We know it’s not easy to find a job in the current climate, but we want to make it easier for you. We’ve been in your shoes: we know what it’s like to be looking for your first job, or your next step after graduation. We understand how hard it is to get a foot in the door and make connections that can help you advance.

At MYP, we have extensive knowledge of Manchester’s workforce, and we partner with some of the most successful companies in the area. By working with us, you’ll have access to our network of employers and industry contacts who are eager to connect with motivated young professionals like yourself.

In this blog series, we’re going to explore various career paths you can embark on in Manchester. As we describe a wide range of career options for you, we’ll speak with industry experts from different sectors to provide you with tips and advice.

Today, we’ve got an incredibly insightful article surrounding the accountancy sector. One of the top 15 firms of accountants and business advisors, Haines Watts, has given us insight into the opportunities and challenges of working in accounting.

The world of accountancy – explained by leading firm, Haines Watts

Haines Watts is a leading independent accountancy, tax and business advisory firm based in the UK. The company operates over 50 offices across the country, offering its clients a wide range of services.

The company has been operating in the UK for more than 90 years and has an outstanding reputation within the industry.

Their track record shows that they are dedicated to helping their clients overcome all types of challenges, grow their business, and support them through every obstacle.

So, what did the team at Haines Watts have to say about working in the accounting industry?

Key statistics about the accountancy sector:

What career paths can you take within the industry?

If you’re considering a role in accountancy, there are an array of roles to choose from depending on where your interests and skills lie. Whether you’re a maths whizz, a master of data, or your skills lie in analysis, there is a role for you:

  • Auditor
  • Financial Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Cloud Accountant
  • Tax Accountant
  • Public Finance Accountant
  • Payroll Accountant
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Actuary
  • Investment Analyst

What are the different types of companies in the Accountancy sector?

In the accountancy sector, there are lots of different types of companies you can work for and we have detailed some of these, as well as the benefits associated with each type of company below…

  • The Big 4 – KPMG, EY, Deloitte & PWC
    • One of the key benefits of working at such firms is that the role will stand out on your CV and act as a potential door opener.
    • Opportunity to work with the largest companies within the UK.
  • Mid Tier accounting firms – including the likes of Haines Watts, Mazars and BDO.
    • Greater exposure to clients and their businesses.
    • Hands on learning, helping to develop a broad skill set.
    • Sense of ownership and more responsibility at an early stage in an employee’s career.

Why is accountancy a great career to have in 2022?

Accountancy has a much wider scope of impact than working purely with numbers and figures all day.

If you’re interested in the world around you, chances are that what you read in the news will have a real-life impact on the legislation and work that accountants and associated professionals do. A real stand out example of this is Brexit Professionals such as VAT experts play a key role in advising business owners on the changing legislation as a direct result of leaving the EU.

The accountancy sector has gone through some major changes in recent years. Gone are the days of paper tax returns and filing cabinets as the sector continues to make use of the most cutting-edge technology, making 2022/23 an exciting time to join the industry.

The abundance of apps available has resulted in an ever-increasing use of software for functions such as management reporting, business expense claims, cashflow, credit control and more.

As technology continues to revolutionise the industry, a whole new skill set is in demand, now requiring a more advanced understanding of computer programmes to enable them to create value for their clients. Accountants use technology to provide businesses with real time information, helping them to advise on strategy to achieve goals.

The scope of accountancy work is evolving, with more areas of work existing than ever before. With this in mind, professionals must keep up to date with technology to ensure they can advise on the best implementation of applications and become technology experts in their field. If you are interested in the latest technology and improving business processes through it then this could be the career for you.

What are the benefits of choosing accountancy as your career?

