Private Practice Accountant

Job Description:

Private practice accountants help people and businesses manage their money effectively.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you might:

  • prepare financial statements, business plans and budget reports
  • produce accounts
  • audit – inspect books of accounts and check inventories
  • manage clients’ spending and costs
  • file tax returns and give tax advice
  • forecast profits and performance
  • help businesses that may be in financial difficulty
  • investigate fraud (forensic accounting)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • maths knowledge
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Private Practice Accountant, you will typically need a good educational background and professional qualifications. While there are no specific subject requirements, having a strong foundation in mathematics and business-related subjects can be beneficial. Here are some suggested GCSE subjects that can prepare you for a career in accounting:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are essential for accounting. You’ll need to work with numbers, perform calculations, and analyse financial data.
  2. Business Studies or Economics: These subjects provide a foundation in business concepts, which are crucial for understanding financial transactions and economic principles.
  3. English: Good communication skills are important in accounting for writing reports, communicating with clients, and understanding financial documents.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using accounting software and spreadsheets is a valuable skill for accountants.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • training with a professional body

You could do a degree in any subject and then apply to graduate schemes that offer training towards a professional accountancy qualification. Subjects that show you have excellent numeracy and analytical thinking skills may be particularly useful.

If you want to take a more focused route to a graduate scheme, you could take an accountancy-related degree, like:

  • accountancy
  • accounting and finance
  • business and management
  • maths

Some degree courses may give you exemptions from some of the professional accountancy training modules.

You could gain your professional qualifications through the apprenticeship route. You could take your first steps towards a career as a professional accountant by starting off on:

  • a professional accountancy technician higher apprenticeship
  • an accountancy and taxation professional higher apprenticeship

You could start as an accounting assistant with a firm and do professional training while working.

You’ll usually need a UK A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications to apply (or equivalent in your country). Your employer would support you to gain professional qualifications in accountancy alongside doing your job.

Other Routes
You could take training with one of the following professional bodies to become a qualified accountant in the UK:

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  • Association of International Accountants (AIA)

They all have different entry requirements and ways to qualify, so it’s important to check with them which is the right route for you. If you already have relevant accounting or business-related qualifications, you may be able to qualify in a shorter time.

Professional bodies will vary from country to country (e.g. AICPA (American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants), SAICA (South African Institute of Certified Accountants) are two examples.

Professional and industry bodies
If you’ve qualified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), you can offer most accountancy services in private practice but you’ll need to register as a ‘member in practice’ with CIMA.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could specialise in an area like auditing or forensic accounting, or become a manager in a practice. You could then move into a partnership or become a finance director.

You could become self-employed or set up your own company.

You could also teach in a further education college.