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Guide to UK Accounting employment for working travellers

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The “square-mile” in London is an exciting place to be – filled with a mix of British, Aussie, Kiwi, South African and North American professionals all helping to ensure London, after 300 years, remains the financial centre of Europe. Apart from the square-mile, other parts of the UK also offer excellent job opportunities. As the traditional role of accounting expands to include all aspects of businesses from performance to growth strategy, the future of accounting employment for working travellers and expats is very bright indeed.

In globally tough economic times, the accounting employment market in the UK is affected, however job seekers with solid experience or qualified accountants there are always excellent job opportunities in Britain and Scotland. Be sure to apply to suitable jobs and register with suitable agencies if you have plans to go to the UK.

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FAQs - Accounting employment for overseas job seekers

All about Accounting jobs in Britain for overseas candidates!

Can I secure a UK job prior to leaving Australia/ New Zealand/ South Africa/ Canada?

It is not common to secure a position prior to leaving your home country. This is mainly because UK employers have enough qualified candidates in front of them and ready for interview without having to cast their eyes towards overseas recruitment. However, there is much you can do pre-departure to make the employment process faster and less stressful upon arrival! It is WORKgateways’ goal to establish links for traveller’s like you pre-departure that make the recruitment and general UK transition process more effective and enjoyable. Register to enjoy the benefits or see About WORKgateways and FAQ's

Which types of Accounting jobs are available?

Whether a part or fully qualified accountant, or you have good experience in general accounts, there are positions to suit you. For those with experience coming from Australia, New Zealand and Canadan contract positions range from Data Entry to Part Qualified to Chartered Accountant. There are also permanent positions available. For both job types, a suitable working visa will be required. Employment can be found within the private and public sectors, in-house or within large firms including banking accounting, management accounting, treasury and audit.

Some common Accounting jobs are:

  • Accounts Assistant
  • Fund Accountant
  • Payroll Supervisor
  • Fund Tax Accountant
  • Accounts Payable
  • Project Accountant
  • Financial Controller
  • Reconciliations Accountant
  • Internal Auditor
  • Unit Trust Accountant
  • Senior Audit Manager
  • Fixed Income Accountant

Apart from the conventional accounting roles you would expect to find in a metropolis there are possibly two major areas that stand out - Public Sector and Banking.

Contrary to popular belief, public sector accounting is diverse and thriving, including local and federal government and the National Health Service, which are all evolving to become far more commercially focused. Recently however, budget cuts have made some sectors more difficult to secure employment

The Banking and Finance sector, in London in particular has also provided exciting opportunities and continues to provide excellent job options for many Antipodeans. Some common areas are financial accounting/ reporting and financial analysis.
Another big area is commerce where responsibilities for accountants vary from management/financial accounting through to business analysis and project driven roles.

In general, experience of relevant industry systems, specialised products and competency in using a spreadsheet are all skills that you should ensure are communicated clearly on your resume. Also if you are multilingual be sure to also put this at the top of your resume, there are a considerable number of accounting opportunites in the UK that require competency in another language.

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Where are the Accounting employment opportunities in England and Scotland?

Traditionally there are a wide variety of accounting positions thoughout England and Scotland. In the city of London for example, there has always been a high demand for contractors, although this demand has been dampened since the financial crisis. Outside of London, there is also opportunities on offer. Scotland in particular has a steady need for qualified accountants. Many companies have offices just outside of London in the nearby counties. Working in these counties, such as Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey enable many travellers to live just outside of London in what some call “real England” or alternately enjoy the many fruits of living in London with the advantage of an easy commute against the traffic. A smaller but growing number of travellers are also finding employment in the major centres such as Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

How much will I earn in salary or wages as an Accountant?

Pay rates of course depend on your specific experience and on the company or institution that employs you. As a general rule, as you gain UK experience on your resume you will be more on par with your UK experienced counterparts and your pay rates will go up accordingly. UK qualifications and part-qualifications such as ACA, CIMA, and ACCA may also factor into the equation.

