Accountancy, banking and finance sector
There are more than 2 million people employed in the finance sector, and it contributes billions of pounds to the economy each year. Find out where the jobs are...
Employment opportunities in accountancy, banking and finance are grouped into:
There are about 34,000 businesses providing financial services, such as banking, insurance and financial advice, and more than 37,000 businesses registered to provide accountancy services, including audit, assurance, tax and advisory services.
For examples of job roles in this sector, see graduate jobs in accountancy and finance.
The 'big four' accountancy and financial services firms are:
In retail banking, employers include well-known high street brands, such as:
In investment banking, large companies include:
The main insurance companies include:
Many of the bigger financial companies are multinational and opportunities exist to work overseas, although this may depend upon having additional skills or competences, such as languages.
In the UK, there are far more small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) than large companies and this type of employer provides good prospects for graduates, although recruitment, selection and training arrangements may not be as formal. SMEs in the financial sector provide support for professional training and development and are likely to provide a more varied experience of work.
Graduate jobs in accountancy exist within charities and not-for-profit organisations but the majority of opportunities in this sector are in profit-generating businesses.
Graduates entering the accountancy, banking and finance sector can expect:
Despite job cuts in the banking sector during the recession, the future looks positive for the professional services, with finance and accountancy leading the recovery.
Around four in ten financial services jobs are in London and the South East of England. Although London as a global finance centre dominates, other cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester have flourishing financial centres.
The government intends to establish the Prudential Regulation Authority by the end of 2012 to be statutorily responsible for the supervision of more than 2,000 firms, including 157 UK-incorporated banks, 48 UK building societies, 652 UK credit unions and 162 branches of overseas banks. All firms will be subject to a baseline level of supervision aimed at reducing the probability of failure.
The finance sector has many specialised positions. Discover which jobs suit your skills...
These job profiles are examples of graduate careers in the accountancy, banking and finance sector:
To find the graduate job roles that best match your skills and interests, log in to what jobs would suit me?
For job vacancies in the finance sector, search graduate jobs in financial management and accountancy.
Previous work experience can improve your chances of finding a graduate job in the finance industry. Discover other ways to break into the sector...
It is usual for companies to accept applications from a wide range of subject disciplines, although numeracy will be a key skill for most roles within the sector. The majority of larger employers ask for a minimum of a 2:1 and will sometimes also specify UCAS points. Requirements set by smaller companies may vary.
Graduate recruiters in the accountancy, banking and finance sector require candidates with:
To develop your skills and display your enthusiasm and commitment to the sector, undertake work placements and internships, keep up to date with industry news and participate in relevant university societies.
Employers in this sector place a strong emphasis on previous work experience. Many firms offer summer placements, internships or a year in industry for undergraduate students, which can lead to a permanent job or place on a graduate scheme.
To find work placements and internships, search for work experience and visit individual company websites and your university careers service.
Many graduates begin their finance career on a graduate scheme. As a trainee, you will usually follow a structured training programme and have the opportunity to work in various departments within the company before selecting your preferred area.
To find jobs and graduate schemes in the finance sector, search graduate jobs in financial management and accountancy.
Some careers in finance require a professional qualification for you to progress. Find out which professional bodies are recognised by the sector and how to obtain membership...
You don't need to do a vocational Masters degree to get a career in finance, but it will prove your interest in and develop your knowledge of the subject. You can study specialised courses in financial management, accounting and finance, investment management, and insurance and risk management. If you have a non-vocational undergraduate degree, studying for these degrees can work in your favour.
In some cases, professional qualifications can be necessary for career progression. Continuing professional development (CPD) is important and your employer will expect you to stay up to date and remain knowledgeable about the industry.
Organisations in this industry will support graduates wishing to embark on further study and professional qualifications, often by paying for courses and exam fees and allowing study leave.
For more information on entry requirements and career development in the finance sector, see types of jobs.
To find a postgraduate finance course in the UK, search accounting and finance courses and research.
Membership of an industry-specific professional body will enhance your status within your field of expertise. In many accountancy roles, membership of a professional body is compulsory.
You can undertake international work and study with the many professional finance qualifications that are recognised around the world. The ACCA Qualification from the Association of Chartered Accountants is one example among many.
By joining a professional body, you can also:
The following professional bodies offer members the opportunity to obtain professional qualifications: