Apprenticeships in the financial services sector tend to be quite popular, especially accounting apprenticeships. This is mainly due to the widely held and valid perception that they are an excellent way to launch a well-paid and exciting career with plenty of opportunities for professional growth.
In this blog, we will explore the 4 main accounting apprenticeships. Our aim is to give you an insight into what each one entails so you can make an informed decision. We will also show you how you can kickstart your financial services career path.
Four apprenticeships fall under the heading of accountancy, and we will look at each of these in turn.
The Accountancy or Taxation Professional Level 7 or Degree Apprenticeship should take 36 months to complete, not including the End Point Assessment.
This is an excellent way to enter the industry at a high level, kickstarting your way toward a successful career. You will learn how to give high-quality financial advice whilst adhering to the relevant ethics rules covering your profession.
Apprentices will utilise their expert-level skills to protect client investments, developing the skills to work individually or as part of a team. You will play a critical role in ensuring the accuracy of the accounts that the businesses present. These can often form the basis of their annual tax return, so it is essential that they are accurate.
As with all apprenticeship standards, you will spend 80% of your time in the job role, in what is called “on-the-job training”, and 20% learning the detailed information you need to succeed in “off-the-job training”.
The Accounts or Financial Assistant Level 2 or Intermediate Apprenticeship will have a duration of around 12 months.
This apprenticeship is the entry-level to an accounting or financial career. It will provide you with relevant experience working for an employer in the field. You will be responsible for helping qualified professionals and taking on tasks as and when required. Apprentices will gain an awareness of basic bookkeeping principles and accounting practices. They will also begin to make contacts in the organisation where they work.
You will be expected to know the difference between Financial and Management Accounting. Your communication skills will come into play to ensure the smooth running of the business’s incomings and outgoings.
As is customary in UK apprenticeship standards, you will spend 20% of your time in off-the-job training. This is where you will learn the critical information you need to successfully do the job role. You will spend the other 80% in on-the-job training, proving you can be a helpful and valued team member.
An Assistant Accountant Level 3 or Advanced Apprenticeship will tend to last around 18 months, though this doesn’t consider the amount of time needed for the End Point Assessment.
You will be placed at an accountancy firm to develop the skills and knowledge needed to progress toward becoming a fully qualified accountant. You will become aware of the transactional processes that drive your business and its strategy. It is crucial to understand how your role fits within the company as a whole.
Assistant accountant apprentices will learn about things like double-entry bookkeeping and the software used to run a company’s finances. You should also take advantage of any relevant advances in artificial intelligence. This will ensure you can automate as many routine tasks as possible so you can concentrate on more important tasks.
You will analyse and report on financial data, sharing this information with more senior colleagues in a timely manner. Your analysis of the data should pinpoint any problems so that adequate solutions can be put in place to mitigate them.
As with the other apprenticeship standards in the UK, your apprenticeship consists of two different parts. You will earn at least minimum wage for both parts, depending on the company’s discretion.
They aren’t allowed by law to offer you less than the apprenticeship minimum wage, but they may offer you more money than they are compelled to. This reflects on the individual company and how much they value the apprentices under their care. As the UK skills gap widens, it may be that more businesses will pay apprentices more to attract them in the first place.
20% of your time consists of theoretical learning called “off-the-job” training. You will spend the other 80% in on-the-job training with your mentor performing the job role.
The Profesional Accounting / Taxation Technician is a Level 4 or Higher Apprenticeship and will last for 18 months, not including the End Point Assessment.
Your primary expectation in this job role will be to bring together and review an organisation’s financial information. This is to ensure that the organisation complies with all statutory and ethical standards. You may be placed with an SME for the duration of your apprenticeship, and the skills you will learn to draft, review and process these documents will stand you in good stead in the future.
As with all UK apprenticeship standards, you will spend 80% of your time on on-the-job training and 20% on off-the-job training. The off-the-job training allows you to learn the information necessary to pass the academic portion of the apprenticeship.
Starting Accounting Apprenticeships
If you have already perused our helpful documents called reasons to start an apprenticeship and who can start an apprenticeship, you will be well-placed to think about your next steps in securing an accounting apprenticeship of your own.
We have a dedicated apprenticeship jobs board that provides access to live information. It is a good starting point for finding suitable accounting apprenticeships in your area of interest and physical location.
If your parents are still unsure about your choices, you can refer them to our page called guidance for parents. It is designed to help them to understand what apprenticeships are and how they can help you to advance your career.
For more information, contact us directly. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for the latest news and accounting apprenticeship opportunities from Employing an Apprentice.