The basics
THE UK: Subject Guides

A career in Accounting

Accounting is and has been one of the popular subjects among the students, read more about this exciting career path.


Accounting is and has been one of the popular subjects among the students. The flexibility in the knowledge gained from a degree in accounting helps students gain a valuable insight into the workings of the financial world. There is a variety of modules ranging from corporate finance to auditing, tax and even some basic law which attracts most of the students in undertaking the degree in Accounting.

Accounting is basically a systematic process of identifying and recording transactions of any business and interpreting those transactions in an organised manner through financial statements to its shareholders. It is basically a process of communicating financial information of a business to its stakeholders that has occurred in the past or its trading year. Such recording, analysing and presenting of financial statements is done by an accountant.

The process of becoming an accountant:

The process of qualifying as a professional accountant in the UK is very straightforward. The process involves of gaining work experience for about 3 years within an accounting firm after your degree. At the same time a series of examinations needs to be passed which are set by one of the top four professional accountancy bodies.

The professional accountancy bodies are:

Advantages of doing a degree in Accounting:

 One doesn’t have to have a degree in accounting in order to become an accountant but it is beneficial to have the degree on accounting if you are seriously considering pursuing your career by becoming an accountant. Another advantage of having a degree in accounting is the exemptions on few of the exams set by the professional accountancy bodies.

Another advantage of doing a degree in Accounting is that it allows you the flexibility of choosing a different career path within the business sector. The business and quantitative skills developed through the degree in accounting are highly prized by a variety of employers and this allows you to decide against a professional accounting career and may be choose a different career in business and finance.

The Accounting firms:-

There are many accounting firms for a graduate to undertake that 3 years experience to become a professional qualified accountant. These firms are categorised in three main groups:

  1. Multinational professional service firms :- These are the top accounting firms which operate worldwide such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers known as ‘The Big Four’.
  2. Second-tier professional service firms:-  These are also the firms which hold national and international presence and high-profile organisations in their client list. Eg: BDO, Grant Thronton, Mazzars
  3. Regional accountancy practices:- The firms are generally small and are limited within geographical region. Such firms could be sole traders or in partnerships catering to the small businesses that run locally.


The requirements depend upon different universities because of their ranking and the benchmark set by such universities in order for any students to be eligible to study. However being an international student, IELTS test pass certificate is one of the requirements and the minimum level of education required to enrol in an accounting degree is necessary. In general, education equivalent to 3 A levels is preferable and generally the degree course lasts for 3 years.

A career in accounting is very rewarding. For an average trainee accountant the starting salary is 22K depending upon the firm and the location. It has the potential of great earnings as owning a firm and working for yourself gives you no limit on how much you can earn. The demand for accountants is always high, especially in areas where new businesses are blooming. In times of recession, many professionals in other areas were made redundant but the demand for accountants was not adversely affected as businesses still needed them to keep record of the financial transactions and to analyse financial statements.

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