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Audit and accounting

Are you interested in a career in audit or accounting? In this section you can find out more about what the occupations involve along with advice about how become a chartered account.

What does being an audit/accountant involve?

Accountants give financial advice to their clients who can include large international companies, governmental bodies or small businesses. Accountants often specialise in specific areas including audit, management consultancy, taxation, assurance, corporate finance and recovery. Accountants usually work in offices and hours may exceed the usually nine to five, particularly at the end of the financial year.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Financial forecasting and risk analysis
  • Preparing accounts and tax returns
  • Auditing financial information
  • Negotiating business deals with clients
  • Administering payrolls and controlling income and expenditure
  • Creating and presenting reports, budgets, business plans, financial statements etc.

Typical employers include: Governmental bodies, the public sector, not for profit organisations, private and professional firms and commercial and corporate organisations.

The main role of an auditor is to identify fraud or mismanagement, check accounts, reduce financial risk and give advice on efficiency, ensuring businesses use their resources in the most advantageous way possible. Employment opportunities in auditing exist in governmental bodies, the NHS and the private sector.

Similar occupations

Occupations similar to accountant and auditor include:

  • Management accountant
  • Tax advisor
  • Tax inspector
  • Accounting technician
  • Corporate treasurer
  • Financial manager
  • Accounts assistant
  • Tax specialist
  • Legal accountant
  • Finance controller

What skills are needed for a career in audit and accounting?

  • Numeracy skills
  • IT skills
  • Team player
  • Self-motivation
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Business acumen and strong analytical ability
  • Sense of responsibility and ability to see the wider picture

What qualifications are needed to become an auditor/accountant?

The path towards becoming an auditor/accountant starts early. 5 GCSEs (grades A – C including Maths and English) are required, along with good A level results and a Bachelor's Degree with 1st class honours, however many firms are becoming more relaxed about entry criteria, now accepting candidates with a 2:2 degree. Although previous study in a related subject (accounting, finance or business) is not required, it may exempt candidates from certain entry exams.

It takes a minimum of three years to become a chartered accountant. Graduates must complete 3 years of full-time work experience alongside studying for exams and reach set objectives before obtaining the qualification. Several institutes of chartered accountants exist in the UK including: The Institute of Chartered Accounts in England, ICAEW and The Institute of Charted Accountants of Scotland.

Average Salary for auditors and accountants

The average salary for auditors and accountants in the UK varies depending on experience. The average salary for an auditor in the UK is £28,762, but can range from £18,000 to £46,000. The average salary for an accountant in the UK is £28,305, but can range from £19,000 to £49,000.

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