What other jobs can accountants do
Accounting definitely is not for everyone, but unfortunately, people sometimes realise this too late and already have an accounting degree, are newly qualified accountants, or are full-blown chartered accountants! But this isn’t the be-all or end-all, so don’t fret.
What can you do if you hate accounting?
If you’ve found yourself in the accounting career, be it as a newly qualified accountant or a senior accountant, and you’ve decided that the financial industry isn’t for you or that accounting is the wrong fit – there are a few options.
First of all, you can choose to completely retrain. You might want to attend a local college, an online university like the Open University or perhaps apply for a traineeship or apprenticeship. Then you can look at any alternative careers, regardless of whether your transferable skills are relevant.
Otherwise, if you’re happy to work in finance or to use your financial skills and analytical skills, then you might just choose to work within the finance industry as something other than an accountant. Accounting provides a wealth of transferable skills that can be incredibly useful in other roles, like accounting skills, client relationship skills, technical skills, and communication skills. These will be great on your CV and will help you to score a different financial career.
What career can an accountant switch to?
One of the alternative career paths you might want to pursue is a business analyst. Analysts work within organisations to help plan for the business’s future. They are sometimes permanent staff and sometimes are hired for specific project-based work.
As a business analyst, you will need to communicate with colleagues to understand the needs of the whole company, work with external stakeholders, use data modelling practices, consider opportunities, practice risk management, gain agreement from management teams, produce reports, support staff in making necessary changes and ensure plans are created to evaluate the changes you have implemented.
Typically, those working as business analysts can expect an average salary of between £21,000 and over £50,000. The median salary is about £35,000.
Using the financial skills and statistical knowledge from your accounting degree or qualification, as an actuary, you will assess the likelihood of particular events occurring and the possible financial implications of each event. Actuaries tend to work in banking, corporate finance, insurance, pensions, and investment management.
Actuaries are responsible for using mathematical modelling techniques and statistical concepts to assess risks, analyse statistical data, communicate efficiently, develop new financial products, prepare reports, advise on issues, work with IT professionals, carry out relationship management, and work with mergers or acquisitions. Those looking to begin a new career as an actuary will need a bachelor’s degree. You may also want to study for a master’s degree.
Those working as actuaries can expect a reasonable salary that matches the salary you’d expect in accounting. Starting salaries range from £25,000 to £35,000 and a senior actuarial analyst could earn from £70,000 to £110,000.
Data analysts are well needed across the financial industry, but also elsewhere in the business world. A data analyst might choose to work in business strategy, data assurance, data quality, finance, higher education, marketing, or sales, and will need to understand, analyse and report on complex sets of data.
An analyst’s responsibilities include developing reports, identifying areas to increase efficiency, setting up automated processes, tracking KPIs, monitoring and auditing data, surveying, preparing reports, creating spreadsheets, mining large datasets, and providing sector and competitor benchmarking. The analytical skills needed for accounting are greatly beneficial in this, and a bachelor’s degree is not a must-have for the career.
Salaries for this role begin at around £23,000 to £25,000. This rises to £30,000-£35,000 with a few years’ experience. High-level consultants and analysts may earn as much as £60,000 or more.
Those not enjoying accounting but who do thrive in a business environment with plenty of problems to solve may well enjoy a new career as a management consultant. Consultants help organisations to solve issues, maximise growth and improve all areas of business strategy and performance.
A management consultant is responsible for carrying out research and data collection, conducting analysis, interviewing employees, interviewing internal and external stakeholders, identifying issues, running focus groups, managing projects, liaising with the client, and implementing any recommendations they may make. Typically, management consultants need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A degree in business, economics, finance, accounting, mathematics, or science would be particularly useful.
Salaries for entry-level positions as a consultant start at around £25,000 to £35,000 and then can rise to £50,000 for typically experienced consultants. Senior management consultants, however, may be able to earn up to £125,000.
Perhaps the closest career option to accounting, a financial adviser provides clients with expert advice on how to manage their money. They may specialise in certain areas, but many are generalists. The role involves specialist knowledge of money management, savings, investments, and great communication skills.
The responsibilities of a financial consultant or adviser involve contacting clients, setting up meetings, conducting reviews of clients’ financial health, analysing information, financial planning, risk management, designing financial strategies, assisting clients with the decision-making process, researching the marketplace, researching information from financial institutions, communicating, negotiating and promoting, producing financial reports and ensuring they meet the regulatory requirements of the role. You do not need to have a bachelor’s degree for this role but may need to have strong technical accounting skills, analytical skills, customer service experience, and possibly experience in finance.
Advisers can expect to earn £22,000 to £30,000 in entry-level positions or training positions, and then £30,000 to £50,000 once fully qualified. Senior financial consultants may earn up to £60,000.
Which career path you take with your accounting experience or accounting degree depends on what you enjoy, your experience, technical knowledge, and your career objectives. You might want to avoid the customer service side of the role, in which case jobs such as a data analyst suit you well. Or, perhaps you want a more social career, in which case, something like a consultant would be a great fit for you.