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- Specialism: Compliance
- Sector: Public Sector
- Office: Manchester
Type a day in the life of sellick from Bulqees Majid
If you are training to become an Accountant, you will need to think about what educational route and career path would suit you best. By doing so, you will be able to find an accountancy job that meets your long-term professional goals.To have a successful career in accountancy, you will need to ensure that you have the right training and professional qualifications to give you the skills and credentials that employers are looking for. This means thinking carefully about what is needed when training to become an accountant.Fortunately, accounting offers a great deal of flexibility as a career path, meaning there are numerous potential routes that candidates can take to secure their accounting qualifications, obtain essential skills and secure a desirable role with an accountancy firm or private company.Here, we will discuss the various pathways that accountants (or those thinking about a career within the sector) can explore to obtain the accounting qualifications they will need, as well as exploring additional soft skills and credentials that can maximise your chances of landing the accounting job you want.What are the different routes to obtaining accounting qualifications?One of the most positive aspects of training to become an accountant is the broad range of different routes and pathways that can be taken. Rather than being locked into a single career path, you will have several options available, allowing you to progress your accountancy career at your own pace, according to your level of prior learning and your preferred industry focus.Becoming a chartered accountantMany accountants choose to go down the academic route, focusing on getting the professional qualifications they need to become a chartered accountant as quickly as possible. This approach is most suitable for candidates who already have a relevant educational qualification as a starting point – this will usually be an accountancy or finance degree, or a qualification in a related area of study, such as economics. Going down this route to become a chartered accountant is generally seen as the more technical and workload-heavy approach, involving significant amounts of study and reporting. The key benefit is that you can become a fully qualified accountant much sooner, as this will exempt you from having to obtain the foundation-level AAT qualification stages, skipping straight to professional qualifications such as the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). By committing to take on the workload required to get fully qualified through the chartered accountant route, you will be able to obtain high-level credentials in just a few years, meaning you will be able to command a better average salary in the early years of your career, and potentially put yourself in high demand among leading accountancy firms.Becoming an accountant through industry placementsThe main alternative to becoming a chartered accountant is to pursue an industry route, which involves taking on an entry-level placement or apprenticeship with an accountancy firm, performing basic administrative work such as processing invoices while studying at the same time.This approach does not require the same level of prior academic training, making it a good starting point for candidates from a wider range of educational backgrounds. Through this pathway, you can become an AAT qualified accountant through a combination of studying in your spare time and practical work on the job, giving you a solid grounding in basic accountancy work before moving on to a professional level ACA, CIMA or ACCA qualification.By qualifying through this industry pathway, a broad range of career opportunities will be available to you. Although the starting salaries tend to be lower than for chartered accountants, industry roles tend to pay better at the top end, and by forming relationships with an accountancy firm or business during your time spent as an apprentice, you can often transition naturally from a training agreement to a full-time role. This can however, put limitations on opportunities eventually as more senior roles within Finance require a professional qualification.Which route is right for me?Choosing the right training pathway will often vary depending on whether you have an existing accounting degree to help you obtain chartered status, but it will also depend on what kind of accounting role you are ultimately looking for.For example, if you are interested in auditing, it will be easier to get this sort of work through the chartered accountancy route, whereas those who are more interested in management accounting will usually find more of these roles in the business world. When you are just starting your career, you may not immediately know which accountancy specialism is right for you, so taking time to work this out can be very helpful in mapping out a career route.You should also remember that many careers within accounting can be quite fluid, giving you the opportunity to switch the focus of your job over time as your skills and interests evolve. Many chartered accountants move into industry roles later in their careers in order to achieve a higher salary, while other professionals will choose to move laterally between roles and accountancy specialisms, using their transferrable skills to pursue new challenges.Whether this will be possible for you will depend on your specific skills. For example, those with auditing skills will find that these can transfer easily to general accounting and reporting roles, whereas skills relating to tax and filing tax