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Careers in accounting

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Gaining a qualification in finance doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be an accountant for the rest of your life. Discover more about the opportunities in the finance sector and how you can get a job you really want.

In this episode of our Learn Better Podcast, host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of Learning at Kaplan, discusses careers in accounting and the current job market.

Our guest is Anthony Clarke, Business Development Manager at AAT. Anthony covers the versatility finance qualifications can give your career, the current hot jobs in the finance sector and how to approach your applications and interviews.

Anthony also talks about how the sector has made a commitment to drive diversity and social mobility and how this has changed the way businesses are recruiting. Instead of just looking at CVs, businesses are putting more emphasis on the individuals, their skills, behaviours and the value they can add to the business.

Firms are looking at the individual. Those skills that they bring to the business, not necessarily just from a technical perspective, but in terms of how well aligned they are and how their values are well aligned with the business they are working for.

- Anthony Clarke, AAT

Key topics:

Accountancy careers and qualifications

There are multiple levels to accounting qualifications and unlike what it may seem, the end objective doesn't have to be to qualify with one of the Level 7 Accountancy bodies. There are many job opportunities for you at each level. What you do along your journey is important, the skills you learn and the people you meet.

There are so many different areas to branch out into in the finance sector and so studying and pursuing a career in finance allows you to keep your options open, helping you to find a role you enjoy and gain a wide range of experience along the way.

The hot jobs in the sector

Anthony tells how the job market is really buoyant currently with businesses struggling to recruit at a senior level. However this means businesses have reacted by inventing more in organically developing their own talent for the future, particularly through apprenticeship.

Audit, for instance, is a very in demand area and there is a common need for companies to expand their teams as businesses are winning new clients almost daily. And with hybrid working, talent is being accessed from all over the country, opening new opportunities to people who previously may have been limited by commuting commitments.


There has been a real commitment in the sector to drive diversity and social mobility, and businesses are delivering on this promise. Firms are focusing more on the individual rather than the details on their CV and looking at ways to support recruitment that isn't just from the traditional talent pool.

Anthony comments: “Because we do have such diverse communities within the UK, it’s really important that the talent that are working in [a business’s] Audit team can really reflect, understand and empathise with the client base.”

Important skills for getting the job

There are many skills that can help you in your career that can all be learnt through exposure to different environments. For example, a previous job in retail or hospitality can help you to learn how to communicate well with the public.

The key skills businesses look for in interviews and assessment centres are:

  • The ability to communicate information clearly
  • The ability to analyse information and draw conclusions
  • The ability to present analysis in a palliative way
  • The ability to use technology
  • The ability to collaborate and work as part of a team

As well as demonstrating these skills it is important to do your research. Researching a business's mission statement and values is key to help you understand how these align to your own values and how you can in turn add value to the business.

Interested in hearing more?

Tune in now to listen to the full conversation (episode 13) and learn more about a career in accounting and how to put your best foot forward when applying for your next job.