Accounting career paths for newly qualified accountants in the UK

Ali Arslan our consultant managing the role
Author: Ali Arslan

ACA. ACCA. CIMA. AAT. ICAS. CIPFA. 

If you’re reading this, you probably know what these qualifications are and understand the importance they hold in a career in accountancy. 

Having an accountancy qualification can unlock accounting career paths in a way that normal degrees can’t. 

And as many of you approach qualified status in the coming months, I thought now would be a good time to map out some career progression options available to you as a newly qualified accountant. 

Internal Audit 

Nearly all businesses need an internal auditor to make objective evaluations, manage risks and oversee governance efforts. They are essential to a business’ financial health.

To succeed in an internal auditor role, you will need an analytical mind and be comfortable taking initiative, as this role includes a lot of project-based work. 

With that said, what internal audit roles lack in glamour, they make up for in excitement. Most internal auditors are expected to travel between businesses. The amount of travel varies by employer, but there may be opportunities for overseas travel with larger businesses. 

Public Practice Accountancy

Working in a public practice means joining a professional services or accountancy business that provides services to a broad range of organisations. The opportunities available to you are extensive if you take this route. 

You will be preparing accounts, undertaking audits, and handling tax issues. When most people think of public practice accountancy, they think of the “Big 4”, KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte. But in reality, public practice accountants are in place in accountancy businesses of all sizes. 

Commerce and Industry 

Arguably, accounting within industry is one of the more attractive options available to newly qualified accountants, as there is a diverse range of businesses looking for your skills.

As an accountant in commercial business, you must be able to quickly adapt to new opportunities that arise in the company.

You are also an important link between different stakeholders, so you must be great at communicating effectively. 

Group Consolidation Accounting 

Large businesses sometimes organise themselves as a group of companies. Group accounting is the process of combining the financial results of several subsidiary companies into the combined financial results of a parent company. 

Group consolidation accounting work tends to appeal to people with strong excel skills.

You will also need excellent written and verbal communication skills, as you will be dealing with a broad range of stakeholders, some of which could be internationally based. It would also be helpful if you had a clear understanding of complex group structures and consolidations. 

Business and Commercial Analysis 

Business and commercial analysts are responsible for gathering financial information and operational data about an organisation. These types of analysts often sit within the finance team of a business and help drive the financial direction of the business. 

This role is much more focused on identifying business improvement opportunities and driving efficiency. You will use data to build a narrative and aid decision-making. 

Commercial analysis roles might be the right direction for you post-qualification if you really enjoy financial modelling, undertaking competitor analysis and working with data. 

Tax 

A specialist tax accountant's role is to ensure corporate tax compliance, prepare tax returns and accurately calculate a company’s tax liability. Efficient, effective, and legal tax compliance and reporting are essential for businesses financial and reputational health. You can view some of our current opportunities in tax here.

Typically, your duties include researching tax law, liaising with HMRC on your client’s behalf, completing tax forms and auditing records. The more senior you become, it is increasingly likely you will specialise in one of these particular areas.

Fund and Investment Accounting 

Fund and investment accounting roles are highly competitive. Companies and corporations use investing accountants to ensure that their funds are achieving their targets while remaining compliant. 

To be successful in this field of accountancy, you need a strong academic background, but excellent interpersonal skills, as you will be the link between the investor and business

Forensic Accounting 

A career in forensic accountancy is ideal if you're looking for a specialist role that requires meticulous attention to detail and excellent numeracy skills, combined with an investigative mindset. 

The demand for forensic accountants has grown increasingly over the past two years. There are a number of different avenues available to you once qualified. 

Forensic accountants are in demand in both the public and private sector across banking, police forces, insurance firms and government agencies. 

Unlock an accounting career path in the UK with Marks Sattin 

As the UK and Ireland’s premier finance and accountancy recruitment specialist, we have unparalleled access to a broad range of accounting and finance roles to fit your personality and skills. 

Our consultants have in-depth knowledge of trends, packages, and can effectively consult on your post-qualification career journey. 


Explore our accounting career options today or sign up to join our community for newly qualified accountants.

31/01/24
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