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Private practice accountant

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

Annual Salary

£22,000 to £65,000

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 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you might:

  • prepare financial statements, business plans and budget reports
  • produce accounts
  • audit - inspect books of accounts and check inventories
  • manage clients’ spending and costs
  • file tax returns and give tax advice
  • forecast profits and performance
  • help businesses that may be in financial difficulty
  • investigate fraud (forensic accounting)

Working environment

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

You can get into this job through:

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

You could do a degree in any subject and then apply to graduate schemes that offer training towards a professional accountancy qualification. Subjects that show you have excellent numeracy and analytical thinking skills may be particularly useful.

If you want to take a more focused route to a graduate scheme, you could take an accountancy related degree, like:

  • accountancy
  • accounting and finance
  • business and management
  • maths

Some degree courses may give you exemptions from some of the professional accountancy training modules.

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 could gain your professional qualifications through the apprenticeship route. You could take your first steps to a career as a professional accountant by starting off on:

  • a professional accountancy technician higher apprenticeship
  • an accountancy and taxation professional higher apprenticeship

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 higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

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

You'll usually need A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications to apply. Your employer would support you to gain professional qualifications in accountancy alongside doing your job.

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)

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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 become self-employed or set up your own company.

You could also teach in a further education college.

Find out more about teaching in further education from Teach in further education.

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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