3 best accounting apprenticeships (with benefits and types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 August 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An accounting apprenticeship is a paid job that helps apprentices gain valuable experience while working alongside an experienced accountant. Apprentices learn about accounts, bookkeeping and financial reporting, earning a salary as they work without having to go to university. They're available to everyone aged 16 or over with at least five A*-C (9-4) GCSE grades. In this article, we look at what an accounting apprenticeship is, list three examples of the best accounting apprenticeships available, discuss how they work, why apprentices opt for them and define the two main types of accounting apprenticeships.

What are the best accounting apprenticeships?

The best accounting apprenticeships are work-based programmes that combine practical experience with training. They provide apprentices with an opportunity to learn about the profession from industry experts and gain recognised qualifications from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). All accounting apprenticeship programmes are specifically designed to give apprentices experience in real-life accountancy tasks while developing their skills and knowledge. The apprentices become part of a team working on real projects, so when it comes to applying for jobs after completing the apprenticeship, they're more competitive than other candidates due to their work experience.

Here are some examples of the best apprenticeships in accounting:

KPMG360 apprenticeship

The KPMG360 apprenticeship is a four-year course that teaches apprentices about a number of areas in accounting. This includes risk, regulatory, consulting and compliance services, customer and insight-led improvement, accounting technology and corporate services transformation. During this time, apprentices also learn about the services within KPMG360 and the methodologies and tools used by organisations. They then develop the skills required to work in different teams. KPMG is one of the big four accountants, making this one of the best apprenticeships.

Related: How to become an apprentice in 3 simple steps

PwC Accounting Flying Start apprenticeship

The PwC Accounting Flying Start apprenticeship is for those who are looking to begin an accounting career. The course is specifically tailored to those with little or no experience in accounting, as it provides apprentices with knowledge and key skills such as data analysis, financial reporting, presentations and communicating with clients and managers. The apprenticeship lasts for four years and aims to give apprentices the chance to study 80% of their ICAEW exams. There's also a £10,000 bursary spread over the duration of the course.

CIMA Level 4 Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship

The CIMA Level 4 Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship, provided by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, is specifically designed to help apprentices become qualified accountants. Therefore, it focuses on payroll and accounting software. This apprenticeship also allows apprentices to gain valuable experience in the workplace. Apprentices are typically trained by an employer, who provides them with mentorship and support throughout the apprenticeship. They also have access to online resources and in-depth training courses that help prepare them for their final exam at the end of their apprenticeship.

How accounting apprenticeships work

Accounting apprenticeships typically take at least two years to complete and provide a salary along with on-the-job training and other benefits. Apprenticeships are available for both full-time and part-time work, but it's necessary for all applicants to be at least 16 years old to apply. It's also necessary for applicants to have a minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*–C (9-4) in key subjects or an equivalent qualification. Apprenticeships may extend to different areas of accounting, such as auditing and tax. Each area has a different set of requirements, including what qualifications applicants need before they apply.

Why do an accountancy apprenticeship?

Here are some of the main reasons you might do an accountancy apprenticeship:

You earn as you learn

Apprenticeships provide you with a set salary as you learn. This may make them more desirable than studying for an accounting or finance degree at a university. Many people prefer an accounting apprenticeship because they want to get into a well-paid job right away.

You gain on-the-job experience

Getting on-the-job experience makes you a more competitive candidate when applying for future work. Many employers look for candidates who have already had a chance to learn about the industry, and an accounting apprenticeship gives you that opportunity. This potentially gives you more evidence to demonstrate your skills, as opposed to someone whose studies have been largely academic and theoretical.

Related: On-the-job training examples (with benefits and tips)

You interact with experienced professionals

Interacting with experienced professionals helps you understand the culture of the accounting industry and how it functions. This allows you to gain insight into how the industry works, which helps you decide if this career path is right for you. It also allows you to learn from professionals who know what they're doing so that when you begin your career, you're able to apply what you've learned and succeed in that role.

You gain hands-on experience with accounting software packages

Gaining hands-on experience with accounting software packages allows you to test and explore different kinds of software so you see what works best for your needs. From there, you may choose which program is a suitable fit for you as an individual. You may also find that some programs are more user-friendly than others, potentially making them more efficient and time-saving. Having these skills on a CV is particularly useful when applying to firms that use that type of software.

Related: Software for accounting: 8 software options to consider

You develop an understanding of financial reporting and analysis

Learning about financial reporting and analysis is an important reason for doing an accounting apprenticeship because it helps you understand how organisations work. Many different elements go into the management of an organisation, but one of the most important is financial reporting and analysis. This includes knowing how to read financial statements, how to use financial ratios and interpret them and how to analyse cash flow statements. By learning these skills, you understand the inner workings of an organisation and make critical decisions about running it.

Related: 7 types of financial analysis (with useful examples)

You start to develop a professional network

Starting a professional network helps you find the right job for you. A good network provides advice, support and information about the industry. It may also be used to find out about activities that are happening in your area, such as conferences or training courses. A professional network also helps you get a job when you leave your apprenticeship because it gives you access to various opportunities, such as possible promotions or headhunting.

Related: Your complete guide to networking at events (with steps)

Types of accounting apprenticeships

Here are the two main types of accounting apprenticeships:

A professional accountancy technician higher apprenticeship

A professional accountancy technician higher apprenticeship is a work-based training scheme where apprentices learn all the skills needed to become an accountant as they work as a trainee in their chosen sector. This training is usually provided by an employer who also pays the apprentice as they learn. The apprentices are usually based at their offices and have regular contact with them throughout their training. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentices receive on-the-job training and exposure to real-life projects, including tax returns. They also help out with bookkeeping tasks such as processing invoices.

An accountancy and taxation professional higher apprenticeship

An accountancy and taxation professional higher apprenticeship is a course that offers students the opportunity to gain qualifications as an accountant or tax professional. These courses are for students who already have an A-level in maths or another quantitative subject. They last for around three years and are usually split into modules that cover financial accounting and reporting, management accounting, taxation and business law. The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) runs these apprenticeships. All training is generally provided by CIOT-accredited tutors and trainers, but there are also placement opportunities. This allows apprentices to gain valuable work experience.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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