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Accountancy or finance jobs? What exactly is involved?

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    Hi everyone I'm currently studying a BA Economics degree, although I'm interested in switching to BA Economics & Finance (possible in theory but not sure if my uni would let me). Started off at uni studying philosophy but by Christmas had changed by degree to economics (Scottish system, dead flexible like that).

    My question is, since I didn't originally apply to do economics at uni and therefore did little to no research into economics, what sort of jobs could I get with an economics degree? What actually is involved in an accountancy or finance job? What do people actually do in the banking sector?

    Thanks!
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    That question is far too broad to get a good answer. Making money, spending money, managing money, hiding money, basically anything involving money.
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    As above, not sure what specifically you want to know.

    An economics degree is perfectly suitable to move in to any of the aforementioned professions (Accountancy, Finance, Banking) providing you yourself are a strong candidate.
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    Ah, sorry for being so unclear

    My question is... what does an accountant do, exactly? What sort of jobs are available in the finance sector and what would each job entail?

    I understand these are still pretty broad but if anyone could help at all then that'd be brilliant
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    (Original post by Lintu93)
    Ah, sorry for being so unclear

    My question is... what does an accountant do, exactly? What sort of jobs are available in the finance sector and what would each job entail?

    I understand these are still pretty broad but if anyone could help at all then that'd be brilliant
    Honestly, i'll +rep the **** out of anyone who types out the lengthy reply that question requires. Have you been to see someone at university about your options or had a good look around online? Check out wikepedia, Big 4 careers websites, financial companies careers sites, efinancial careers etc. I believe KPMG and Deutsche Bank (if my memory is right) have some sort of online quiz that helps explain where people can fit in.

    To put it in very basic terms, any job in finance is quite technical. You should expect to be very computer literate, good with MS Office packages at the very least, and a confident communicator. Those are just starting points, some roles will expect more maths/computer literacy than others, and some will require better communication/people skills or even a high concentration of both.

    Investment Banking/corporate finance is good to get into, potential for earning is very high but it is hard to break into, can be stressful and you will be hated by the general public. It is a ruthless sector driven by results, it rewards high performers and drops dead weight pretty quickly. Arguably, once you go into banking, especially front office, you kind of have to stay within banking or similar fields. I don't know much personally but I imagine it would be near impossible to go from trading bonds to working in Finance at Selfridges for example. Retail banking is very different to what i'm talking about here though and is in a completely different ball park so don't get the two confused.

    Retail banking is ok, it isn't a bad career by any means but, most people in the know will laugh at you if you call yourself a "banker" and peddle mortgages to average Joe public.

    Accountancy probably opens more doors and allows more freedom of movement but don't expect the same salaries/bonuses as banking. It's not impossible to earn similar amounts, but it's not easy either.

    There are literally hundreds of jobs that you could go into with your Economics degree, I've barely even scratched the surface with my explanations. It all depends on what your are like as a person and candidate. Your best bet is to do some more research online and then come back with some more specific questions then start looking towards securing some work experience. You should go along to more career events at your university, i'm sure the companies there would love to explain these things to you and hand out all sorts of free junk.

    Great, I ended up being the person typing up a lengthy reply :facepalm2:
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    (Original post by Tokyoround)
    Honestly, i'll +rep the **** out of anyone who types out the lengthy reply that question requires. Have you been to see someone at university about your options or had a good look around online? Check out wikepedia, Big 4 careers websites, financial companies careers sites, efinancial careers etc. I believe KPMG and Deutsche Bank (if my memory is right) have some sort of online quiz that helps explain where people can fit in.

    To put it in very basic terms, any job in finance is quite technical. You should expect to be very computer literate, good with MS Office packages at the very least, and a confident communicator. Those are just starting points, some roles will expect more maths/computer literacy than others, and some will require better communication/people skills or even a high concentration of both.

    Investment Banking/corporate finance is good to get into, potential for earning is very high but it is hard to break into, can be stressful and you will be hated by the general public. It is a ruthless sector driven by results, it rewards high performers and drops dead weight pretty quickly. Arguably, once you go into banking, especially front office, you kind of have to stay within banking or similar fields. I don't know much personally but I imagine it would be near impossible to go from trading bonds to working in Finance at Selfridges for example. Retail banking is very different to what i'm talking about here though and is in a completely different ball park so don't get the two confused.

    Retail banking is ok, it isn't a bad career by any means but, most people in the know will laugh at you if you call yourself a "banker" and peddle mortgages to average Joe public.

    Accountancy probably opens more doors and allows more freedom of movement but don't expect the same salaries/bonuses as banking. It's not impossible to earn similar amounts, but it's not easy either.

    There are literally hundreds of jobs that you could go into with your Economics degree, I've barely even scratched the surface with my explanations. It all depends on what your are like as a person and candidate. Your best bet is to do some more research online and then come back with some more specific questions then start looking towards securing some work experience. You should go along to more career events at your university, i'm sure the companies there would love to explain these things to you and hand out all sorts of free junk.

    Great, I ended up being the person typing up a lengthy reply :facepalm2:
    Thanks! Very helpful reply! Yeah I'm going to start looking out for careers events at uni and am thinking about trying to organise a week of work experience in an accountancy firm over the summer to get a better idea of what they do.

    Investment banking/finance/city jobs sound pretty hard to get into. I reckon I'll get a 2:1 from a mid-ranked university so they'd be out of my league.

    I'll definitely check out all the websites you suggested! Again, many thanks!
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    (Original post by Lintu93)
    they'd be out of my league.
    Never know until you try! :yes:

    Good luck.
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    There are tons of different types of accountancy roles from technical compliance for clients to management accounting to pensions management.
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    I'm an accountant for a firm & I complete companies year end accounts, management accounts, VAT returns & bookkeeping. It involves analysing their financial records; bank statements, petty cash, credit cards, etc (if it hasn't already been entered onto a computer software), then basically sorting it into different 'accounts' or categories on a computer, then checking that they have complied with international accounting standards, that all disclosures have been included, etc. Then finally reaching a set of 'accounts', which show a companies current position financially and what they've spent money on during the year.

    That's as much as I'm willing to explain.

    I
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    (Original post by Lintu93)
    Ah, sorry for being so unclear

    My question is... what does an accountant do, exactly? What sort of jobs are available in the finance sector and what would each job entail?

    I understand these are still pretty broad but if anyone could help at all then that'd be brilliant
    Hi,

    There is quite a good description in this guide about the different stuff you can do. Accounting is on page 52 I think.

    http://www.efinancialcareers.co.uk/careerguide

    Good luck,
    Laura

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Updated: June 13, 2013
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