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Guide to UK Accounting Contract Rates and Permanent Salaries

Position Location
Contract Rate Per Hour
Position Location Salary Range
Payroll Clerk
7 - 11 Junior Ledger Clerk Birmingham 12000 - 14000
Junior Credit Controller London 8 - 11 Senior Purchase Ledger Clerk Greater London 16000 - 20000
Experienced Credit Controller London 14 - 17 Junior Credit Controller London 12000 - 15000
Junior Accounts Assistant London 8 - 13 Senior Credit Control Clerk   16000 - 22000
Senior Accounts Assistant Home Counties 13 - 20 Junior Accounts Assistant Berkshire 11000 - 17000
Senior Accounts Payable Clerk London 12 - 14 Account Supervisor   18000 - 22000
Part - Qualified Financial Accountant London 13 - 16 Accounts Manager Berkshire 21000 - 32000
PQ or Qualified External Auditor London 14 - 20 Credit Supervisor   18000 - 23000
PQ - Assistant Management Accountant London 14 - 16 Credit Manager   22000 - 40000
Assistant Accountant London 11 - 13 Qualified Management Accountant London 25000 - 45000
Part - Qualified Fund Accountant London 15 - 21 Recently Qualified Chartered Accountant London 36000 - 40000
Financial Account Assistant London 22 - 25 Recently Qualified Chartered Accountant Edinburgh 26000 - 30000
Management Accountant London 20 - 30 Qualified Financial Accountant London 38000 - 55000
Finance Manager London 20 - 27  
Specialist Qualified Banking Accountant London 25 - 35

Once you have found a position similar in experience, location and industry in most cases you’ll be pleased to see that you’ll be able to live comfortably and have a bit of money to spare for European jaunts; perhaps even saving a bit to bring home with you.

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What are the minimum qualifications and experience required?

For a degree-qualified accountant you will ideally be qualified or have 1-2 year’s solid experience in your home country. As an accounts assistant or in general accounts - experience will be the key and once again; 1-2 years experience is accepted. The possible exception to this rule is if you hold an EU passports or UK Ancestry Visa where you can be considered for permanent positions on an equal footing with your British recent graduate counterparts.

Will my overseas qualifications be recognised in Britain?

Degree, diploma and certificate qualifications gained in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Canada are recognised in Britain. Your experience will also be highly regarded however once you gain UK experience you will find your resume will lead to even more interviews.

Should I get UK accounting qualifications?

There are four professional accounting qualifications - ACA, CIMA, ACCA and AAT. These qualifications are given to individuals by the various professional accounting organisations in the UK. There is a perception by British employers that different qualifications are advantageous for different roles. As with most professions however, your experience is the main consideration. If you are planning a long term stay or want to continue along a particular career path you would do well to consider gaining the qualifications in line with your aspirations. Since CA or CPA qualifications are international in nature they are quickly recognised.

What are the British professional qualifications?

ACA, CIMA, and ACCA are the three major UK qualifications.

  • An ACA is an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
  • An ACCA will have passed the professional examinations required for membership of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • CIMA have passed the professional examinations required for membership of the qualified accountants and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants respectively
  • There is also the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAAT) which enables people to study whilst working. It offers practical training and qualifications in key accounting tasks and can lead towards Chartered Accountancy

How do I make best use of my experience and qualifications?

Your skills and work experience thus far will always be the most important asset you can take with you to the UK. Gaining further experience will help you even more and often means an improvement in your rate as well as increased job scope and opportunities. Transferring your accounting qualifications can also be advantageous particularly if are thinking longer term. Fortunately, in many cases the qualifications you achieve prior to arriving in the UK can be transferred. In order to achieve the equivalent UK qualification, often you will need to acquire some UK experience and sit some exams. Exactly how much experience and additional study you need to do is a function of the qualifications you currently have, and the country from which you received your qualifications. To determine the qualification that is right for you, first decide what you want to achieve career-wise then decide which qualification provide the best path.

If you want to know more, here are the links to the 3 major professional bodies

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