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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10 September 2012 09:48 AM

Top Tips For Developing The Skills You Need For A Graduate Job

  • Network, network, network! Family, friends, contacts you meet by chance – it all counts!

  • Go to university careers fairs and employer presentations – not only can you pick up lots of helpful info on the industries you’re keen on, you will also have the chance to make a lasting impression with recruiters.


A final tip - believe in your own abilities and focus on presenting yourself as confident...but not arrogant. No one wants to spend all day working with someone who's full of themselves!

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22 August 2012 10:21 AM

5 Things You Need to Know About Engineering Graduate Jobs

Engineering can get a bit of a bad rep, unfortunately, which is a shame because it has the potential to be one of the most satisfying and stable careers out there. Read on to find out five things every aspiring engineer must know:

  1. It's not just for the guys! Watch this film to find out what women who work in engineering have to say - the general consensus seems to be that not only is it not nearly as 'blokey' as you might think, it's also easier to get noticed for being good at your job when you're the only woman on the team!
  2. There are plenty of jobs in engineering companies for non-engineers - think Sales and Marketing, Project Management, HR, Logistics. A graduate scheme at an engineering company can be a great way to get transferable business skill that will translate to a wide range of careers.
  3. It can offer some of the most flexible hours of any professional job - many companies offer perks like flexitime, and some even give you every Friday afternoon off - yes, really! 
  4. Some engineering graduate schemes will consider candidates with a 2.2 - so this industry can be a good choice if you've not quite hit the grade you hoped for.
  5. Engineering can offer the option of lots of international travel if that's something that takes your fancy - definitely worth bearing in mind, we say!

For more information on careers in engineering, click here.

Or click on the image below...

 


08 August 2012 10:30 AM

Four things you need to know about a graduate career in law

Every year many hopeful graduates apply for coveted and scarce graduate schemes at top law firms. Known in the industry as training contracts, these demanding but well-rewarded positions often come with a hefty sponsorship deal to help graduates through the final stages of their legal training before they join the firm. If you’re one of these hopefuls, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons! Read on for our top things you must think about before you even start to fill out application forms:

1. Make sure you want to work in law for the right reasons
Do you have a real and genuine interest in the law? Do you believe you will find the role as a solicitor or barrister enjoyable and challenging, or are you only interested in the money and perceived prestige it can bring? Do you enjoy logic, details and intellectual challenge? Are you happy working through piles of paperwork? Can you explain complex terms clearly, to people who have no idea what you’re talking about, without sounding patronising? Be honest about your personality and skills, and you’ll be happier in the long run. But equally, don’t rule out law just because you have visions of brash City boys spending 18 hours a day in the office – there are many different types of law and many different law firm cultures. Don’t assume you won’t fit in because of your gender, background or personality. Which leads on to…

…

2. Research!
If the idea of this makes you glaze over, law is probably not the profession for you – it’s research-intensive! If you’re the kind of person who can pick out vital bits of study texts and speedily interpret them without plodding though the whole book, this will stand you in good stead. Find out all you can about the career paths and firms that interest you. Do you know the day-to-day differences between being a solicitor and a barrister (beyond ‘one of them wears a wig’)? Do you have a specific idea of the geographical area or specialism you want to work in, or are you looking for a company that will give you a broad range of experience? 



3. Work experience
This doesn’t have to be legal, particularly if you can demonstrate decent business experience – for example, if you had a placement year at university. If you can get on a vacation scheme at a large firm, this will help you decide if commercial law is for you – but if you can’t it’s not the end of the world! Voluntary work with legal aid organisations, shadowing a family friend who’s a barrister, or working part-time as an office assistant at high street law firms all count. Good employers will accept that people come from different backgrounds and can bring different things to the table. Having said that, if you turn up for an interview and tell a senior partner that you’ve got no business or legal experience but you want to be a lawyer because you like watching Boston Legal and you want to make loads of money, expect to get short shrift.



4. Be realistic about your prospects
If you don’t have, at MINIMUM, a mid-to-high 2.1 and at least one or two As at A-Level, you stand little chance of making it into a top law firm. There is huge competition for places, and although firms will take your circumstances into account, they do have to have a cut-off point somewhere! Last year there were 4,874 training places available, whilst for the same year 7,064 people registered on the LPC (the last stage of academic legal training) – so you need to be one of the best. Becoming a barrister is even more competitive and is really not for the faint-hearted – there are far more applicants every year than there are training places, and as the Bar is very academic in slant you really do need a First (or a lot of luck and a 2.1) to be in with a chance. The moral of the story is that it is probably not worth forking out the many thousands it will cost you to train in either profession if you’re unlikely to get a job at the end of it and make that money back. The exception to this rule is if you have high grades but just haven’t managed to secure a training contract that pays for your training before you start your legal studies, or if you have good grades but want to work for a smaller firm that doesn’t offer sponsorship. But if you have less than a solid, 65%+ 2.1, you are probably better off pursuing other career paths. Honesty with yourself is the best policy!

To find out more about different careers in law, click here.


The Law Society and the Bar Council websites are packed with useful information and are great place to start researching your legal career.

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