As the nation's financial centre, London is a hot spot for those working in accounting and finance. Employment in this industry can take the form of assistant and trainee accountants, financial analysts, purchase ledger clerks, credit controllers, payroll positions and chartered accountants. It is possible to categorise sources of employment into three different sectors; public practice, industry and commerce, and public sector.
Public practice generally refers to specialist finance and accounting firms that are contracted to work with a range of clients, while accounting and finance staff in industry and commerce positions work in-house for employers. Public sector work is perhaps the least financially rewarding of the three, but it is often chosen by people wanting to work in a more relaxed or fulfilling environment - as this sector includes not-for-profits and charitable funds.
Long hours, tight deadlines and stressful working conditions are the norm in this industry, particularly for those requiring further qualifications, so graduates and trainees should be aware that it isn't a career for the faint hearted. Working in accounting and finance usually requires a degree, whilst better paid roles such as chartered accountants require the relevant professional qualifications such as a CA or ACA.
The average salary across the industry is £43,000 in the city (well above the £27,000 for the rest of the country), these extra qualifications regularly take employees' wages over the £50,000 mark. And despite the current economic climate, this sector is still buoyant enough in London to see jobs regularly becoming available through recruitment agencies, with ample opportunity for career progression.