Est. Reading: 5 minutes
01/23

How to Become a Commercial Accountant

Co-Founder & Director
Co-Founder & Director
Phil co-founded The Consultancy Group in 2015. He provides expertise in placing senior finance professionals into FTSE Listed businesses through to fast-growth SMEs. Typical roles include CFO, Finance Director, Group / Divisional Financial Controllers, Head of Finance, FP&A Director and Commercial Finance leaders.

In recent years, advancements in technology, the proliferation of big data, and underlying market conditions have elevated the finance function to become the strategic heartbeat of any business. The role of finance teams has grown, and as such, the skill sets of commercial accountants have widened significantly. They are now expected to have a key, active role in strategic decision-making that will genuinely impact an organisation. This informative and comprehensive guide will take you through the necessary steps and skills to excel as a commercial management accountant in today’s competitive business landscape.

The Expanding Role of a Commercial Accountant

accountant meeting

Commercial accountants play a crucial role in the financial stability and success of businesses of all sizes. Their primary responsibility is to oversee financial operations and ensure that a company’s financial records are accurate, up-to-date, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements. This includes managing budgets, preparing financial reports, analysing and interpreting financial data, and identifying areas for cost savings and revenue growth. They also assist with tax planning and compliance, manage relationships with financial institutions, and advise senior management on financial matters. Overall, commercial accountants are key players in ensuring businesses’ long-term financial health and growth, helping them thrive in a competitive market.

Education and Training

Becoming a commercial accountant typically requires a strong foundation in mathematics and accounting principles. Most individuals pursuing this career in the UK must earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Upon graduation, many qualified accountants go on to earn a professional certification from globally recognised institutions such as the Certified Public Accountants Association (CPAA) or the Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Accountant Graduation

In addition to formal education, on-the-job training is crucial for building skills and gaining practical experience in the field. Qualified accountants often start their careers as entry-level staff accountants and work through the ranks over time. Strong communication skills and the ability to work well under pressure are also essential qualities for those pursuing a career in commercial accounting.

Job Market for Commercial Accountants

The demand for skilled commercial accountants is rising as businesses increasingly recognise the value of strategic financial management. Opportunities for accountants can be found in various industries, from small startups to large multinational corporations. Those with specialised skills and experience, such as expertise in financial analysis, risk management, or financial modelling, may find even greater job prospects.

As the job market for commercial accountants grows, recruitment agencies such as The Consultancy Group are essential in connecting candidates with job opportunities. Job seekers can sign up for job alerts to stay informed about new accountant vacancies in the United Kingdom. Employment opportunities are available in major cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Belfast, with options for full-time, part-time, or hybrid working arrangements.

To secure a job as an accountant, it is essential to highlight your qualifications, such as CPA or CMA certification, and your experience in financial analysis, variance analysis, and forecasting. Your job title may vary depending on the organisation, with positions such as financial controller, management accountant, or head of the finance team. Employers often offer study support and continuous professional development opportunities, enabling you to grow in your career.

Business Performance and Further Information

Commercial accountants play a vital role in driving business performance by analysing financial data, preparing forecasts, and identifying areas for cost savings and revenue growth. They also assist with tax planning and compliance, manage relationships with financial institutions, and advise senior management on financial matters.

If you want to pursue a career as a commercial accountant, staying up-to-date with the latest industry news, developments, and regulations is essential. Networking with peers in the industry, attending conferences and seminars, and joining professional associations like CIMA or ACCA can provide further information and support to help you succeed in your career.

Ensuring Compliance with Laws and Regulations

A commercial accountant must stay current on industry regulations and tax laws to ensure compliance with their organisation. This includes understanding and implementing changes to financial reporting standards, adhering to tax laws and deadlines, and maintaining accurate financial records. Staying informed about regulation changes can help accountants minimise financial risks and protect the organisation from legal issues. Additionally, they must be knowledgeable about their company’s privacy policy to safeguard sensitive financial information and ensure that data handling practices align with applicable laws and regulations.

Collaborating with Cross-Functional Teams

Commercial accountants work closely with various departments within the organisation, collaborating with colleagues from marketing, operations, and human resources. This collaboration helps ensure that financial considerations are considered in strategic decision-making and business planning. As part of the finance team, a commercial accountant may also work alongside other finance professionals, such as financial analysts, to provide insights and recommendations based on their analysis of financial data.

What are Key Soft Skills for Commercial Management Accountants?

In addition to their technical expertise, a commercial accountant must focus on honing a diverse set of soft skills to truly excel in their roles and navigate the dynamic business landscape. Some essential soft skills to develop include:

  • Communication skills: Effectively conveying financial information to non-finance stakeholders is crucial for a commercial accountant. They must be able to present complex data in a clear, concise, and easily understandable manner to facilitate informed decision-making.
  • Adaptability: The finance industry continuously evolves due to changes in compliance, regulations, and technology. Staying ahead of the curve and adapting to new developments is essential for success in this field.
  • IT expertise: A commercial accountant must be proficient in using various accounting software and digital tools to improve systems, processes, and delivery of results.
  • Confidence: To influence decision-makers, commercial accountants need the confidence to present their findings and advocate for the best course of action.
  • Problem-solving skills: A commercial accountant should have strong problem-solving abilities to tackle complex financial challenges and develop effective solutions.

Networking and Career Growth

To advance in their career, a commercial accountant should actively participate in networking events, attend conferences, and join professional associations related to their field. This helps them stay informed about industry trends, gain insights from other professionals, and explore new job opportunities. It is essential for commercial accountants to continuously invest in their professional development, seeking further education, certifications, and training to stay competitive in the job market.

In Summary

Commercial accountants play a vital role in the success and growth of organisations across various industries. By developing a solid foundation in accounting principles, acquiring relevant skills and experience, and staying current on industry regulations, aspiring commercial accountants can position themselves for a rewarding and fulfilling career. Continuous learning, adaptability, and effective communication will be essential for navigating the ever-changing finance landscape and ensuring long-term success.

London Recruitment Solutions for Commercial Accountants

Are you looking to recruit top talent in the accounting field or seek your next opportunity as a commercial accountant? The Consultancy Group is here to help. Our expert recruitment team specialises in connecting businesses with highly skilled commercial accountants to meet their unique needs.

Whether you’re a company searching for the perfect addition to your finance team or a commercial accountant seeking new challenges, our personalised recruitment services ensure the ideal match. We pride ourselves on our deep understanding of the accounting industry and ability to match candidates effectively with the right roles. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your commercial accounting career or hiring goals.

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