Top 4 career paths for accountants in the North West

Accountant on his way to work

If you're about to qualify or have recently qualified as an accountant, no doubt you're thinking about your next move. It's beneficial to be open and flexible when considering your career options.


We look at the top four career options available to accountants in the North West and offer some crucial insight to help you choose the right path.

 

Practice and professional services

As an accountant working in practice you'll have the opportunity to work in a variety of roles, helping to support clients ranging from large global businesses through to smaller SMEs. One major attraction of a career in practice is the number of excellent career options available across a range of service lines.

"The practice market is thriving in the North West, with the 'Big 10' firms and an array of medium to small boutique practices all operating in the region," says Emma McMullen, senior consultant of practice cecruitment at Robert Walters.

"While at a larger firm you can become a specialist in a particular service area such as tax or risk," Emma continues, "smaller practices offer a distinct sense of variety and the opportunity to deal with many different finance aspects."

Many senior financial decision makers working in commerce and industry joined their respective companies direct from a practice accountant role.

Commerce and industry

If you're about to qualify or have recently qualified as an accountant, no doubt you're thinking about your next move. It's beneficial to be open and flexible when considering your career options.

The commerce and industry sector is extremely diverse, offering a broad choice of organisation type, size and role.

"If you choose to work in commerce and industry you'll have access to an enormous breadth of opportunities across the North West, with thousands of companies recruiting talented accountants, from start-ups to multinationals," Dan Simmonite, manager of qualified finance recruitment at Robert Walters, comments.

The commerce and industry sector provides a very flexible career path. If you have ambitions to become a CFO, or even CEO or COO, this is an excellent route for you.

Private equity

Private equity firms have become an increasingly significant accountancy employer and offer some of the most sought after careers in finance.

"Although the largest firms in the UK are often London-based, there are several of note across the North West that typically engage in 'middle market' transactions," according to Emma McMullen. 

Due to the limited availability of these jobs, entry requirements are high and the competition is often intense. However, for those with the skills to succeed, the financial rewards can be huge. 

Banking and financial services

Banks and financial services institutions are crucial to the growth of the UK, and the North West has become a leading centre of excellence for international banks, building societies and wealth management organisations relocating some of their operations away from London, taking advantage of a large local pool of talented graduates and professionals. 

Given the increasingly regulated nature of the financial services industry, banks throughout the North West offer a number of entry-level back office positions that provide an ideal route into the sector.

Key functions that continue to grow in this area include risk and compliance, so specialising in one of these will give you a niche skill set and set you apart from other professionals.

For more information on career paths in the North West download our Career Guide for Accountants

Or, view the latest accountancy and finance opportunities via our job search page.

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