What can I do with my accounting and finance degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with an accounting and finance degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your study of Accounting and Finance will provide you with knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers, both in terms of directly-relevant technical skills in addition to broader soft skills, such as:

  • analytical skills: synthesis and interpretation of large data sets; identification of trends, errors, inaccuracies etc.
  • close attention to detail
  • strong written skills and ability to write documents such as clear and concise formal reports
  • logical thinking
  • commercial awareness
  • problem-solving skills.

Career options

Accounting and Finance degrees offer a broad range of career opportunities.

Whichever of the above subject areas you’ve studied, it’s worth remembering that many different types of business may be open to you as a future workplace. For example, you could choose to work for a large Accountancy or Finance firm as well as having the option to work in a small- or medium-size business, that may function in a completely different sector, in an Accountancy- or Finance-related role. Other job options that relate directly to these degrees include:

  • Chartered accountant
  • Forensic accountant
  • External auditor
  • Risk manager
  • Stockbroker

Related job options to these degrees include:

  • Actuary
  • Business development manager
  • Civil service fast streamer
  • Data analyst
  • Economist
  • Management consultant.

You could also apply the broader skills developed during your degree to many other opportunities: it is estimated that although graduate employers often specify a minimum degree classification as part of their shortlisting, approximately 70% of graduate employers do not specify that you must have studied a particular subject to work for them. However, graduate employers do highly prize skills such as logical thinking, analytical skills, problem-solving and commercial awareness which are some of the key skills you can develop during your course. Therefore, you could use your degree to access work in almost any sector or industry.

Researching your career options  

With such a wide range of careers open to you as a graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.  

  Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the design association websites for inspiration:  

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth Accounting and Finance graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation, based on the last Destination of Leavers in Higher Education Survey. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Trainee Accountant
  • Assistant Accountant
  • Corporate Credit Analyst – investment
  • Trainee Finance Analyst
  • ACA Audit Trainee
  • Banking Auditing Associate
  • ACA Trainee Chartered Accountant
  • Accounts Production Content Developer
  • Assistant Management Accountant
  • Accounts Executive
  • Mortgage Account manager
  • Forensics Associate
  • Tax associate
  • Risk Assurance Auditor
  • Finance Applications Systems Engineer
  • Trainee marketing analyst
  • Pensions Valuation Officer

*In the new Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18.

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Accounting and Finance graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options in Finance and Accounting:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your individual situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;

It is also worth investigating what further study options the University has to offer as you may find the perfect course for yourself in an institution you already know. There are also sometimes financial benefits of staying on such as a fee discount to Alumni, find out your funding options here.

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • considering postgraduate study
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

You can also connect with graduates through our online mentoring platform Plymouth Connect, which enables you to ask alumni one-off questions or create a longer-term connection.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & Societies    

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to accounting and finance or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.