Accountancy and finance degrees can provide excellent progression opportunities when graduating from university. These careers can be either directly related or not-so related to your finance degree discipline, depending on the particular career path you’d like to take.
Here we will outline the most popular finance job titles for university graduates, followed by typical job description details. There are countless graduate finance routes to match your personality traits and unique skills. Browse our live finance jobs here.
What finance jobs can you get with a finance degree?
The UK has a number of universities renowned for their financial programmes, as well as an identity as a global leader in financial services. As a result, a career in finance is a popular choice allowing you to expand your horizons and pursue an exciting career across a range of industries. Let’s look at some of the finance jobs you can get with a finance degree.
Graduate Finance Analyst
Finance Analysts use various accounting/reporting systems and Microsoft Excel to manipulate large data sets in order to produce insightful reports for multiple departments across an organisation. You must have the capability to analyse large sets of financial data and produce professional reports to display your findings and recommendations. You will also be communicating with relevant organisational stakeholders to support them with their key business decisions.
Currently, the average starting salary for this entry finance analyst role ranges from £22,000 in the Midlands to £30,000 in London. Typically, you would study the CIMA or ACCA qualification.
Graduate Assistant Accountant
Graduate Assistant Accountants can either work for an accountancy practice where you will prepare accounts for a portfolio of clients or you can work for an in-house finance team. Typical responsibilities will include; supporting with the preparation of financial and management accounts, VAT returns, transactional finance (purchase ledger and sales ledger), balance sheet reconciliations and supporting with budgeting and forecasting.
Currently, the average salary for an Assistant Accountant is £20,000 – £28,000 depending on the stated location of the role. Your typical progression opportunities would be to move into Management Accountant or Financial Accountant roles in industry or an Accounts Senior / Manager in practice. CIMA / ACCA and ACA are all relevant professional qualifications for Assistant Accountant roles.
Graduate Tax Advisor
Tax Advisor job roles consist of providing actionable recommendations to clients on a range of tax issues, determining opportunities within a client portfolio, handling correspondence with HM Revenue & Customs for clients, supervising and supporting more junior staff dealing with corporation tax accounts. The estimated salary for a tax advisor role is around £25,000 – £45,000, and usually negotiable.
Graduate in Audit / Assurance
If you choose a career in audit and assurance, you will be working for a professional services accountancy firm. You will be studying for a professional ICAEW or ACCA qualification. You will be auditing accounts for companies that fall into the audit threshold. You’ll need to have a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of both UK and international reporting standards.
Typical career paths include being promoted to Audit Manager / Senior Manager, or moving into a role in the industry once you’ve finished your qualification. Starting salaries range from £23,000 to £30,000 depending on location.
As a management consultant, your key roles and responsibilities would involve managing and delivering considerable projects that meet profitable conclusions, analysing the client’s project, and presenting recommendations on moving forward. You would also be developing a strategic plan that is carefully aligned with their current business plan to create cost-effective opportunities in the short and long term.
Currently, this management job role can deliver from £20,000 – £110,000, depending on the project length, the clientele and the number of projects taken on throughout the year.
For accounting and finance graduates, potential future employers generally find further qualifications desirable. There are countless qualifications available for different skill levels, periods of time and pricing. For jobs that are directly related to your finance degree, you would typically study CIMA, ACCA, ACA (ICAEW) or CTA. However, other finance courses for roles that aren’t directly related to your finance degree can be provided by multiple different companies, and tailored to the specific graduate role you aspire to work in.
If you’d like to know more about types of finance qualifications, our Finance specialist Michelle Cracknell-Leafe has prepared a short guide: “What qualifications do you need to be an Accountant?”.
Overall, when applying for a role with your finance degree, be sure to search for a position that suits your capabilities and interests – and offers progression.
It is also advised to determine if the organisation can offer training for the stated high-level qualifications early on, as this will be extremely beneficial for your future financial career. If you would like to discuss your options in more detail, get in touch with our Finance recruitment team.
What Finance jobs are in demand?
Whether you’re taking your first step in the financial sector or want to use your experience in a different role, knowing what kind of finance jobs there are, and what’s in demand can help you target the industry and role that’s right for you. Here we’ll look at some of the most in-demand finance jobs in the UK and what makes them so popular.
According to parliament’s findings; “In 2020, the financial services sector contributed £164.8 billion to the UK economy, 8.6% of total economic output. The UK financial sector was the third-largest in the OECD in 2020.”
Financial analysis is an integral part of the industry, providing firms with skilled financiers who collect and monitor financial data to identify trends and suggest improvements. This role is challenging and engaging, requiring individuals who understand not just economics but the wider trends taking place in the world.
Audit, Risk and Compliance
Along with analysis comes an increased need for scrutiny and accountability. Auditing, risk, and compliance provide protection and forensic insight into the business world and uncover potential new threats. A drive to modernise finance has also led to more risk of cybercrime and data breaches which makes risk management and compliance a growing industry well worth looking into.
Some other standout skills to really set you apart include an understanding of data, information security, and general IT infrastructure.
Payroll is another area where you can find plenty of opportunities. Payroll is a part of every business so even if you don’t necessarily want to work in the finance sector you can use your skills in any given industry.
As legislation changes and modern business practices take hold, payroll and HR have taken centre stage with firms of all sizes looking at ways of either implementing new systems or updating their current framework. As such, diligent employees with an understanding of the payroll process are in high demand with roles ranging from temporary to permanent, and junior to senior.
Work with Distinct
At Distinct, we understand your ambitions to match you with a role where you can thrive. Our finance team has a unique understanding of what employers and candidates are looking for, and they’re ready and waiting to help you. For a more in-depth understanding or expert advice on how to begin your job hunt, contact us today.
This is an updated version of our original blog published in 2018.