Here’s some advice for graduates considering a career in Financial Accounting. I’ve answered your top questions about becoming a Financial Accounting Trainee and included some tips on how to make sure you’ve chosen the right career path.
1. How do I get a job as a Financial Accounting Trainee? What skills, qualifications and experience do I need?
The good news is that ‘experience’ is not always a necessity when looking to obtain your first role in accountancy. Having a good level of numeracy, showing willingness to learn, being IT literate and having good communication skills are all traits that will assist you greatly, in getting that first position.
With regards to qualifications, studying AAT or a professional accounting qualification such as ACA, ACCA or CIMA post-graduation or completion of AAT, will stand you in very good stead for the rest of your career and all of the above qualifications are globally recognised.
Deciding whether you would like to train within an Accountancy Practice or for a specific organisation, be it within Commerce & Industry or Not-For-Profit, may well affect which qualification you decide to study hence, it is worth doing your research on this before making any applications.
2. What skills can I learn as a Financial Accounting Trainee?
A Trainee Accountant will need to learn a diverse range of skills. Being able to differentiate between the following is essential:
The basics that you will learn will include ‘Double Entry Bookkeeping’ ie. you need to know how to work with Debits and Credits (you would be surprised how many candidates get their Debits and Credits mixed up during a double entry question at interview!) as well as understanding the different kinds of Journals and Ledgers.
3. What sort of career paths can I follow from an Financial Accounting Trainee?
The opportunities available to Trainee Accountants are endless and will vary depending on what your strengths and preferences are. Once you have completed a professional accounting qualification you will have a better idea of which area you would like to focus on.
For example, you could choose a commercial role, business partnering role within an organisation or a more technical role leaning towards statutory accounting and compliance - the options are vast.
4. Are there many jobs as Financial Accounting Trainees out there?
It is still a very competitive market for budding accountants of the future but the more you have to offer with regards to your skill-set, the better your employment chances are.
There are several ways to get your first role as a Trainee Accountant, depending on what level of qualification you hold.
A few examples include;
It would be worth making contact with a specialist finance recruiter in your local area to get up to date market knowledge and an understanding of what you might need to do to get your first role. Apprenticeships are also becoming more common in today’s market place.
5. Extra tips and insight
If you struggle with a particular skill-set or trait required of a Trainee Accountant, all is not lost! It is important to ensure that you make up for this elsewhere. For example, if you don’t have the strongest communication skills you could further develop your IT skills and become a finance systems specialist.
The important thing for Trainee Accountants looking to progress within the accountancy and finance world is to apply yourself and work hard – and always try to add value where you can.