This article is part of our Industry Spotlight series - based on our popular emails - where we focus on a different Career Zone in each article. To help students learning from home during the Covid-19 lockdown, each article comes with a worksheet which you can download here.
This week, we're focusing on the Accountancy, Banking & Finance Career Zones. There are loads of amazing opportunities for students - whether you're a school leaver or planning on going to uni - and we wanted to get you up to speed with some of the confusing jargon so you don't miss out.
Read on for all the key info, and click the links to learn more on the Success at School site.
What's this Career Zone all about?
It's a big Career Zone with lots of different types of jobs. But let's try to boil it down.
Accountants are financial whizzes who make sure that businesses keep track of their money and pay their taxes - find out more here. At "professional services" firms, accountants work alongside other finance specialists, as well as non-finance people like lawyers. These firms help other organisations stay on top of their finances and other things they need to do by law.
Banking is about lending and investing money. High-street or retail banks are where you and your family can apply for loans and save your money. Investment banks help people & organisations make money by investing cash.
What jobs are out there?
Literally dozens! But here are a few:
- Accountants: Help companies
keep track of their finances.
- Analysts: Find the best companies to invest money in.
- Fund managers: Invest money and make sure it grows in the way the customer wants.
- Cashiers: Help ordinary bank customers take out & pay in money, and apply for loans etc.
This is just the basics. There are loads of supporting jobs - from customer service and keeping complex IT systems running to looking after the staff. And in the accountancy world, there are many different types of accountant. Go to our Accountancy and Banking & Finance Career Zones to learn more.
Am I cut out for it?
The skills and qualities you need depend on the career path you embark on, but there are some that will stand you in good stead whatever you do. You do have to be good at solving problems - but you don't have to be a maths whizz:
- People skills: Likeability and the ability to work in a team.
- Curiosity and willingness to learn.
- Hardworking and dedicated.
- Initiative: The ability to come up with your own ideas and act on them.
Also, check out our guide to how improving your money management skills can give you a head start in your finance career - while also helping you stay in the money throughout your life.
Is a career in accountancy, banking and finance future proof?
Yes. FinTech (financial technology) is the new kid on the block and it is creating a loads of new jobs. Blockchain is a fancy new technology which a lot of fintech is based on - and some studies show that the demand for blockchain developers is growing by almost a third every year.
As for accountants, many companies are encouraging them to take on a broader range of work, using their valuable accounting know-how to help businesses plan strategically for the future.
How do I get there?
Apprenticeships/school leaver programmes
If you're a school/college leaver at 16 or 18, you're spoilt for choice.
Loads of banks, accountancy firms and professional services companies offer apprenticeships and school leaver programmes, all of which give you qualifications as you train in the job - making you a genuine bona fide pro.
Check out this video on apprenticeship:
Click below to learn more:
- Accountancy apprenticeships
- Investment banking school leaver programmes
- High-street banking apprenticeships
Graduate schemes are a well-established route into a career with accountancy firms, banks and professional services companies. You'll train in a high-skilled job and may work towards an accreditations - AKA letters after your name:
- Accountancy: Employers look for any university degree at 2:1 - that's right, it doesn't have to be a maths degree.
- Investment banking: To work on the investment side, you'll normally need a degree in maths or a similar, numerate subject, but you could work in a supporting role with any degree.
- Professional services: Plenty of employers take on graduates with degrees in any discipline.
- High-street banks: Banks generally hire grads as branch managers, although this will usually come a little way into your career.
To find more info on jobs in accountancy and banking & finance visit our Career Zones.