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Finance & accounting

Private practice accountant

Private practice accountants help people and businesses manage their money effectively.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £100,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

4%
Future employment

There will be 4% more Private practice accountant jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • preparing financial statements, business plans and budget reports
  • producing accounts
  • auditing
  • managing clients’ spending and costs
  • filing tax returns and giving tax advice
  • forecasting profits and performance
  • helping businesses that may be in financial difficulty
  • investigating fraud (forensic accounting)

Working environment

You could work in an office or at a client's home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • training with a professional body
University

You could take an accountancy degree and then further professional training to qualify. Degrees include:

  • accountancy
  • accounting and finance
  • business and management

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through an accountancy and taxation professional degree apprenticeship. This is at level 7, which is equivalent to a master's qualification.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could start as an accounting assistant with a firm and do professional training while working.

You'll need A levels or equivalent to apply for a school leaver programme. This would involve working for a company at the same time as studying towards professional or degree level qualifications in accountancy.

Other routes

You could take training with one of the following professional bodies to become a qualified accountant:

They all have different entry requirements and ways to qualify, so it's important to check with them which is the right route for you. If you already have relevant accounting or business-related qualifications, you may be able to qualify in a shorter time.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

If you've qualified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), you can offer most accountancy services in private practice but you'll need to register as a 'member in practice' with CIMA.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a private practice accountant from:Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW); Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); Association of International Accountants (AIA); Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

With experience, you could specialise in an area like auditing or forensic accounting, or become a manager in a practice. You could then move into a partnership or become a finance director.

You could also become self-employed or set up your own company.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • administration skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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