What is an Accountant?

Are you a whizz with figures and a super saver who would like to help people make the most of their money? With all the perks involved it can add up to a very rewarding career as an accountant! Your job would be to watch how money moves around in a business, treating other people’s money as if it was as precious as your own...

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What does an Accountant do?

An accountant is a key player in any business, no matter how big or small. Your main job will be to double-check that all the records are up to date and correct when money changes hands. You’ll also make sure that any money exchanges are all legal and above-board to save people headaches later on – sometimes financial rules can be broken by accident if people don’t know how business works! Luckily for them, you’re there to save the day. With all the insights you pick up from ‘doing the books’ for other people, you might even want to set up your own business outside of accountancy one day!

As an accountant you would usually:

  • Make sure that any money changing hands is legal and doesn’t break the rules
  • Keep track of what the money is doing in a company
  • Keep records and file tax returns
  • Help the company make financial decisions, big or small.
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What skills are important?

  • Conventional

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    Recommended: 100%
  • Finance

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    Recommended: 100%
  • Attention to detail

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    Recommended: 95%
  • Integrity

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    Recommended: 94%
  • Working indoors all the time

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    Recommended: 91%
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How much could I earn?

Average salary


Example: Chartered and certified accountants, 2013

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How to become an Accountant

To become an accountant, you will need:

  • English and Maths GCSEs
  • Two A levels (useful but not needed)
  • A qualification by one of a number of recognised bodies
  • Three years or more experience working in accountancy (as part of becoming qualified)
  • Great maths skills and an eye for detail

Due to the sensitivity of looking after people’s finances, accounting is highly regulated and you will need to pass exams with one of the following bodies:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
  • Association of International Accountants (AIA)
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