Private practice accountant
Private practice accountants help people and businesses manage their money effectively.
1. Entry requirements
You'll usually need at least 2 A levels and 3 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths. You don't usually need a degree or maths A level.
You must qualify with one of the following professional bodies:
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Association of International Accountants(AIA)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants(CIMA)
These each have different entry requirements for their courses and different routes to qualify. You can usually qualify more quickly if you have qualifications in business and finance or A levels.
You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.
2. Skills required
- analytical skills and a logical approach
- a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- organisational and time-management skills
- good communication skills, to explain complex financial information clearly
3. What you'll do
Your clients could range from small businesses to large companies or wealthy individuals.
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- preparing financial statements, business plans and budget reports
- producing accounts
- managing clients’ spending and costs
- filing tax returns and giving tax advice
- forecasting profits and performance
- helping businesses that may be in financial difficulty
- investigating fraud (forensic accounting)
You’ll deal with all of these if you freelance or work for a small accountancy practice.
In a large practice you’ll specialise in one area like tax or insolvency.
Starter: £18,000 to £27,000
Experienced: £28,000 to £50,000
Highly Experienced: Up to £100,000
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll work standard office hours Monday to Friday, but may also work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. You may work longer hours at busy times like the end of the financial year.
You’ll be based in an office, but spend much of your time visiting clients.
6. Career path and progression
With experience, you could specialise in an area like auditing or forensic accounting, or become a manager in a practice. You could then move into a partnership or become a finance director.You could also become self-employed or set up your own company.
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Last updated: 18 August 2017