities and rewards, as well as different entry requirements which are explained.
The traits and characteristics that will help every accountant
There are certain core qualities that every accountant needs, whichever route they take. And no, it doesn’t mean being a genius at maths and dreaming about numbers – although that can be a great help in some jobs.
Accounting is about providing accurate and relevant information so that businesses can make the best possible financial decisions. That might be for a multinational company looking to understand why a product has started losing money, or a freelance professional who wants to reduce her tax bill so she can buy her first house.
To become a good accountant, you’ll need to be motivated and hard working. To develop the technical skills to become an accountant, you’ll need to be studying a professional qualification, which you might also have to fit around work/life. You’ll also need to have great attention to detail and act be ethical when dealing with sensitive information and advising clients.
But beyond these core skills, there are lots of other ways to excel.
Finding that perfect career specialism
Take a look at some of the accounting specialisms in a bit more detail below:
- Management accounting is about helping managers understand how to run the business, and maybe even running your own team of accountants. This is the strategic end of the business world, shaping a company’s future either through setting budgets, looking at strategies to grow the business or managing pricing for new products. You’ll need to have strong communication and people skills, plus enjoy thinking creatively to solve complex problems.
- Financial accounting is similar but is about providing financial information to investors or government regulators about a business or even a whole sector. You’ll need to be adaptable, organised and have great communication skills, whether that’s producing reports or dealing with people face to face.
- Auditors check figures and reports for accuracy and can uncover wrongdoing. It’s the sort of role that suits someone with an appetite for understanding rules and an ability to unpick intricate issues.
- Tax technicians help their clients understand how much tax they need to pay, advise on ways to legally minimise tax and also advise on tax implications of investments and takeovers.
- Bookkeepers are absolutely crucial to every business. These accountants focus on ensuring that transactions are accurately recorded and financial statements produced. Whilst they do little in the way of analysis, this option can provide a good work-life balance option for some.
The accountancy profession and your development
Whether you’re changing career or starting fresh from school, the key to having a long and successful career in accounting is to get the right qualifications. You can start any time, but most people do so whilst in employment. You may even find your boss is willing to fund your studies or give you time off to help with studying.
If you’re brand new to accountancy, you’ve got a number of options available to you, including the AAT Professional Qualification, CIMA Certificate in Business and ACCA Applied Knowledge to name a few. These qualifications will give you a solid grounding in the main areas of accountancy and finance and will give you enough knowledge that you could even set up your own business as a Bookkeeper.
Once you’ve completed this qualification, or if you have exemptions, you can study towards becoming a Chartered Accountant. Again, there are many options available but the ACCA Strategic Professional, CIMA Management and ACA qualifications are some of the most popular and will give you a much deeper understanding of accounting techniques, each with their own specialisms.
Haven’t taken the quiz yet? Take it now