Advisory in accountancy is what it suggests. The professionals in this field provide advice to their clients (Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs)) on how best to manage their accounting processes to be efficient, productive and compliant with various accounting standards.
Advising companies, great & small...
Companies rely on advisory accounting experts to help them meet legal obligations in the financial information they have to provide. They need to uphold Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) – the accounting standards in a particular jurisdiction, and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) – standards which companies across the world must adhere to in their accounts. So advisory is also about knowledge of the bigger picture. Understanding of all the latest developments in GAAP outside of the UK, for example US GAAP, will also be necessary for accounting advisers working with multinational companies.
Typical advisory roles in accounting...
Roles in this area include auditor, accounting advisory services manager and accountancy consultant. Auditors will often work directly with the client, and regularly on the client’s site, to analyse their financial information and give feedback on findings for how they can improve on their accounting practices for the good of the business and meet standards. This can be an in-house finance job, or alternatively for a professional services firm.
Working with the top of the pile...
Managerial positions usually contain client relationship management duties. They lead a team on projects, which may include conducting training with in-house accountancy staff. Consultants can help companies convert to different standards, providing them with the latest information on changes to standards and solutions for how to overcome the challenges these may pose. Consultants in particular are likely to work closely with the most senior client representatives, sometimes even sitting with the board of directors to provide input and guidance.
Typical vacancies are with accountancy advisory teams in professional services firms or with specialist accountancy firms. School leavers and graduates tend to start out in trainee auditor or analyst roles, usually as part of a structured training programme, before working their way up the ladder.
On the salary side of things, qualified accountants with experience can earn around £50,000 – and senior positions (particularly consultants) tend to have even higher salaries. Many accountants in this area achieve qualification such as the ACCA or AAT, which gives them chartered accountant status and a coveted title for their CV which can bring more career progression prospects along with it.