Accountancy is typically open to graduates of any degree though some subjects would be advantageous or may be preferred by some firms. Typically you will need strong numeracy and analytical skills along side other transferable skills, check job descriptions or the profiles on this page to find out more.

If you choose to go down the accountancy route, there are a few different paths you can take. The information from the different professional bodies will tell you about the qualifications and routes.

Chartered accountant

Chartered Accountants visit clients as part of an audit team, reviewing their business operations & financial records to establish the validity of the company's accounts (also know as 'sign off').

The majority of graduates entering professional accountancy careers will train as Chartered Accountants. Most of these will train in public practice (a firm of chartered accountants), offering audit and business advice services such as tax and risk assurance to clients.

Many of the trainees will work towards the ACA qualification. The ACA qualification is gained through one of a number of professional bodies in the UK - ICAEW (England & Wales) and ICAI (Ireland). There is also scope to take the ACA qualification globally ICAEW global. ICAS provide the CA qualification and train students throughout the UK and Channel Islands.

For graduate jobs, training schemes and internships as well as further information, please see the following links.

Chartered certified accountant

Chartered Certified Accountants can work in either public practice, industry or the public sector.

They differ from Chartered Accountants in that they tend to work more operationally, in smaller accountancy practices and/or for smaller clients - although this is a broad generalisation.

Chartered Certified Accountants will have to complete the ACCA qualification.

Chartered management accountant

Management Accountants are different to Chartered Accountants in that they do not work for a public practice. Instead they work 'in house' based within one organisation as an employee of that organisation (eg BP, Unilever).

They monitor and manage that firm's accounts but cannot independently audit them or sign them off. Their work is integrated with the rest of the management team for that business, and they have a more 'forward looking', strategic and operational involvement in the finances of the business. Their role combines accounting skills with business management skills.

Management Accountants complete the CIMA qualification.

Chartered public finance accountant

Public Finance Accountants are employed in the public sector and manage the accounts of public sector organisations such as local government, central government and the NHS. They tend to operate in-house as with Management Accountants, and they appreciate not just the profit motive, but the need for other outcomes when making financial decisions.

Public Finance Accountants complete the CIPFA qualification and become Chartered Public Finance Accountants (CPFA). It takes approximately 3 years to complete and new candidates have to comply with the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme where they have to keep a detailed record of their professional experience.