What’s your view of accountants and finance? Is the Finance Director a god-like figure somewhere near the very top of your company? What about the more junior finance person who says you can’t have your expenses because you inadvertently claimed for a taxi when you could have taken the bus. Boring people poring over boring figures?
Well, I grant you there is a stereotypical image of an accountant and it’s not quite the same as a Creative Director. If male, only one is likely to wear a tie for a start. However, it’s unlikely that the Creative Director is going to run the company, whereas nowadays an awful lot of firms have an accountant as CEO.
In fact, a quick check shows that, for many years now, over half of the CEOs of the FTSE 100 have a background in finance and over a quarter have a formal accountancy qualification. Given the strong correlation between finance and business, it’s a wonder everyone isn’t queuing up to study all those ‘boring figures’ and seeking to become the next big cheese.
Roughly a quarter of a million people work as accountants but, obviously, you can’t just ‘be’ an accountant. However, there are many different paths into the world of finance and so long as you have some reasonable school qualifications (Highers/A Levels and, equally importantly, an aptitude for figures), then you can move onwards and upwards as far as your skills, attitude and ambition take you.
Many people in accountancy are what are called ‘part-qualified’. They will have completed a degree and normally will be working for a company while working to pass their formal accountancy exams. A great many of them will use the services of an agency like Nine Twenty to help them in these early stages of their career. It can take another three or four (or more) years, but the experience gained in the ‘day job’ is invaluable in helping a ‘part-qual’ accountant become a fully-qualified member of the profession.
Alternatively, you can work your way into accountancy from a lower-level course, such as that of the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). You might also come from a book-keeping background, then become an Accounting Technician and subsequently work your way up with additional training to become a full-fledged accountant. Once there, the world is your oyster.
To be continued…