Accounting for a brilliant career
A day's work for an accountant these days is often spent far from the confines of their office.
The stereotype of grey-suited people sitting behind a desk counting beans is a thing of the past, if it ever existed at all, according to Marilyn Martin, Ipswich Senior partner with accountants and business advisers PKF.
Today's accountants are an adaptable bunch who are more likely to be found with their clients - from doctors to lawyers, one-man businesses to multi-national corporations and local authorities.
"Today, our working lives are rewarding, full of variety and, due to the demand for qualified accountants, the pay's good, too," says Marilyn.
She is at pains to point out that the job is not just about preparing business accounts, carrying out the audit and doing tax computations.
"Accountants also provide commercial and business advice to any company's Board of Directors as well as being a sounding board for those not yet big enough to have a Finance Director of their own," she said.
Other work stretches from the world of Business Recovery and Insolvency to Corporate Finance - the buying and selling of companies - and Forensic work, preparing diverse reports including acting as expert witness for court work on divorce, valuation and personal injury matters.
Marilyn said: "It's an excellent profession, highly respected and great if you want to branch out into business as it gives you a greater understanding of general business matters."
It takes three to five years to become a fully qualified Chartered or Certified accountant. While PKF looks for graduates and school leavers to fill vacancies, it is not unknown for people wanting to change career to play a role in such firms. The only common denominator is a good academic background.
If you start as a school leaver, PKF will pay for training towards the Association of Accountancy Technician examinations (AAT) and the Chartered accountancy examinations follow. Graduates start with the Chartered training straight away.
But it is not just about brains; the right character is essential, too: "You've got to get on with people and be able to communicate well with others and that doesn't just mean clients but bankers and lawyers too. Being an accountant is like being part of a bigger jigsaw in business," adds Marilyn.
PKF is a leading firm of accountants and business advisers with more than 1,800 partners and staff operating in 23 offices in the UK including Norwich, Yarmouth and Ipswich.
If you want to learn about a career in accountancy contact PKF on 01473 320700, or log on PKF's website www.pkf.co.uk/pkf/careers/home