returns are more niche and specialised.What other skills are accountancy employers looking for?When applying for an accountancy job, it is vital to remember that employers will also be assessing your practical skills in addition to your accounting qualification status. This means you will need to work on cultivating and obtaining any additional soft skills and qualifications that may help to differentiate your application from others.Although these practical skills will depend on the exact role, many employers will be looking for the following:Good working knowledge of the systems and technologies that are used most often in financial accountancy. In particular, this should include Microsoft Excel, due to the significant reliance on spreadsheets in processing financial information.Qualifications in using common business accounting software platforms such as Sage and Xero, both of which offer online courses to obtain a qualification. Accountants can then learn to utilise larger-scale accounting systems such as SAP as their career progresses.Personal attributes and capabilities such as problem-solving, self-motivation and a strong commitment to the highest standards of financial accounting. To succeed at an accounting firm, you will need to have drive and hunger, with a willingness to study and expand your knowledge in your spare time to pass your accountancy courses.By exhibiting these credentials, you will give yourself the best chance of progressing through your accounting courses quickly and landing a desirable job within this fast-moving and flexible sector, setting you up for a long and successful career in financial accounting.Find out moreIf you are looking to become an accountant and want guidance and support in navigating the accounting jobs market, Sellick Partnership can help. We can offer advice on training to become an accountant, including your career path options and the key skills that are valued most highly by accountancy firms and other employers.Learn more by visiting our Finance and Accountancy recruitment hub, where you can browse our latest finance & accountancy jobs, or call us on 0161 834 1642.
Changing jobs can be a daunting prospect and it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially when there’s a level of uncertainty involved. So, when is the right time to leave your current role?There could be a number of reasons for making a move, whether it’s down to a lack of progression, training and development or you feel the company has no clear direction. Alternatively, you may have been overlooked for a promotion without any constructive feedback and have heard that the market can offer a better package than your company is willing to give you.Here, we will offer our expert knowledge on the journey you may embark upon when it comes to changing roles, touching on the challenges you could face and the ways you can overcome them. Deciding when it’s the right time for a new challenge and companyIt’s never an easy decision to make a move, however, when you are not content with your current work situation this needs to be addressed. You should take the time to think it through properly: has this been a bad day/week for me or am I really not feeling fulfilled in my role anymore?If you genuinely don’t feel content, you need to consider whether there is anything that your manager or company can do to change your frustrations. If there is something they can do to make a genuine difference to you then it might be sensible to have that conversation before starting any job search.It is important to give your current employer the opportunity to address any concerns you have, so that if you do decide to leave, you know that everything was done to make this position and company work for you.If at the end of the day you still decide that this position is no longer suitable, you need to consider what your push and pull factors are before starting your new job search.What you can look for in a new roleAs well as updating your CV, make sure you take time to document what you are not getting from your current position, company and culture - make this a point of focus for your next company and job.This will ensure you give your attention to the roles that will take your career in the right direction. Additionally, it will guarantee that you ask the right questions during the interview stage/s or to recruitment consultants.Tailoring your CV to each applicationIt is really important when applying for a job to tailor your CV to the role – this applies to both applying direct for a position and applying via a recruitment agency like Sellick Partnership.When you are making changes to the document, you want to be confident that your skillset reflects the job description for the role you’re applying for. Although it will take some additional time, you could re-write your CV to pull out relevant experiences. Ultimately, this can be the difference between being shortlisted for interview and not.Make sure you are focusing on where you have added value in your role (you specifically – not the wider team) rather than just a list of duties. This will enable you to really stand out during the application process.It could be by highlighting that you worked with the commercial team to refocus their efforts towards high margin items rather than high revenue with low profit, to increase company earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA).The interview processInterviews can be intimidating for most people. However, it is always worth reminding yourself that you are interviewing the company to make sure they are a good fit for you, just as they will be. If you have taken time to consider what you want, applied for the roles that suit your skillset and have prepared by researching the company as best you can, then you will be in a good place to interview.You need to understand and establish some points that relate to the value you add against the job specification - how you can deliver this succinctly and allow your personality to shine through.Because this is two-way process, make sure you have a list of things that are important to you and ask the interviewer things such as ‘what opportunities are there to progress in this role?’ and/or ‘where do you think the company is headed in the next five years?’ This could enable you to decide if this is the right fit for you.On a final note, one of the common questions at the moment is what to wear to an interview post-pandemic. Nothing has changed in this respect – you can never be overdressed for an interview, so err on the side of caution and dress smartly, regardless of whether this is an in-person interview or a video conference.Offer and acceptanceThe offer stage can be equally as daunting as the interview/s and you want to get the best offer possible, which is where going through a recruiter pays dividends. Not only will you understand from the first discussion what the market is paying for your skill set and what the prospective employer can provide (including benefits), but you will also have had a serious discussion about the salary or package that you would be happy to accept.Through using an experienced recruiter, you mitigate the risk of low ball offers (one that is deliberately too low) and have a trusted, highly skilled consultant to negotiate that on your behalf. This way you know you have received the best offer possible.Handing in your noticeHanding in your notice is never easy but the best course of action is to clearly explain your reasons to your manager. When your company realises you are leaving for the same reasons that you had addressed previously, and they understand that the new role offers you those solutions, they should accept that there is nothing that can be done. Alternatively, they may realise that they should have corrected any issues before you got to this stage.Having said that, be prepared for a counter offer if you are still adding value to your company or team. This is particularly important at the moment, when finding talented individuals is difficult in a candidate-short market. However, although more money and other incentives may seem appealing, try to remember your initial reasons for handing in your notice.Have you been offered a new job but you’re not sure what to do when it comes to handing in your #notice? Read our complete guide to help you on your way https://t.co/9pnLnUy9XX#newjob#jobpic.twitter.com/jqM33cL3VY— Sellick Partnership (@SellickGroup) March 31, 2022Alongside moving house, getting married and becoming a first-time parent, changing jobs is seen as being one of the top four most stressful periods in your life. Make sure you know exactly what will make you happy and what you want to achieve with a job move. The final decision often comes down to your gut feeling: if it still makes sense after gathering as much information as possible and weighing up the pros and cons then it probably is.If you would like any advice on your next move whether it be, how to decide what is right for you, how to right a good CV or general interview tips then get in touch with myself or Sellick Partnership.
Typically, the finance and accountancy divisions of many organisations are finding it difficult to recruit staff in a candidate-short market. Only by highlighting the potential job prospects available and structured career development plans, coupled with more flexibility and improved financial packages, will they be able to secure the best available talent. Like many other UK specialisms, the finance and accountancy sector has seen continued growth in 2022 after overcoming many of the challenges created by the pandemic. As such, businesses are breaking from the cautious approach that they displayed over the last couple of years to take advantage of the significant opportunities in the marketplace. However, one of the main obstacles in ensuring future growth is the shortage in skilled candidates which has made it difficult for the finance and accountancy field to take on the required needs. Without taking steps to address this problem, these companies may struggle to achieve their ambitions. Here, we will look at the potential reasons why so many organisations are experiencing talent shortages at the moment, and explore some of the most important steps they can take to put themselves at the front of the queue for the best available candidates. The challenges facing the current hiring market Even though there have been signs of slow improvement since the start of 2022, the candidate shortage remains as challenging as it has been at any point in the last 20 years. As a result, businesses are more reliant on specialist recruitment support from firms such as Sellick Partnership than ever before. This is due to our extensive coverage over the last two decades, with an abundance of market knowledge and candidate/client relationships. Despite the recognised need for assistance, it’s still helpful to understand why these challenges have emerged over the last few years: Many individuals who are established in finance and accountancy roles are reluctant to leave their current positions, due to the uncertain conditions that have affected the economy in the last few years, coupled with the instability moving forward. As many businesses are thriving, employees are happier to remain in their current roles and reap the benefits with regards to internal promotional opportunities as well as receiving their bonuses, rather than moving elsewhere. Those