Private practice accountants inspect, assess and advise on the financial state of affairs of companies, partnerships and individuals. They may work for large or small accountancy/accounting practices, or freelance.
In general, accountants manage and monitor financial systems and budgets, and provide business financial advice to clients. Day-to-day accountancy/accounting activities vary according to the size and type of company, but will normally include:
A key role for private practice accountants is carrying out audits, which are independent assessments of a company’s financial systems and budgets. Accountants examine the company accounts and collect evidence to prepare and then present their recommendations for improvement, outlining the risks and consequences of current financial practices.
Private practice accountants are usually associated with dealing with audits, tax and accounts on behalf of fee-paying clients, whereas management accountants are associated with strategic management and financial decision-making within a company, although there can be some overlap.
Accountants normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They may need to work extra hours at busy times. Flexible working is common. Part-time work and job sharing may also be available.
The work is office based, often at clients’ premises when conducting audits. In some instances, travel and time away from home may be required. Dress code is usually formal.
To be an accountant you should have:
Degrees aren't always needed to become a private practice accountant but you will be expected to have good GCSE's and A Levels particularly in maths and English. There is the possibility of getting this job through an apprenticeship.
It is also recommended to become qualified with one of the following professional bodies:
Job opportunities are good, and there is scope to move into industry and commerce or the public sector. Check out the following career guide for more details:
It is common to move between firms of different sizes to gain promotion and experience.
Accountants working for private firms may become partners of the firm and so increase their income and reputation.
UK accountancy qualifications are recognised across the world and there are opportunities to work abroad.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a private practice accountant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
2 Central Quay
89 Hydepark Street
Tel: 0141 582 2000
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
Tel: 020 7920 8100
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Tel: 0131 347 0161
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)
Tel: 028 9032 1600
Association of International Accountants (AIA)
South Bank Building
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 482 4409
Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB)
Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC)
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366