Because accounting is a necessity for every business, big or small, there is a consistent demand for accountants and finance specialists all across the UK. These are governed under the Financial Reporting Council, who are the UK's independent regulators. Accountants have the opportunity to work in a wide range of diverse industries, and the profession provides a high level of job security. It is also a well-reimbursed career, and experienced accountants can expect to earn an average of £40-50K annually, while those just starting out typically make about £15-20K. In London, however, median salaries are significantly higher.
Entry into the profession usually (but not always) requires an advanced degree in finance, economics, or accounting (for those without degrees, the qualification process is significantly harder to complete). All accountants in the UK must be certified by the Accounting Standards Board (ASB), and those wishing to pursue international finance will require further certification with the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS). Most accountants also train to become specialized in a single area, such as auditing, corporate finance, or tax. The most commonly pursued accounting certificate in the UK is the ACA, which typically requires a three year process of exam-taking to earn, and is often supported by part-time entry-level employment or internship.
At present, the primary employers are Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The industry produces about £5 billion in annual revenue, and there are over 25,000 positions available at more than 7,000 firms in the UK.
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