  • Clear career path and fantastic progression from accounting assistant to accounts manager and all the way up to corporate executive positions.
  • A profession with impact aimed at helping individuals, businesses and society through legislative, business and accountancy specific knowledge. Accountants can take on a client-facing advisory role that really allows them to learn about the businesses and people they are working with.
  • Highly flexible job roles due to the diverse opportunities available to professionals whether working in practice or in any industry within various sectors such as science, sport all the way through to manufacturing.
  • Working with cutting-edge technology is part and parcel of the day-to-day roles found within an accountancy firm. Professionals will be able to keep up to date with technological trends, ensuring their skillset remains highly coveted.
  • Generous salaries upon qualification.

How can you get a job in this sector?

There are a number of avenues that lead to a career in accountancy. Whether you’re a school leaver, graduate or looking for a change of career, your pathway into the field won’t hold you back from climbing the accountancy career ladder.

Apprenticeship – Apprenticeships provide a gateway into employment and allow you to develop valuable practical skills while gaining a recognised accountancy qualification. You will be learning on the job whilst completing formal exams along the way.

Degree – Professionals who have obtained an accounting degree at university will be able to enter into their qualification at a higher level and receive exemptions for a number of exams, depending on what area they choose to go into. They will complete the remainder of exams whilst working like those on the apprenticeship route.

Qualification – Being qualified under a governing institution will often improve employability and will often be linked to pay rises and promotions throughout your career. Being a qualified accountant can also open opportunities internationally as well as in the UK as obtaining qualifications demonstrates ability as well as quality and trust in the work you do.

What are the opportunities available once qualified?

When getting your qualifications as an accountant, it’s a world of opportunity and we’ve outlined a handful of the different roles you can go into…

  • From audit to tax, restructuring to transaction services, the Big 4 and mid-tier companies have lots of opportunities to try out different roles to suit your skillset.
  • Going into industry – when gaining your qualifications, you have the chance to go into the private sector and work for one company rather than a variety of clients across different industry sectors.
  • Corporate Finance/Private Equity – these have both been big growth areas for Manchester and there’s no sign of this stopping any time soon!

What do you need to know about this career path? Take it from the experts!

Antony Sassen – Director 

Personally, the best thing about accounting is the wide variety of clients you can work with – large international corporations, or small owner managed businesses with different demands, but all wanting you to help them out and solve their problems. It’s great doing this as part of a team where you can share experiences – and ask for help if needed!

The old image of the boring accountant surrounded by books and files is a distant memory (or should be if you are at the right firm). The growth of fintech means there are now countless tools we can introduce our clients to either to save them time, or provide them with insights that we have not been able to do in the past. 

As a practice we tend to recruit based on personality and fit with our values/culture and take new students on at both school leaver and graduate level which is a big change from when I was starting out when you needed to be a graduate (with the level of debt that brings!). Once you have your accountancy qualifications it opens many different doors in practice or in industry, but being a national firm with a small firm that is constantly looking to improve the way we do things makes us an ideal fit for many experienced hires as well as school leavers/graduates.

Rob Pooley – Business Services Assistant Manager

For me, the shift into a more digital way of working is a particular highlight of working in the accounting sector. From making tax digital, to being increasingly in touch with my clients, which is made possible through technology, has made accountancy an incredibly exciting sector to work in.

My role has changed a lot since I entered the profession and the use of cloud-based accounting software has opened avenues into advisory and consultancy work, something I would never have even pictured when I first chose this career!

I now have a huge scope of work within my role such as cash flow forecasts, payment solutions, credit control, expense claim management and data capture input. My day to day is so varied and the scope of businesses I get to meet never fails to fascinate me. 

Accountancy has allowed me to meet people from every walk of life and helping these people run their businesses is incredibly rewarding. 

Working in accountancy in the digital age, where real-time information allows businesses to improve their decision-making and allows them to flourish can be very fast paced but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How can MYP help you land your dream job in accounting?

As Manchester continues to grow, we continue to shed light on its many sectors, businesses, and opportunities. In order to bring people in your desired field together, we host a number of networking events for young professionals.

Ensure you follow us on Instagram for regular updates on networking events and exciting articles!