There’s a massive myth that the life of an accountant is a boring one, with endless numbers, spreadsheets, and well… numbers – but this is certainly not the case. Accountants have a massive part to play in how a business functions, using their keen analytical skills and numerical wizardry to advise and ensure financially-smart business decisions are made.
Accountancy has been an in-demand role for as long as businesses have existed, and a truly tried and tested way into the accounting industry these days is through an apprenticeship. But what tasks and responsibilities can you come to expect on an apprenticeship?
Here’s the breakdown:
Although this may sound like the task of a librarian, bookkeeping actually involves keeping track of all the financial transactions in the business, which includes recording receipts, invoices, incomings and outgoings.
To cut a long story short, bookkeeping is the financial core of any business, and a huge part of an accountant’s role. It covers money owed, money owned, and accurate bookkeeping can keep business directors informed on the company’s performance – what works, and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t add up, your responsibility as an accountant will be to bring it up and ensure every cost and sale is accounted for.
In this role, you will cover terms like debits and credits, as well as techniques like balance sheets and income statements. These may seem like heavy terms, but don’t worry – they will all be covered in your AAT qualification.
Logically, if you’re going to work out how profitable a business is, you have to take away the costs from the amount of money brought in (or revenue). This means that a large part of your role in accounting will be to assess what the costs actually are, and what they amount to.
There are all sorts of costs in a business – such as labour, materials, and even the declining value (or depreciation) of a piece of equipment or machinery. As an accounting apprentice, you will learn how to detail these costs.
Without keeping track of a business costs, you’re not going to be able to keep track of business performance, or make strategic decisions. Without an accountant’s analytical eye, there is no way for a business to know how much they’re spending.
Struggling to write your CV with limited experience?
Grab our free guide!
Another accounting myth is that there’s little need for communication skills, as you’ll be sitting at your desk and crunching numbers all day long. But this is simply not true – there is plenty of skill in providing informative, convincing reports on company accounts, along with forward recommendations of what works and what doesn’t.
At the start of a level 2 apprenticeship, you will uncover the foundations of accounting and reporting, and as you progress through the levels and gain added experience, you will learn how you can deliver the facts, figures, and forecasts with confidence, and well-researched skill.
An apprenticeship can give you a real insight into other factors to keep into account, such as budgets and forecasting the businesses future finances, which means an accounting role can be busy, complex, and exciting.
Learning specialist Accounting Software
Whichever business you enter in whatever occupation, you’d be expected to use a sufficient knowledge of IT to get by. However, accounting has specialist software (not just Excel spreadsheets) in order to track its finances. These include SAGE and SAP, programs that can help track invoices, manage payroll, and accept customer payments.
As a young and budding accountant for the next generation, you can bet that many businesses are looking to gain an advantage from your natural understanding of technology, meaning you’ll be of a real advantage if you’re starting on an apprenticeship.
Starting your career
As you progress through each apprenticeship level (from level 2 to 4) your responsibilities will grow along with your skill level. It’s also worth noting that you don’t need to have studied subjects like maths or business studies at A-level to be eligible for an apprenticeship.
If this all sounds daunting – don’t worry. One of the advantages of an apprenticeship is that it is as much of a ‘learning environment’ as it is a workplace, where you will gain training and advice from the pro’s in the business, alongside your tutors who will guide you through your qualifications.