that have established their position within a company may subsequently experience more flexibility. Therefore, they can become reluctant to move to another company where they may need to return to the office and feel they have to exceed expectations to gain the type of flexibility they previously had. As a result of all of these trends, it is crucial for businesses that are looking to hire to ensure they are creating an employment offering that provides individuals with a strong incentive to choose their business, rather than simply relying on the assumption that the talent will come to them because of their growth plans, brand or culture. The growing importance of salaries Naturally, one of the most important factors to consider for new recruits is salary and remuneration. This has always been an important factor for employers, but the challenges of the current market are making this particular issue more central for candidates than ever before. One of the key factors in this trend is the rising rate of inflation and the growing cost of living crisis, with the Bank of England recently increasing interest rates for the third time since December and the price of everyday essentials, from food and petrol to mortgage repayments, all escalating as a result of macroeconomic factors such as Brexit and the Russia-Ukraine war. These issues are impacting an entire population, regardless of salary levels - and candidates are pricing these factors into their decision-making when looking for a new role. As such, employers are acknowledging that they may have to pay the market rate and therefore put more consideration into the financial package being offered. In response to this: Businesses are now aware that they have to put pay details front and centre when it comes to the recruitment process. They have become more accepting that salary will be one of the main discussion points during the interview stage. Many companies are making the deliberate choice to overpay for candidates relative to their level, providing salaries that are significantly above the market rate, knowing that this may be necessary to secure the best available candidates when there are fewer alternatives. Acting fast has become a priority when choosing a candidate and offering a role. Remote interviews are providing speed, that on top of the pre-screening and background-checking of candidates by recruitment firms, ensures they are able to get their offer in front of the chosen applicant as quickly as possible. We have found that companies are working with recruitment businesses – like Sellick Partnership - to devise a salary structure and budget that can allow them to compete for the best available talent, without creating discord or internal issues among existing employees. The simple truth is that in the current economic climate, it’s only to be expected that financial packages will be a key consideration for skilled finance professionals, and candidates are displaying transparency around this. If two offers are otherwise equal, applicants are likely to choose the role that provides a higher salary — and employers need to adjust to the reality of this supply-and-demand model. Creating a flexible and rounded employment offering Although important, pay is not the only way for finance and accountancy departments to create an employment offering that meets the needs and expectations of clients. With more and more companies and workers now understanding the importance of a good work-life balance and a focus on mental health, businesses throughout the finance sector are adjusting to work smarter, offering greater flexibility than ever before on home working — even in sales roles, when it was once presumed that being based in the office was an essential prerequisite. Career development has also come to the forefront to a greater extent than ever before. Although this was always a key part of any recruitment offer, it has become even more crucial, as the best and most ambitious professionals are unlikely to want to change jobs unless they can step into a role that offers them plenty of scope to receive training and mentorship, broaden their skills, climb the ladder and feel valued and rewarded for their work. Are you worried about getting caught out by tough questions during your interview? Check out our list of common interview questions, with guidance on formulating the perfect answers here: https://t.co/5ujIuQjPCE pic.twitter.com/nTvy9pyg6A — Sellick Partnership (@SellickGroup) March 8, 2022 Conclusion Despite the financial package being imperative to candidates, they are also looking for flexible, forward-thinking roles that offer development opportunities that align with their personal goals. Some of the changes that have been highlighted may be more difficult for financial businesses and accountancy firms to take on than others. Companies may require the support and assistance of a specialist recruiter to help them overhaul and modernise their recruitment offering. However, only recognising the scale of the challenge will they be able to overcome it. As 2022 progresses, it is clear that there remains substantial scope for growth for the finance and accountancy sector. By modernising their recruitment infrastructure to meet the needs of candidates, they can give themselves the best chance of getting the people they need on board to maximise their potential. For more advice on how finance and accountancy firms can recruit and thrive even in the face of candidate shortages, get in touch with Sellick Partnership. Visit our Finance & Accountancy sector recruitment page to find out more about our process and services, or explore our online resources to get further insights into the current state of the sector.