Accounting Jobs & Graduate Schemes


Working in Accounting

Accountancy is a varied field which accepts graduates from a range of degree disciplines. Career paths in this profession include Tax, Audit and Assurance, and Bookkeeping. There are two different fields in Accountancy: Management Accountancy, and Chartered Accountancy. While similar, the two require slightly different skills, and candidates should be aware of which field they'd like to go into if they are aiming to be accredited by CIMA, CIPFA, ACCA or ICAEW.

As a traditional vocation, there is a traditional route into the Accountancy profession - but graduates aren't limited to following that path. While it's true that a degree in Accountancy will give a candidate a good chance of landing a desirable job, it is not a prerequisite. Many of the larger firms offer graduates with other degrees the opportunity to earn a spot with a Training Contract.

The four largest Accountancy firms, Ernst and Young, PwC, Deloitte, and KPMG, take on thousands of graduates with Accountancy Training Contracts. Their scope of graduates is wide, and they offer many options. But competition for these esteemed schemes can be fierce, so candidates should be prepared.

How to Get a Job in Accountancy

Being aware of the requirements of the profession and knowing how to demonstrate those capabilities during the application process will help graduates land that first job in Accountancy.

Candidates should display the following:

  • Good Academic Qualifications
    While an Accountancy degree helps, candidates can apply for traineeships, graduate schemes, or Accountancy-related jobs without having studied a relevant degree. Accountancy firms look for their candidates to be intelligent, with a minimum of a 2:1 (although some might take a lower classification), and good GCSEs in English and Maths.
  • Excellent Numeracy Skills
    A GCSE in Maths is the minimum requirement for any Accountancy position. Numbers and figures are an accountant's livelihood, so competency is vital. Candidates should show experience working with numbers outside of their education, too, whether from a job which included cashing up in a shop, or from serving as their sports team's treasurer.
  • Work Experience and Internships
    Graduates who have experience on a vacation scheme run by one of the bigger Accountancy firms, or even a few weeks work experience at a local firm, are more likely to catch the recruiter's eye. Employers will be impressed by the enthusiasm and drive shown by the candidate, and can trust that they understand how an Accountancy office functions.
  • Fantastic Analytical Skills
    If a candidate wants to go into Auditing, analytic skills are extremely important. Auditing requires Accountants to measure how sound a business is, as well as the needs of that business. An ability to analyse large amounts of data, deduce meaning, and present the findings is important to demonstrate for a career in this field. Candidates could display their skill in noticing patterns, trends, and issues by highlighting their different degree backgrounds, History or Economics, for example.
  • A Methodological Approach
    Accountancy work often involves important, sometimes critical, aspects of company security. With this in mind, candidates need to be meticulous in their approach and demonstrate a stringent work ethic and attention to detail. This is especially true of fields like Forensic Accountancy, where accountants search data for evidence of illegal activity.
  • Excellent Communication Skills
    A lot of Accountancy work requires communication between different members of staff, so a candidate must demonstrate not only excellent written and oral communication skills, but also the ability to work as part of a team and support different departments.
  • Ability to Build and Maintain Relationships
    Many Accountants are asked to work with clients on or off site, and they must be able to contract and undertake work from outside the firm. This requires developing good working relationships, being able to work harmoniously with others, and being a good representative for the firm. Candidates should be able to provide examples of their interpersonal skills, such as a role in the Student Union, or representing students as a Department Coordinator or Student Representative.
  • Affinity for Business
    Management Accountants must have an affinity for business. While Chartered Accountants need to understand business functions and processes, Management Accountants are required to be able to help a business grow. Evidence of a good grasp of business is important - think skills and experiences in Development, Marketing, and Sales.

