Traditionally, we may think of accountants as “number crunchers” — professionals who sit with calculators, file tax returns or ensure checks and balances in financial statements. But that’s all changed.
Today, accounting has become a diverse career path with virtually unlimited options. With the industry expected to grow significantly, a high median salary, and significant demand for qualified accounting professionals, the time has never been better to enter the field.
But is it the right fit for you? Here’s everything you need to know!
Popular Accountancy Career Paths
Whether in the government, the private or the charitable sector, we need accountants in almost every industry. And so, becoming an accountant means there is opportunity to be part of almost any sector.
As an Accountant, you can choose to work in general practice, start your own business, go freelance or explore areas such as;
● Auditing: conducting independent checks on an organisation’s financial
● Tax: dealing with Tax returns or advising organisations about Tax
● Corporate finance: consulting businesses on mergers and acquisitions
● Recovery and insolvency: helping businesses if they enter bankruptcy or
helping them avoid this
● Forensic accounting: Detecting and preventing fraud
● Small business accounting: supporting small business owners, freelancers &
sole traders on business finances & accounting.
● Mortgage advising: applying and advising clients on suitable mortgage
An accountant’s salary will vary depending on their specialist area, level of experience,
location, industry and employer; however, according to 2023 research by Indeed, the average accounting salary is approximately €47,000 per year.
What do Accountants do?
A career in Accountancy predominantly involves analysing, interpreting and reporting entities’ financial information. While there are many types of accountants, there are a few typical responsibilities that most accounting roles share, including
● auditing and analysing finances
● organising and maintaining account books and systems
● preparing financial statements and ensuring reporting compliance with local laws and regulations.
● financial forecasting
● tax preparation & filing
● risk analysis
● offering financial advice on how to cut costs or boost revenue
● presenting and reporting budget reports
Key Accountant Skills
So you’re considering an accountancy career path. What skills are looked upon favourably by recruiters? And is it possible for individuals to switch careers in this industry?
Being a successful accountant isn’t all about tricky mental maths and crunching numbers. Sure, numerical skills are an essential part of the role, but there’s more to accountancy than working out percentages without the help of a calculator.
If you’re new to the accounting world, you may think you don’t have the relevant skills.
However, some of the critical skills needed by accountants are common across many industries, including:
● Attention to detail: An accountant searches for gaps, inconsistencies, and errors in tax returns or financial statements and works with large sums of money. You can maximise client profits while minimising risk by paying close attention to detail.
● Computer skills: Staying up to date with the latest software and accounting systems is critical since the more complex the market becomes, the more accountants rely on technology to simplify the process. Understanding spreadsheets and accounting software can streamline your workflow.
● Numerical literacy: Accountants are constantly performing complex calculations and analysing data. A solid understanding of math improves calculation speed and reduces the likelihood of errors.
● Organisational skills: Accountants must analyse large amounts of data, keep records, and meet strict deadlines. You can deliver reports and projects on time and keep clients happy with good time management and task prioritisation skills.
Key Accountant Qualifications
Accountancy qualifications can be obtained in various ways, depending on your interests and whether you intend to train in practice or industry.
The four primary qualifications in Ireland are:
1. ACA: recognised by Chartered Accountants Ireland, Ireland’s largest accounting body. This qualification is frequently associated with practice-trained accountants within the Big 4/Top ten accounting practices and is widely regarded as the most prestigious.
2. ACCA: recognised by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority and is typically associated with industry-trained accountants. However, more accounting firms are offering the ACCA as a more versatile training option. Unlike the Chartered Accountants Ireland qualification, its education is not centralised and is provided by approved training partners.
3. CPA: the certified public accountant qualification is a common accounting qualification used globally. A network of CPA-approved educators provides education. On the other hand, CPAs are uncommon in the Irish market and are typically trained abroad or self-taught.
4. CIMA: the largest professional body of management accountants and is only affiliated with professionals who have received industry training. Members cannot become statutory auditors because the IAASA does not recognise it, which can be problematic if you want to practise at some point in your career.
Accountancy Courses in Ireland
Finding the right course that supports your specific accounting career goals is vital. To make your search that bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of some fantastic Accountancy courses in Ireland to consider:
Springboard + ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business | Funded* No previous academic or accountancy qualifications are required to study for this qualification and is suitable for those aspiring to work or already working in the following types of roles:
1. Basic Bookkeeping
2. Trainee accountant in a commercial organisation or accounting practice
3. Accounts clerk in the Public Sector
Accounting Technicians Certificate |FREE* An excellent starting point to pursue a career in financial accounting. WHY SHOULD I APPLY?
• You wish to pursue a career in financial accounting.
• Recognised professional qualification.
• Progression option to Year 2 Diploma.
Pre-University Business, Finance and Accounting Students who undertake this one-year course in Business, Finance and Accounting, will gain an excellent foundation for progression to degree courses or to go directly into the work place. This practical course will enable students to gain skills in accounting, book-keeping, payroll, marketing, communications and information technology.