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How to get started with a job in Accounting.


Getting started with a job in Accounting can be daunting, and this guide is aimed at people with little direct experience in Accounting, as valuable work experience that you can show is one of the key assets thats needed to get a role in this field.

Accounting Roles

Firstly, here are some of the example roles. As you can see thereís a wide variety of salaries in the sector, especially for more senior roles. The average for accounting positions is £31,600. (check following salaries against other sites)

You can find example account roles and salaries here (http://www.workcircle.co.uk/jobs/accounting).

Qualifications

You should be good at maths and english, and be able to show this, as well as an increasing requirement for good IT skills, as there is an increase in the number of software packages being used (especially SAGE). Economics is also very useful here.

A degree is generally a preferred first step and requirement, but a CFAB Certificate in Finance, Accounting, Business may also get you there.

There are different accounting bodies.

ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales) leads to becoming an ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant). This is generally the preferred route if possible especially if focusing on the UK, and this is the one that allows you to train to be a chartered accountant. This also normally requires a couple of years work experience.
CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), where you can run the accounts of some businesses, but there are some limitations.
ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), this doesnít necessarily lead you to being an accountant, as it doesnít include a minimum word experience level. Some companies may sponsor this though.
CIPFA is a qualification aimed more for public service, charity and community sector accounting.

CV

Get your CV done and up to date. Do you know anyone that works in finance ? Hopefully you will have spoken to them already about opportunities and work experience, but if not do speak to them and get advice on your CV and covering note. Get them to read through it, and give you feedback. You may want to tweak the CV towards the position you are applying for, and try and highlight the most relevant skills you have to the company you are sending your CV off to. Send your CV in to any reputable job boards (include any specifically??).

Work Experience

This is one of the main factors. Most people realise that one of the biggest stalling factors is not having enough direct experience in the area. This doesnít have to be paid work. It can be voluntary, temp work, anything which highlights your skills in the area, and also leads to some relevant people who your prospective employer can contact. Its very hard for companies to just take a punt on someone without some basic track record.

So whilst looking for suitable paid work, also look into any voluntary work you can do. Even if its basic bookkeeping for a charity, or some other local organisation. This shows your ability to be responsible, and how you value your time. Once you get a small amount of experience, this will lead to other people giving you further opportunities, and work opportunities will increase from there. Are there any companies looking for accounting based interns ? Some of these positions may be paid, some will focus on giving just experience.

Connections

Explore any connections you have in the financial world. Even if you donít know anyone directly, ask your relatives and friends if they know anyone. The right connections can take you further, even if its just getting some basic work experience. Any careers fairs happening at the University or in your local area ? Try and get to them, get your face known, and get to know some of those companies who are taking people on, and investing in candidates for the future, training them up. Even if it doesnít lead to a job, its still building up your knowledge. They will also have a lot of insightful advice in the accounting sector.

Look on various jobsites, and in the local papers. Who is recruiting ? Get to know the bigger companies, some of the contacts you may meet. Find out which accounting certificates they are looking for in a candidate. Can you find them on LinkedIn ? (If you havenít got a linkedin profile, start building it up. Its useful for finding new contacts).

Social Networking

The use of social networking for finding work and contacts is on the increase. Even if you donít use it to contact people direct, its worth using Facebook, LinkedIn (and possibly Twitter), to find related accounting groups and associations. Donít be afraid to use those groups, to ask a question about how to get started. Some will give extra advice, plus you start a rapport with other people in the business that you can use later.

It also worth sometimes using LinkedIn to introduce yourself to some other contacts, without spamming them, so that your name is recognised when you later send them your CV, or phone up to ask if they have any work experience places. Do trial phone call with some of your friends and relatives to get some feedback, as it is intimidating to cold call people without some practice.

Pros and Cons of Accounting

The cons are that its a tough area, needs a lot of focus, and needs a bit of help getting your foot in the door. You need to be enthusaistic about numbers, and what you can do for a company! You will need to work and study hard.

The pros are, that once you get your foot in the door, hard work and focus will pay off in terms of enjoyment and salary.


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