Accounting Interview Ratings

    4.4286/5

    First off let me mention that my experience of the selection process will probably be different to many of the graduates applying for this role (I applied through a recruitment agency).…

    4.5714/5

    For this job role there were two sets of interviews. The first was a telephone interview which was the most difficult stage of the process for me as you had 35…

    4.1429/5

    Firstly there is an online application form to pass. Then there are two stages to the Public Sector Internal Audit (PSIA) recruitment process which is different to the other schemes the…

    4.5714/5

    This was a one on one interview with a very nice member of their graduate recruitment team and she was very good at putting me at ease. Even though I'd filled…

    4.8571/5

    My initial contact was via email after I had submitted my application which asked me a number of questions around my degree, availability and salary expectations. The next stage was an…

    4.4286/5

    Started with an online application, fairly straight forward stuff. Then onto tests at the head office in blackfriars, just numerical and verbal ones, fairly easy. Then got called back for an…

    4.8571/5

    After getting thru the online stages (application form, numerical reasoning followed by critical thinking, a harder version of verbal reasoning which replaced the e-tray for the 2014-15 intake), my first interview…

    3.5714/5

    The competency question was fine, they just asked general questions which I have already mentioned during the phone interview. There was a group exercise/presentation and they expect you to talk. I…

    4.0/5

    The telephone interview was the 2nd step in the recruitment process, after the application and online tests. It lasted around 45 minutes, as I was told. I was asked a set…

    4.0/5

    Tasks: An initial verbal reasoning test to assess there was no wrongdoing during the online test. This was then followed with the unique KPMG immersive assessment centre (based on an imaginary…

    4.2857/5

    The phone interview was super relaxed, it was the best one I've had - it felt like I was having a chat with a friend I haven't spoken to in ages…

  • Babcock (8)

    Babcock is the UK's largest and most dynamic engineering support services business, employing c27,000 people. A FTSE 100 company with revenue of circa £3.5bn in 2014, we’re the UK’s leading engineering support services organisation. Operating in sectors as diverse as transport, energy, defence, telecommunications and education, Babcock provides a depth and breadth of expertise to its customers that is simply unrivalled.

  • BAE Systems PLC (4)

    At BAE Systems, we provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled workforce of some 83,400 people in over 40 countries. Working with customers and local partners, we develop, engineer, manufacture and support products and systems to deliver military capability, protect national security and people and keep critical information and infrastructure secure. That’s work that inspires us. That’s BAE Systems.
  • BDO LLP (3)

    At BDO, more than anything we want our reputation to be built on exceptional service delivered by empowered people not process. Our systems work to support our people, not the other way around. We employ talented people with the imagination and initiative to make a real difference – to be the difference that matters so much to our clients.

  • Deloitte (8)

    Think of our graduate programme as the first step on an incredible journey. The start of a brilliant career in business that could take you wherever you want it to go.
  • HAT Group of Accountants (2)

    HAT is a training consortium of 60 small to medium-sized firms of accountants. HAT recruits ACA & ACCA trainees on behalf of our full member firms, which range in size from just 3 partners and 15 professional staff, up to 30 partners and over 150 professional staff.
  • KPMG (10)

    As an integrated business, KPMG LLP (UK) is in a strong position to respond to client needs, bringing together the right teams at the right time, across disciplines and across borders. The key to our success as a firm lies in our ability to match our insights and skills to the strategic goals of clients, day in and day out. KPMG in the UK has 22 offices and is part of a global network of member firms offering Audit, Tax and Advisory services.
  • Moore Stephens LLP

    Moore Stephens is the UK's ninth largest accounting and consulting firm, comprising some 1,700 partners and staff in 39 locations. We have built our business by focusing on key business sectors, enabling us to deliver practical, commercial solutions to our clients' unique issues. Moore Stephens International is the 10th largest accountancy network comprising over 600 offices in 103 countries.
  • Sky (4)

    Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company and serves 21 million customers across five countries. They offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative technology to give customers a better TV experience. As Sky grows they’re looking for bright, talented graduates to make a difference to their ever- changing business.

  • Smith & Williamson (5)

    Smith & Williamson has around 1,500 staff in 12 principal offices across the UK and Ireland. We hold the unique position of combining a firm of chartered accountants with an investment management and private banking house.

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