Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 20 Jul 2019
An Accountant is responsible for managing, analysing and improving the financial records and information of individual clients and businesses. They keep records of financial reports, audits, expenditures and taxation information and analyse these records to offer solutions and maximise the profitability of an organisation.
Day-to-day activities and responsibilities
- Dealing with sales invoices, income, receipts and payments
- Offering tailored financial advice to both individuals and companies
- Reviewing companies’ financial accounts information and offering advice and support concerning risk prevention and business development
- Preparing statements showing income and transactions
- Completing and submitting VAT returns
- Preparing staff wages and managing claims for expenses
- Checking that company accounts are accurate and up-to-date
- Performing credit control duties, as and when required
- Devising and implementing cost-saving measures
- Liaising with the bank on behalf of the clients
- Preparation of monthly payroll and administrating staff holidays and absences
- Producing year-end reports such as P60s
- Providing financial data management for small and medium-sized companies
- Monitoring and handling business expenses
- Responsible for financial accounts including budgets and cash flow
- Helping to prepare annual accounts using computerised accounting systems
- Performing corporation tax submission
- Assisting junior member of staff with complex accounting and auditing cases
- Completing and submitting tax returns for self-employed workers
- Verifying financial calculations and ensuring everything is factual and correct
- Developing and maintaining databases for filing purposes
- Maintaining up-to-date records and ensuring everything is kept confidential
Workplace and working hours
Accountants mainly work from an office. Occasionally, they may be required to visit clients at their premises to hold meetings or to access financial information and records.
The standard working hours for accountants are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. Overtime may sometimes be required, particularly at the end of the financial year (in March and April).
Salaries for accountants vary depending on the employer’s size, location and industry. The starting salaries of graduate accountants start at around £25,000 per year. More experienced accountants can earn up to £50,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Most employers expect candidates to hold a degree in Business, Accounting or Finance. Other subjects may be considered, depending on the candidate’s work experience. Certified Accountants are required to undertake a professional accountancy qualification which usually takes 3 years to complete. Click here for more information.
Job likes and benefits
- High starting salary of around £25,000 per annum.
- Appealing career choice: There is a high demand for qualified accountants from all types of industries, making it a secure career choice for the future. This role is expected to see a growth of 7% by the year 2024.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Long hours: You will be required to undertake tasks which have strict deadlines so it is highly likely that the successful candidate will be doing additional working hours in the evenings or over the weekend. This may happen throughout the year, although the workload is the highest at the end of the financial year.
- Obtaining accounting qualifications: As well as working, one is also expected to carry out certain accounting qualifications, so one needs to be prepared to study and work simultaneously. Without these qualifications, career progression is limited.
Job progression and career prospects
Accountants can obtain good salaries by working within the private or public sector, or through becoming a partner in an accountancy firm. The increase in qualifications obtained means an increase in salary and job progression.
According to government statistics, jobs in this and closely-related roles are projected to grow by 7% over the period to 2024 (Source: LMI for All).
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales