Accountant and bookkeeper job descriptions

What it's like to be an accountant

As an accountant in a firm of any size you'll be vital in providing financial reports and analysis that's used to ensure the business stays afloat. Accountants are highly respected and trusted, and are often thought of as the lifeblood of organisations.

Accounting is one of the most dynamic and interesting industries. You'll need to keep up with rapid changes in technology, rules and procedures.

The opportunities are endless. You can work in business, government, education, healthcare, media, sport, in a large or small company, or in the public or private sector. Every business needs accounting skills – and always will. Many even offer accounting apprenticeships, so you can earn while you learn. 

And if you decide to run your own business, you'll be providing an important service to businesses who don't have the skills and expertise to do it themselves: you'll effectively give them the support they need to help their business survive.

Did you know that many accountants even go on to be leaders in the business world due to having a background in finance?

What accountants do

What accountants do

You'll be responsible for recording, analysing and reporting on financial information. However, you might be called upon to do a variety of tasks. As you progress through the foundation, advanced and professional levels of the qualifications you can expect your role to develop and you might decide to specialise in an area such as tax or audit.

Discover 14 types of accounting roles

Progressing your accounting career
Level 2 Certificate in Accounting
Level 3 Diploma in Accounting
Level 4 Diploma in Professional Accounting

Level 2 Certificate in Accounting

After sitting the Level 2 certificate you’ll be qualified for a number of entry-level roles, including accounts administrator, accounts assistant, payroll officer, sales ledger clerk and tax trainee.

You could earn on average £21,000 a year while studying. 

(This salary represents the average (median) for AAT Level 2 students and is taken from the AAT Salary Survey 2021.)

Becoming a bookkeeper

As a bookkeeper you'll focus on the financial transactions of the organisation, playing a pivotal role in managing cash flow.

Many organisations specifically employ bookkeepers within their finance teams, so your opportunities could be varied, from working in finance organisations through to government departments, public and private sector organisations. Alternatively, bookkeeping is a great profession to get into if you're considering becoming self-employed.

It's an exciting time to be entering the bookkeeping profession, as technological developments look to be changing the role of bookkeepers over the coming years. You'll want to get a grasp on the technology available to embrace these changes.

What bookkeepers do

What bookkeepers do

Bookkeepers perform a variety of tasks, including recording income and expenses, balancing accounts, preparing invoices and payments, completing VAT returns, managing payroll and following up on supplier debts. Your role will depend on the size of the business and your qualifications.

See what it's like to run your own bookkeeping practice

Progressing your bookkeeping career
Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
Level 3 Certificate in Bookkeeping

Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping

After sitting the Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping you can consider careers such as cashier, clerical assistant, accounts administrator, accounts clerk, clerical assistant, finance assistant, and trainee bookkeeper.

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