Student Advice - Career Search - Accountant Technician - Certified - Chartered
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Accounting Technician

Accounting Technician

Tell me about it
Accounting technicians work at all levels of finance and in all industries, from accounts staff to financial controllers. In a small company, they may be the only trained and qualified employee looking after the financial records, invoices and wages. In a larger company, they may be working as part of a team alongside chartered accountants and administrative staff, and they would report to an accounting manager.

The work can be similar to that of an accountant. For many, working as an accounting technician is a practical introduction to accounting. It can provide a stepping stone while studying towards a qualification as a chartered accountant.

As a broad rule, accounting technicians are more likely to be involved with the detailed, practical applications of day-to-day accounting issues than with the wider areas of financial management dealt with by professionally qualified accountants.

Entry level
Accountancy technicians do not need formal academic qualifications, but employers often ask for a good standard of English and maths. You can improve your earning potential and career development by taking professional accountancy qualifications.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) both offer training and qualification routes for accounting technicians.  Several major chartered accountancy bodies sponsor the AAT and the qualification would make you eligible for entry to their professional examinations. You would work your way through NVQ foundation and intermediate levels 2 and 3 to become a technician at level 4.  The training scheme is offered at many different centres, including local colleges, the workplace and training providers. There is also a diploma route if you are not currently working in finance. With ACCA, you would work towards their Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification. To obtain the CAT qualification, you must pass or be exempt from the CAT examinations and either achieve a Level 4 NVQ in Accounting or meet ACCA's practical experience requirements.

You would be automatically transferred to the ACCA Qualification register when you successfully complete your CAT examinations. Passing the remaining ACCA Qualification examinations and gaining three years’ relevant experience would lead to full ACCA membership. The experience you have already demonstrated to become a Certified Accounting Technician would count towards the work experience you would need for ACCA membership.

Making the grade
There are many opportunities for career progression. In many small to medium-sized companies, accounting technicians are the only trained financial staff, and they have major responsibilities. They may have to work with senior managers, reporting on how the business is performing and suggesting ways to improve profitability and performance. Some accounting technicians also become self-employed, providing book-keeping and advisory support to smaller organisations.

Personal qualities
As an accounting technician, you should be confident about working with numbers, have good IT skills and be able to communicate and convey information clearly.

You must inspire trust and be discreet and tactful when handling confidential information. You would have to be extremely accurate in your work, while keeping to tight deadlines.

Looking ahead
There is a growing demand for accounting technicians in all areas, including accounting practice, commerce and industry, and the public sector. There are good career opportunities, in all parts of the UK, in commercial companies, accountancy practices, local and central government, the NHS, shops, hotels, charities and voluntary organisations.

Alternative suggestions
Other possibilities might include training as a banker, bookkeeper, insurance broker or professional accountant.

Take-home pay
You may start on £13,000 to £22,000 as a trainee, with your salary rising to £22,000 to £32,000 or more once fully qualified and experienced.  You can earn considerably more in a senior management post or if you are successful in running your own business. AAT and ACCA qualifications are recognised globally, meaning that you could work overseas if you wish.

Accounting technicians usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. There are often opportunities to work part time.

Sources of information
Association of Accounting Technicians:  
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants:
Accounting Technicians Ireland: 
Accountancy Age:




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