How to become an accountant in the UK?

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With the market size of the UK auditing and accounting industry generating a revenue of about £6.4 billion in 2022, this career is growing in popularity. In fact, UK businesses spend billions of pounds on tax services annually.

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The editorial staff
Jul 31, 23 · 8 min read
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But do you know what it takes to become a United Kingdom accountant? In this article, we’ll elaborate more on the skills and qualifications required to become an accountant.

Why should you become an accountant?

Generally, accountancy refers to the practise of reporting, classifying, and recording business/financial transactions. Accountants produce feedback on financial data that helps management make informed decisions. But why should you become an accountant in the UK?

Well, accountancy is a highly demanded skill that’s considered recession-proof worldwide. When times are hard, the marketing and sales departments will suffer but not the financial sector. And that’s because employees and the society turn to acountants to know when things will improve.

On top of that, acountants can work in most industries. But do I need to become a chartered accountant to practise? No, you don’t need to join the professional acountants body to practise.

What skills do I require to become an accountant?

Other than finishing the right courses, you’ll need the following skills to thrive as an accountant:

  • Organisational skills
  • Numeracy skills
  • Communication skills
  • Attention to skills
  • IT proficiency
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills

How to Become an Accountant in the UK?

Step 1: Take the right course

The first step to joining this career is deciding on the right training route. Generally, the minimum entry-level requirement is taking AAT training courses. To qualify for AAT, you don’t require any previous finance experience.

So you can take the AAT courses that take over 18 months. Online AAT accountancy classes can take up to 3 years.

To increase your chances of getting employed, you can try and get some experience while taking AAT training or a finance degree. Therefore, you should apply for a training contract and work while studying.

Remember, chartered accountancy courses require over 3 years of working experience. So working while studying can save you time.

If that’s not possible, then you can get an entry-level accounting position or internship after graduating. Make sure you gain the necessary experience before joining any of the chartered accounting bodies in the UK.

Step 2: Become a chartered accountant

Generally, you don’t need to become a chartered accountant to get work, but if you plan on specialising, then becoming one is mandatory. To become a chartered accountant, you can join the following bodies after finishing your AAT studies:

  • ACCA: To qualify, you need 3 years of work experience. If you don’t have these qualifications, then you can start with the foundation-level awards. Associate Chartered Certified Accountant qualification requires the accountant to finish 40 CPD units annually.
  • ACA: This qualification is the most prestigious program worldwide. Luckily, you don’t need a degree to get this accountancy certification, but a degree can give you an added advantage. On the other hand, the ones who go through ICAEW get this designation.
  • CIMA: The accounting body offers globally accepted accreditation for management accountants. This course is split into 3 levels and pillars with 12 exams.

Step 3: Pick a specialisation

Generally, the accounting career is split into 2 groups (financial and managerial sectors). Within these groups, you’ll find further specialisations, including financial and budget analysis. Financial acountants provide information to the people outside the company while management acountants provide details to the employees.

In the UK, managerial acountants aren’t required by law, since financial acountants can cover the entire company.

Most acountants go into financial accountancy, where they can get career prospects in:

  • Tax
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Corporate finance
  • Business insolvency and recovery
  • Audit

Step 4: Secure a job

After finishing your AAT courses, you can get a training contract and gain relevant professional experience. You can start your career as an apprentice. Apprenticeship can fast-track your way to getting a chartered status while gaining the necessary skills.

Another method you can use to get into this business is through volunteering or work placement. Shadowing can also give you the necessary professional skills and experiences to work in an office.

Remember, all acountants work in the not-for-profit sector, public, banking, financial services, industry, and commerce.


Accounting is a unique career that can’t be affected by a recession. In fact, accountants can work in a wide range of sectors. So you should start by taking AAT courses. But you need the right qualifications to join this career. After finishing your courses, you can get an apprenticeship and gain the necessary experience before specialising in any accounting field.

How to get relevant accounting experience?

Even with the right qualifications, most employers require you to have some experience before employing you. Therefore, before applying for accounting jobs, you should:
HowTo step image

1. Get your training contract

This contract lets you get an entry level job while studying. So you can get the necessary accountancy experience before you even graduate.

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