Qualifying to be an accountant is no easy task but whichever qualification you are pursuing, you should aim to get some work experience whilst studying. Not only does work experience look good on your CV and make you more employable post qualificaltion but it's also the best way to absorb what you have learnt - Some things can only be learnt by applying the theory in a real-life work setting.
There are many firms – small and large – that will even sponsor you whilst you study on the job. This is a valuable way of gaining practical and first-hand accountancy and financial experience. You may find that through accepting a job offer, you will be directed to the qualification that the particular role requires, and may then choose to pursue this route in your accountancy career. However, with many students and graduates competing for the same roles, it's advisable to plan ahead and make sure you get your applications in early – especially if you aspire to work for the top UK accountancy firms. These positions are over-subscribed and competition is fierce.
There are countless other firms regularly looking for newly-qualified or part-qualified accountants to join their ranks so don’t overlook smaller or local accountancy practices. Such companies are often able to provide a wider range of hands-on experience, where you will see straight from the outset the effect of practical application of the knowledge you have acquired through studying.
Whilst you're waiting for a position you can always try to gain some work experience through an internship. Don’t underestimate the value of a month’s internship. Many firms, including the Big Four, expect to see some form of work experience in applications from candidates. If you are finding it difficult to secure a formal internship with a large firm, try writing to smaller practices that may be looking to take on assistants for a short period.
No matter which route you choose to take in your accountancy career, work experience is important and you should explore the industries you are interested in order to gain an understanding of how they operate and what will be expected of you when you finally become a qualified accountant.
- Commercial Treasury Manager - £40,000 to £48,000 per year
- Tax Consultant - £40,000 to £45,000 per year
- Asst. Management Accountant - £35,000 to £40,000 per year