There are three main career areas within the finance sector, Accountancy and Financial Management, Banking and Investment and Financial Services and Risk Management. There is much overlap within these areas, as many employers offer a wide range of services.This section is about
Employment in this field includes auditing, corporate finance, financial accounting, forensic accounting, management accounting, risk management, tax and commercial finance.

In particular, check these career insights for specific information about the skills you need to demonstrate to succeed and how to get in. A strong application shows your examples for these skills from study, extra-curricular activities and work experience/volunteering. Employers will expect you to have some fundamental knowledge of your future role. For example, in accountancy you would be working mostly with a range of clients, from very large to very small businesses, whereas in financial management you would work in-house for your employer who is also your client.

Career insights and jobs/internships

  • Inside Careers – Highly substantial career guides with case studies, employer insights, advertised training and work experience schemes with top accountancy and finance employers.
    1. Chartered Accountancy
    2. The Tax Profession
  • The Directions Online career service is a one stop shop for learning about the financial sector, and it is run by the Financial & Legal Skills Partnership (FLSP), offering everything you need to start planning a career in the financial services sector, comprising: Accountancy, Banking, Finance, Financial Planning, Insurance, Investments, Pensions and Legal.  Go to
  • eFinancialCareers
  • Graduate Prospects (profiles include job descriptions, salary and conditions, entry requirements, training, career development, job vacancies, professional bodies, related jobs and graduate case studies)
    Click here for job profile for Chartered Management Accountant
  • The HAT Group (a training consortium, offering over 60 places each year with small to medium-sized firms of accountants, recruiting ACA & ACCA trainees on behalf of their member firms. The HAT group’s management includes former Kent graduates. They have around 60 roles each year, with two intakes,  January and August, but accept applications all year round. Most vacancies are in central London, but there are also opportunities in Surrey, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire and Manchester.)
  • Target Jobs (sector information, job descriptions, how to get hired; includes a feature The Big 4 – how well do you know them?)
  • (jobs pages and specific tips about how to get into accountancy)
  • Paraplanning

    Paraplanning is a little-known part of the financial advice/financial planning/wealth management sector, which in itself is not tremendously well understood.

    Whereas financial planners are client-facing in their work, paraplanners are based in the back office and have a focus on financial market research and report writing.

    Paraplanning is a stepping-stone to becoming a client-facing financial planner; it gives a member of staff time to take professional qualifications needed to do the financial planning role and gain valuable experience of the financial advice process.

    Paraplanning is also a career in its own right, for those who prefer the technical, analytical aspect of a role over client interaction.  To learn more about what’s involved in plaraplanning,you might like to read the case study from a trainee paraplanner at Para-Sols. Click here to read the paraplanning case study.


Professional bodies and useful resources


The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 142,000 chartered accountants worldwide. Their main role is to ensure quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession. The ICAEW provides professional development, shares knowledge, insight and technical expertise.

Click here to access the ICAEWs careers website for university students; and in Scotland: Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS). – for career insights into different accounting/finance roles. – for tips about improving your employability.


ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It aims to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. It supports 170,000 members and 436,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills needed by employers. ACCA work through a network of 92 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development.

ACCA jobs pages

Handout “Ten ways to find a job”


Most accounting qualifications train people for private practice, working on external audit and tax issues. CIMA prepares people for a career in business. It teaches skills for strategic advice, managing risk and making key decisions.

Chartered management accountants have a wide-ranging remit that includes advising managers about financial implications of projects, making financial predictions based on business decisions, formulating business strategy, monitoring spending, and performing internal audits.


CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the world’s only professional accountancy body that specialises in public services. They have 14,000 members who work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance.

Free Student Membership: CIPFA offers free university student memberships for 12 months and internships. 

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators provide information and professional development in corporate governance, regulation, compliance etc in the private sector and increasingly in Education, Health, and other parts of the public and charity sectors.

Its career opportunities and qualifications are closest to Law and accountancy, and are good alternatives to those professions. Students of any discipline can apply for positions.

For current events, competitions, job shadowing opportunities, internships and attending Company Annual General Meetings see blog post here: 


Useful resources


The Gateway

This is an online edition of The Gateway, a student newspaper in the style of the Financial Times with information about careers in finance, banking and accountancy. Click here for The Gateway Online.

A career in Accountancy?

Article published on the University of London’s Careers Group blog, written by Article by The Accountancy


This is a nationwide directory providing a hub of industry information and news; mostly aimed at clients looking for professional service, but useful for students for finding local accountants for speculative approaches. Go to

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The FSA is the regulator of all providers of financial services in the UK, whereas the Bank of England retains responsibility for systemic risk. The FSA is also a popular employer with graduates, and vacancies are posted on their website. Go to

Career profile videos

The A-Z Other Careers tab in this blog includes links to some excellent sites providing careers profile videos and insights from other graduates who are working in that field. You can search these by sector and job title, and there is also additional information relating to that career field, such as salary information, employers, geographical information and more.