The World of Accountancy is Open to Everyone

9th November 2016
Geoff Collings

Unlike many other job sectors, your success in the accountancy world is not linked directly to which type of school or university you attended. While many might perceive the accountancy profession to be made up of ‘old and stuffy’ people, the diverse nature of accountancy roles actually allows for a broad range of individuals to enter the profession.

To highlight our point, in a report published by the Sutton Trust, it found that 78% of barristers had attended Oxbridge as had 54% of journalists and 47% of The Cabinet.  Only 31% of those involved in business, of which accountancy and finance is a sector, went to either of these universities.

This one report tells us that the people that go on to become accountants, financiers, book-keepers or Chief Financial Officers, for example, come from all walks of life and that is something that we at Mackenzie King embrace.

While we do not dispute that a good early-years education is important, it should not be the defining factor in how successful your career should be, and with accountancy roles it is not. This is partly down to three reasons.

Firstly, there are multiple ways for people to achieve an accountancy qualification that does not rely on them attending university between the ages of 18-22. From distance learning to part-time evening courses, the range of topics that can be learnt means that there is something available for anyone who has an interest in financial matters.

Secondly, it is an industry that very much encourages promotion from within. Take the Chief Financial Officer of Legal & General – a top FTSE 100 company – as an example. Mr Gregory, who is a chartered accountant, spent over 15 years with the company working his way up before becoming CFO. The finance sector recognises and rewards those who push their careers forward. The nature of the work involved means that experience and your ability to practically apply your skills and knowledge have a far greater influence on your career progression than your educational background.

Thirdly, a diverse accountancy sector is required to reflect the diverse nature of our society. Being a good accountant is not just about being good with numbers but also adapting your services to meet the needs of your client. Every individual will be in need of financial advice at some stage in their life and seeking that advice from someone who they can relate to is a big part of building a trusting working relationship.

At Mackenzie King, we celebrate that the accountancy sector is open to all and not restricted based on their background, and we welcome the fact that accountancy firms such as EY and PwC have changed their recruitment processes to limit the importance placed academic results.

What all of this means for our candidates is that it has never been a better time to get into the accountancy profession and that career progression is only limited by your own drive and passion.