Skills required for a career in the Audit & accountancy industry
You will need to be comfortable working with numbers to have a career in accountancy and audit. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork and negotiation are also important.
Other skills employers and recruiters will look for are:
Typical Audit & accountancy career progression routes
Progression in accountancy and audit can be fast, and in big organisations you're likely to hold a large amount of responsibility early on.
It's likely you'll need to pass exams to move up the ladder. Your exams may be sponsored or supported by your employer, especially if you're in a large organisation. The exact structure of your career progression will depend on the organisation and the particular area you're working in.
Some of the biggest and most respected employers in the accountancy and audit sector offer graduate schemes, which are very structured and last two or three years. Gaining a place on a scheme can be tough, but it can be incredibly rewarding. The Big 4 accountancy and audit firms have outstanding reputations, all of them are listed in the Times Top 100 graduate employers.
Typical Career Development for the Audit & accountancy industry
All accountancy and audit roles require some degree of expertise, so graduates are almost always required to complete further training.
To progress further, you can qualify as a chartered accountant. Most graduate schemes in this area and some entry level roles will support you with this.
Many trainee accountants take the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Professionals) qualification, which consists of 12 professional qualification exams. It takes on average four years to complete CIMA, with many companies supporting employees to become qualified.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is also a popular qualification. It also takes around 4 years to complete. It consists of 14 exams. It's sensible to work while studying because the course requires three years of practical experience.
If you want an audit job in the public sector, you'll need a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) professional qualification.
The National Audit Office (NAO) also offers a 3-year training scheme for graduates.
How much do Audit & accountancy professionals get paid?
The pay scale in this industry varies greatly depending on the kind of job you have.
Graduates working as trainee accountants and auditors are likely to earn between £20,000 and £30,000, progressing to up to £60,000 with a few years of experience.
At the highest levels, this industry pays higher salaries than many other careers. Many people earn over £60,000 per year.
At the very top end of the industry, financial directors earn an average salary of £70,000, although in large organisations they can earn significantly more.
Here are the average salaries for some roles within the sector:
What qualifications do I need for a Audit & accountancy career
Graduates in mathematics-based subjects such as finance or economics are best suited to positions within this industry, although with further study (ACCA, CIMA or similar) you can pursue a career in this area even if your degree isn't directly related.
How to get there
Formal work experience is not essential for work in the sector. You can prove yourself through the industry-specific qualifications for your particular area like CIMA, ACCA, or other required qualifications.
The recruitment process for graduate schemes in accountancy and audit can be tough. You should apply for schemes early in the academic year if you want to start as soon as you graduate. Expect interviews, assessment centres and tests during the process.