Accounting and finance

All businesses, large and small, need accounting and finance professionals, creating many opportunities for apprentices in this sector.
Nick – Accounting and Finance Apprentice, PGA European Tour.

What’s an apprenticeship in accounting and finance?

As an apprentice in accounting and finance, you will gain valuable, real-life experience which can make you more employable compared to other entry pathways. There are a range of different apprenticeships available, and some come with the potential to achieve a degree or other globally-recognised accounting qualification.

If you aspire to be a partner in an accountancy firm or a bank manager, an apprenticeship in this sector could help you achieve that goal. Equally, it could unlock the opportunity to become a valued senior manager in any industry you choose.

There is a vast range of career options in accounting and finance, from data analysts and accountants to bankers, insurance brokers, financial planners and finance directors. You could also specialise in advising individuals when it comes to tax returns, pensions and managing finances.

Tayla Johnson – Level 3 Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship, RSA Insurance

“I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do but didn’t want to go to university and later feel trapped and with student debt. I knew I wanted a qualification that would benefit me and help with my career, but I also wanted to be working, an apprenticeship ticked those boxes for me.”

Clare Connor – Professional Development Consultant, RSA Insurance

“Our apprentices are full-time, permanent employees from day one and we’re here to help and nurture them to become the future leaders in our business. The make-up and demographic of our company is changing and we’re discovering innovative and fresh ideas all the time as a result of our apprenticeship programmes.”

Facts and stats

Average salary
The average salary after qualification in the finance and accounting sector in the UK is £38,7221.
Employment
The accounting and finance industry employs 2.3 million people in the UK2.
Core skills
Finance is one of the top five skills most needed by employers3.
Economic growth
In 2020, the financial services sector contributed £164.8 billion to the UK economy4.
Membership and qualifications
Some of the qualifications you gain during an apprenticeship will allow you membership to professional bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the AAT.
Prospects
Accounting principles help you keep track of business financials, prepare for taxes and set up businesses for success, opening the door to consultancy work.

Who would suit an apprenticeship in accounting and finance?

Apprenticeship opportunities are available across lots of organisations including accountancy firms, banks and insurance brokers, as well as in-house finance roles within companies in every industry.

Apprenticeships in accounting and finance provide many options ranging from an accounting technician role through to a chartered accountant. There are also opportunities within the financial services sector leading to careers such as mortgage advisors or financial planners.

Large accountancy firms such as KPMG and Deloitte offer opportunities to study towards professional accounting qualifications whilst gaining valuable real-world experience. You’ll also benefit from the experience of working within a team and building client relationships. There are also opportunities to pursue a career within well-known organisations such as Lloyds Bank, Marks and Spencer and Nestlé.

You may suit an apprenticeship in accounting and finance if you’re good with numbers, have great attention to detail and strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Mike Dawson – Level 7 Finance Apprenticeship, RSA Insurance

"The best tip I’d give anyone looking at apprenticeships in finance, is keep a bank of all the responses you give on the online questionnaires. Different companies will be looking for different attributes in their applicants, so it’s really useful to note those and make sure your answers match their requirements and your aspirations.”

Ann-Fernee – Haye Level 4 Apprentice, Lloyds Banking Group

“This apprenticeship has finally opened the door to a career for me and that’s what I’ve always wanted. I feel secure in what I’m doing here and I believe the sky really is the limit now. I’ve already got my first promotion to Senior Fraud Data Analyst and I’m only at the start of my career.”

Discover employers offering apprenticeships

Liking the sound of an apprenticeship but not sure where to beging looking? Get to know leading brands and the range of aprenticeships they offer. Everything from finance to engineering, and data analysis to project management.

Explore employers

Pros
  • It’s a well-paid sector to work in, with plenty of opportunity for progression.
  • You can gain industry-recognised accounting qualifications.
  • Finance skills will always be in demand.
Cons
  • You could be one of only a few younger people working in your team.
  • With the rise of digital, technical skills will be as important as financial skills.
  • It’s a fast-paced environment.

Why choose an apprenticeship in accounting and finance?

Being able to successfully manage finances is one of the most sought-after skills in business. Developing that knowledge through hands-on experience and working towards a qualification at the same time will make you very employable in the job market.

My apprenticeship gives me a broad understanding of all the different financial functions in a business.

Mike Dawson, Apprentice at RSA Insurance

Apprenticeships often allow you to gain industry-recognised, professional qualifications, meaning you can use your qualification to take your career into any area of finance, in whichever sector suits your goals.

Employers offer their apprentices lots of support, so you can usually expect career coaching, regular feedback and flexibility in the study element of the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships provide a structured and supportive system to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours in our workforce.

Clare Connor, Employer at RSA Insurance

Industry top tips

Watch our top tips on how to get into accounting and finance from Nick, an apprentice at PGA European Tour.

How do you start an apprenticeship?