Overview: Accountants are employed by companies and individuals to assist with various business issues. They analyse profit and loss to advise their clients on how best to save money in a particular area. Typical duties may include: compiling and presenting reports, budgets, business plans, financial statements and meeting clients. Accountants evaluate risks and assess their potential financial consequences. They also provide advice on tax issues, and on how to ensure that their client abides by regulations and laws. Accountancy requires an excellent knowledge of maths, accounting, finance and law.

Jobs within the accountancy sector include working within audit, in forensic accountancy (dealing and detecting fraud) and corporate finance (see the Banking and Finance section for more information).

Another career linked to this area is actuarial science. Actuaries plan for the future by applying mathematical models and probability theory to clients’ present situations. They evaluate risks and assess the probability and potential financial consequences of those risks.

Skills required: Accountancy requires mathematical ability, business acumen and interest, organisational skills, team working and interpersonal skills, proficiency in IT, and analytical ability.

University and beyond:  You don’t need to study an accountancy degree to be an accountant.  The first step towards a career in Accountancy is to choose an accounting body to study with, and decide what type of an accountant you want to be.

How the SMF can help: In previous years, the Social Mobility Foundation has worked with a number of prestigious companies and firms, including “Big 4” professional services companies such as Deloitte, EY and other leading accountancy firms. This year, we have additional support from KPMG. Mentors can advise on the routes into each profession, including the qualifications you will gain as you sit examinations whilst working for a firm.

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