Accounting and financial services are always going to be in high demand and, as well as being a lot of opportunities, graduates in financial services positions tend to earn high salaries. Investment banking is currently offering graduates the highest starting salary of any job in the UK – an average of £45,000 per year. Compare this with the pharmaceutical industry – starting salaries generally average £27,500 for graduates, or the public sector, where you can expect to start out on £23,000 per year.
Why study accounting then? A degree in accounting should never be attempted just because you want to earn a load of money at the end. The degree courses themselves are of great value and provide a range of graduate opportunities with a range of salaries.
The global expansion of the way that business is done today means that methods of handling money and finances have become increasingly sophisticated. People who help manage financial services are key to the success of any business, so a degree in accounting will provide you with a huge choice of future career possibilities.
Having completed a degree in accounting and financial matters, you can join small or large companies to work as a basic accountant, an auditor or a tax accountant. You can move into corporate finance, human resources, management consulting and general management. Accountancy is rarely done in isolation from the major decision making that drives every business forward.
The rewards don’t stop at the salaries. You will find yourself immersed in the study of business and how commerce works internationally. A degree course will challenge you to think analytically and to understand all aspects of financial management. Most degrees offer a substantial amount of flexibility, so that you can chose to follow the options that interest you, as well as those you want to do to prepare you for the career path you have in mind.
As well as thousands of undergraduates from within the UK, universities also provide a financial services education to thousands of international students too. The UK has a strong reputation for being a financial centre globally, despite the general recession and the doom and gloom often described in the media. Much of the world’s financial matters are dealt with in the English language, so students from elsewhere in Europe and other parts of the world combine an accounting and finance course with learning extended English language skills.
In addition to undergraduate level courses, it’s also possible to do further qualifications, including master’s level and research degrees. Graduating with a degree in finance can automatically enable you to qualify for professional accountancy qualifications, giving you a string of impressive letters after your name.
As a graduate in accounting and finance, you are also in a position to work towards a more ethical future for international banking, which has suffered from some negative press in recent years.