Accountants provide auditing, administration and financial advisory work to clients, mostly on a fee basis. Work may be project based or follow ongoing client relationships, with some accountants choosing to become specialised in an area such as tax planning or insolvency. Whilst you do not need a degree or even A-levels to train as an accountant, the process to becoming chartered takes at least three years and involves a tough regime of exams and work experience. Beyond strong numerical skills, it is important for accountants to have good problem solving and client facing skills. Let’s take a look at insights directly from graduates in the accounting field…

1.Daily tasks

‘Much of the work is based at client site, liaising directly with client staff such as the finance team, financial controller, FD, etc. Testing for instances involves gaining evidence concerning how certain financial statement captions have moved since earlier periods to attest their reasonableness, and make sure that the company is likely to continue trading without undue risk for at least the next 12 months. Additionally, we check transactions and events to supporting documentation such as invoices, contract agreements, etc. There are frequent meetings with members of the client team to provide additional evidence and thorough understanding of particular issues. We look at the drivers of financial information to ensure that the amounts in the accounts are stated correctly, and that relationships with stakeholders are disclosed appropriately.’
Associate, Audit at Deloitte
‘I deal with the analysis of Sales & Margin, the two most important figures within any business. I work closely with the Finance Director and controller as well as Directors of various segments within the Philips Lighting business.’
Commercial Finance Analyst, at Philips UK
‘Whether in the office or at a client, the working day usually involves producing working papers, usually in the form of spreadsheets, relating to data which is relevant to the client for whom I am working. This involves analysing a lot of numerical information and preparing it in a format which others will be familiar with.’
Assistant, Corporate Services at Hazlewoods LLP

2. Best and worst things about your job

‘Given reponsibilities early on, including client contact. Good opportunity for career progression. Extensive training. Some repetitive tasks.’
Associate, Tax, Glasgow at Deloitte
‘Exposure at board level, and the responsibility at an early stage in your career.’
Commercial Finance Analyst, at Philips UK
‘A lot of independence from day one. Opportunities to gain experience of working for clients and to meet a variety of people. Plenty of support from peers and senior staff. Open plan office environment, which is quite sociable. Opportunity to gain a professional qualification in accountancy. Sometimes lack of stimulating work in quiet periods. It is necessary to study after work during revision periods which can be very demanding.’
Assistant, Corporate Services at Hazlewoods LLP

3. Average working hours

9am – 6pm

4. Average graduate salary

£25,000 – £27,000

5. Interview tips

Application Advice: BDO love to see that you actually understand what the company is about, so research the values and goals of the company. When answering application questions make sure you are prepared to expand on those answers in the interview.
Interview Advice: When asked a question in an interview, expand and give as much detail to your answer as possible. There is nothing worse then giving a one word answer or for the interviewer to have to ask lots of questions in order to get enough information they require. Be yourself and make conversation, the interviewer will be looking to see if you will fit into the existing team.
Audit trainee, Audit at BDO LLP
Application Advice: Understand the innocent values through and through. Everything in the recruitment process is measured by how you fit them.
Interview Advice: Come casual, read the innocent book.
Supply Chain Finance Analyst, Supply Chain at Innocent Drinks
Application Advice: Be yourself, assessors are evaluating how well you fit in your team and with Imperial’s values not just your competence.
Interview Advice: Do your research, be friendly and have fun!
Group Finance at Imperial Tobacco

Click here to view the full range of job reviews by graduates in accountancy and view the video below for more information on what it’s like to work in tax at Deloitte.

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