To be an accountant, you have to be exceptionally organised, working to strict deadlines and studying for exams at the same time. Accountants have to be dedicated and meticulous, and whilst numeracy skills are important, developing your communication and people skills are just as vital for a client-facing profession.
Still think Accountancy could be for you? We’ve compiled the best advice from our senior accountants and recent graduates, to bring you these top tips on how to succeed when applying to become an accountant:
- Be prepared to travel. This applies more to some areas of accountancy than others, but at the very least a career in accountancy usually involves spending a lot of your time at different client sites. If long distance travelling doesn’t fit with your lifestyle, then some areas, such as forensic accountancy, may not be for you.
- Research and understand both the businesses you’re applying to and the sector in general. Tailor your applications to each company – and don’t just rely on the company website – check the news, companies’ annual reports, and research competitors too.
- Look further than ‘the Big Four’. These companies can offer you very attractive training contracts, but it’s important to do a lot of research first and decide if this is what’s right for you. Many different companies with different disciplines exist out there – ultimately, you will be most successful in a company that is most aligned with your own interests and goals. Read our Accountancy Career Options article to get an idea of the choices you could make.
- Speak to current trainees – this is a great way of finding out more about the industry, what kind of role might suit you and what different companies are like – you’re more likely to get a real idea of what it’s like without the official PR spin, too.
- Be yourself – it’s important to be well researched, but in application forms don’t just try to write the answers you think employers want to hear – remember that they’re looking for someone who would fit well into the team, and a little personality can help your application to stand out.
Now take a look at what accountancy professionals have to say themselves in our accountancy profiles.