21 November 2012 09:34 AM

Five things you should know about graduate jobs in accounting

Interested in a graduate job in accounting? Accountancy isn’t just about number-crunching – you also need to be able to see the big picture when it comes to the future direction of a business. You will help companies of all sizes, from one-person businesses to multinational corporations and charities, manage their finances and comply with legislation. But what is a graduate career in accounting really like? Read on to find out the top five things you need to know before you start filling in that application form…

1. You will probably spend quite a lot of time away from home if you go into an audit role, especially if you work for one of the Big 4 accounting firms (KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young). There’s lots of driving and nights away from home at client sites, so you’ll need to develop a certain fondness for hotels, motorway service stations and fast food. If the thought of this brings you out in a cold sweat, the good news is that tax roles tend to be much more office-based.

2. There are three main paths that a graduate accountancy trainee might take after finishing university. Perhaps the best-known route is to train within an accountancy firm (such as the Big 4 or a smaller firm), providing a consultancy-based service to clients. However, you can also train within the finance department of a public sector organisation or a commercial business. Which brings us to…

3. Qualifications! One of the best reasons to get a graduate job in accounting is the training on offer, as it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your working life. And best of all, it’s usually funded by the company. You might also get paid time off to study. The qualification you study for will depend on the organisation you’re training with and the area you want to work in. If you’ve working with an accountancy firm, you’ll probably study the ACA or the ACCA – the former probably has the edge in terms of prestige, but the latter is often said to have more international recognition. If you’re studying within a business to become a management accountant, you’ll take the CIMA exams. Public sector accountancy trainees will study for CIPFA (in case it’s eluded you thus far, accountancy is a profession littered with confusing acronyms – so brush up!)


4. Entry to the profession is fairly stringent – you’ll usually need at least a 2.1 for the bigger firms. However, there are lots of routes, including those aimed at school leavers, so a degree isn’t a prerequisite. A good tip for aspiring accountants at all stages of their education is to get as much work experience as you can, whether it’s in a high-street firm or on a vacation placement with one of the Big 4. All relevant experience is good experience when it comes to getting your first accountancy job.



5. One of the most valuable things you’ll learn as an accountant working with clients is how to relate to different people and businesses – it’s a great way to make contacts across a wide range of areas. Plus, it’s interesting! If you enjoy finding out how things work and thrive on variety, you’ll probably enjoy working with external clients. One client might give you a plush, peaceful working area with a comfy chair and coffee on tap, while a small business might be tight for desk space and have you working in a meeting room or even in a warehouse. Even if you’re in-house, you’ll still be expected to be adaptable and flexible, as you may still need to visit different business sites.

So there you have it! If you're keen to find out more about graduate jobs in accounting and financial services, click here.

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07 November 2012 10:29 AM

Get Ahead Of The Graduate Jobs Game With A First-Year Insight Day

With competition for graduate jobs and internships getting stronger every year, it's essential to start your graduate job research early. While internships have been a familar aspect of the graduate job world for some time, insight days are relatively new, so you may not be familar with them.

Aimed at first-year undergraduate students, these are 'mini-internships' ranging in length from a day to a few days. They're designed to give you a taste of what it would be like to do an internship, placement or graduate programme with an employer. You'll meet current graduate trainees, attend presentations, and perhaps take a tour of the offices. Insight days are a fantastic addition to your CV, as well as a great way to network and get yourself noticed by future employers.

Many large graduate employers, including PwC and Lloyds Banking Group, will be running insight days in 2013.  Some recruiters say that they look for applicants who've done an insight day with the company when they come to select students for internships and placements. So it's definitely worth trying to bag a few if you can - click here to find out how to make great applications.



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02 August 2012 03:18 PM

What to expect from summer internships

Summer internships are a great way to work out if a particular career path is right for you – and when you get to the stage of filling in application forms and going for graduate job interviews, they will help you demonstrate your motivation and understanding of the industry you want to work in. Placements in large organisations such as banks, law firms and consultancies tend to be highly structured and place great emphasis on giving you a real taster of life at a particular company.

On a typical summer placement with a large company, you’ll likely get to have a go at some of the following: 
    •    Going along to seminars or presentations
    •    Office-based work such as helping with research on projects
    •    Going to client meetings
    •    Taking part in a business task with other placement students and giving a presentation on this at the end of the placement
    •    Socials – many firms will wine and dine you at least once during your internship!

By the end of your placement, you’ll have a definite idea of whether the company – and the career itself – is a good fit for you. For more info on how to make the most of graduate internships, click here.

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