If you’re thinking of putting your numerical skills, analytical ability, attention to detail and strong people skills to work in an accounting career, here are a few tips that will help:

Volunteer to get practical experience

All sorts of places would love to have a free accountant, even a trainee. Offer your skills to charities, sports clubs and societies. Volunteer to be treasurer of a university society if you are still in college. Work your personal networks to find out if anyone you know in the business world could use some low-paid or voluntary work experience. Check out Timebank, which will match your skills with a relevant volunteering opportunity. You might even try cold calling companies to see if they could use some free help; in a tough economy, people love free help.

Don’t limit yourself to the Big Four

It is incredibly competitive and difficult trying to break into the Big Four accountancy firms (KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte), who can afford to be extremely selective. If you haven’t got a 2:1 and excellent numerical A levels, it’s probably not worth applying. However, if you’re looking to train in an audit environment and want to qualify as ACA, consider applying to firms outside the Big Four, particularly in regional areas. They may consider good candidates with a 2:2 and a smaller environment is likely to give you broader exposure to different clients and the change to really add value at an earlier stage in your career.

Do your research

Make sure you spend plenty of time researching your target employer and sector. During the application process, interviewers and hiring managers are going to want to see evidence that this is a serious, longstanding ambition. Think carefully about what kind of accountant you’re likely to be. Are you great at detail and process? Perhaps tax or audit is for you. Excellent people skills and entrepreneurial instincts? You might be better off in a commercial analyst role, driving profit for a business in commerce and industry.

Make a professional approach

Make sure your CV, LinkedIn profile and cover letter are first rate. Use a professional CV writing service for graduates to make sure it is optimised for a career in accountancy. Make sure the CV writing company you choose has consultants with a background in finance recruitment, the best way of making sure the person who writes your CV knows what it takes.

Be an all-rounder

It’s not all about numbers, so make sure you have the incidental skills; practice your time management and project management skills, preferably in a commercial environment. Technology is a key element in a finance career, so make sure you have the basics (MS Office) and are very good indeed at Excel. The earlier you get to grips with pivot tables, macros and VLOOKUPS the better. Finally, prospective accountants often underestimate the importance of the soft skills – having great interpersonal skills is a key differentiator for successful accountants. Make sure you can demonstrate how good you are with people.


If you need assistance or guidance with writing your Accounting-targeted CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile, why not ask the CV writing experts at City CV to do it for you? City CV’s professional CV writers have the knowledge and experience to help at every career stage, from graduates to senior level professionals across all industries and have an Accounting specialist ready to help. For more information on our CV writing services, call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.com.

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