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6 things to know before becoming an accountant

Once you’ve been there and done it, it’s easy to know all the answers to all the right questions. But if we’d known certain things before we started our careers things might have been different. If we could impart some advice on things people wished they’d known before they started in this career, then this is what they’d be.

1. It’s not all about the figures: Being an accountant involves dealing with lots of different people as well as numbers. It’s not just an office job.

2. Work Hard: It might seem obvious, but you will have no life while you are studying. Be prepared for late nights, early mornings and no fun inbetween. Mind you, that goes or most things you are studying. Then of course it will take another 3-4 years to get through your accountancy exams after a degree.

3. Qualifications count: Anyone can call themselves as accountant, but if you have a qualification it shows that you follow a set of rules and that you know what you are doing. After all you are dealing with a lot of money, so sub-standard work won’t do. People want certifications. Here are a few accountancy bodies you should know about:

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland ICAS
  • Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants CIPFA

4. Legislation doesn’t stay the same: Once you’ve worked for all your qualifications, you’ll realise that there’s more you need to know. Especially when it comes to the law. You need to demonstrate that you are constantly up to date with changing legislation – a mindfield of it’s own.

5. Know where you want to go: Training for approved accountants and keep your training records up to date and signed is really important on your career progression. Having some long-term career goals and the training and certification will be a big influence on what happens next. Don’t wait around: It’s best to start specialising as soon as you finish university or even better, while you are at university (if you have the some money).

6. You can be ambitious and earn a lot: Many top executives have accounting and finance backgrounds. You never know where an accounting career will take you. So keep your options open. While accountants in industry earn more than accountants in practice, they have more technical knowledge than accountants in industry and will eventually earn a lot.

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