UK Accounting education

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For all the accountants, do you think that the skills university education is focused at to develop in students are the same skills that the employers require. If no, what is the difference between the skills developed at university education and the skills required at work. Any replies would be highly appreciated. Thanks
 
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It's been a long time since I studied accounting, but the biggest disconnect I experienced working in the industry is that everything I learned was oversimplified. Real life situations were always unique and complicated.
 

DrStrangeLove

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I think it depends on the industry you go into. I've worked in US insurance (actuarial/reporting) for a long time. We have a specific basis our regulators use for measuring solvency, a basis no accounting program would normally teach. It takes a while to pick up. And there are particular FASB ASCs and ASUs that apply to the insurance industry.

I think schools are looking to teach sort of jack-of-all-trades kind of accounting, and letting your employer teach you on the job the industry-specific stuff.

Doc
 
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I think it depends on the industry you go into. I've worked in US insurance (actuarial/reporting) for a long time. We have a specific basis our regulators use for measuring solvency, a basis no accounting program would normally teach. It takes a while to pick up. And there are particular FASB ASCs and ASUs that apply to the insurance industry.

I think schools are looking to teach sort of jack-of-all-trades kind of accounting, and letting your employer teach you on the job the industry-specific stuff.

Doc
However, for me from what I see when going to interviews and passing exams for employers. They seem to expect you out of college to be an expert in their specific field. They always list 5 years experience required and they do give you like 2 exams one is online. Then the next is in person. Then you get an interview but there's 3 rounds of it. You first interview with the HR. they ask you basic math questions and also basic interview questions about where you see yourself in 5 years etc. Then you go to the director that ask you basic interview questions and more specific questions of accountancy. Then you get interviewed by the manager that is going to be your boss. He will ask very specific questions about accounting that relates to the work you will be doing. He will also ask some behavior questions. That's what I have been thru.

I have had interviews from IRS, local cities, GM, Comerica and other banks...etc. They would ask me specific questions in their line and even ask for ways or ideas to cut cost and make their business operations more efficient. I never got the job but the questions they ask are hard because in college they give you theories. In theory this works or that works. They would ask me questions that are about importuning foods and fish from other countries. What would be the cheapest way to do this. I am like applying for an entry accounting position. I am still looking for work but this is at least been 3 years of my experience doing interviews taking exams.

The governmental like the city would ask us to compute the property taxes to bill clients. We would just use the millage rates and times it by the assessed value and add them up. In college we briefly went over it. However, never was on the exams. So, I had to review to make sure I recall it correctly.

Then I interviewed for a urgent care facility but the interview asked me a bunch of form questions. The guy being the CFO and was the brother of the owner. He has a masters degree in accounting but the questions he asked me were dumb. It was asking what forms do you fill out for certain situations. I know the 1040, and schedule-d, k etc. However, some I know in college we went over but it was a while before I did any cooperate tax. I could explain concepts to them but seems like the guy didn't want me hired. So, he asked for the form names and the numbers which for a few of them I told them I couldn't recall.

So, just saying from my experience for interviews they seem to want you to have a mastery command in that specific field and or industry. I mean even hospitals they want you to know about none-profit accounting and they do teach you it but it's hard to answer questions when there's no way you can really prepare for it. Like I had a non-profit class but it was in a single class it was teaching non-profit account and also governmental accounting. I gotten an A in the class. It just said accounting is the same except instead of revenue they use excess of funds (net asset). It's a different wording they use but the concepts are the same.

Got any advice on how to prepare for the interviews? I mean I am applying to anything I can find. I just need to get experience.
I tried banks, governmental, corporations. Most require exams to be taken and then you get 3 rounds of interviews.
I got decent grades. I have a GPA higher than 3.0. Which seems most require minimum a 3.0 overall gpa.
 

DrStrangeLove

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However, for me from what I see when going to interviews and passing exams for employers. They seem to expect you out of college to be an expert in their specific field. They always list 5 years experience required and they do give you like 2 exams one is online. Then the next is in person. Then you get an interview but there's 3 rounds of it. You first interview with the HR. they ask you basic math questions and also basic interview questions about where you see yourself in 5 years etc. Then you go to the director that ask you basic interview questions and more specific questions of accountancy. Then you get interviewed by the manager that is going to be your boss. He will ask very specific questions about accounting that relates to the work you will be doing. He will also ask some behavior questions. That's what I have been thru.

I have had interviews from IRS, local cities, GM, Comerica and other banks...etc. They would ask me specific questions in their line and even ask for ways or ideas to cut cost and make their business operations more efficient. I never got the job but the questions they ask are hard because in college they give you theories. In theory this works or that works. They would ask me questions that are about importuning foods and fish from other countries. What would be the cheapest way to do this. I am like applying for an entry accounting position. I am still looking for work but this is at least been 3 years of my experience doing interviews taking exams.

The governmental like the city would ask us to compute the property taxes to bill clients. We would just use the millage rates and times it by the assessed value and add them up. In college we briefly went over it. However, never was on the exams. So, I had to review to make sure I recall it correctly.

Then I interviewed for a urgent care facility but the interview asked me a bunch of form questions. The guy being the CFO and was the brother of the owner. He has a masters degree in accounting but the questions he asked me were dumb. It was asking what forms do you fill out for certain situations. I know the 1040, and schedule-d, k etc. However, some I know in college we went over but it was a while before I did any cooperate tax. I could explain concepts to them but seems like the guy didn't want me hired. So, he asked for the form names and the numbers which for a few of them I told them I couldn't recall.

So, just saying from my experience for interviews they seem to want you to have a mastery command in that specific field and or industry. I mean even hospitals they want you to know about none-profit accounting and they do teach you it but it's hard to answer questions when there's no way you can really prepare for it. Like I had a non-profit class but it was in a single class it was teaching non-profit account and also governmental accounting. I gotten an A in the class. It just said accounting is the same except instead of revenue they use excess of funds (net asset). It's a different wording they use but the concepts are the same.

Got any advice on how to prepare for the interviews? I mean I am applying to anything I can find. I just need to get experience.
I tried banks, governmental, corporations. Most require exams to be taken and then you get 3 rounds of interviews.
I got decent grades. I have a GPA higher than 3.0. Which seems most require minimum a 3.0 overall gpa.
I ran into similar interview questions when I started in insurance--product features, how different assumptions would affect premium rates or utilization rates, etc. It took me several months working with a recruiter who specialized in placing actuaries to land a job. Eventually I started hearing the same interview questions, and had good answers lined up. It took time, but it happened eventually.

But I had an advantage--I knew I wanted to work in insurance as an actuary. That helped me look for employers, prepare for interviews, and come up with good questions for the interviewers when we talked.

Is there a particular industry you're looking to get into? A particular employer you're looking to work for? If you weren't an accountant, what field would you be working in?
 
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I ran into similar interview questions when I started in insurance--product features, how different assumptions would affect premium rates or utilization rates, etc. It took me several months working with a recruiter who specialized in placing actuaries to land a job. Eventually I started hearing the same interview questions, and had good answers lined up. It took time, but it happened eventually.

But I had an advantage--I knew I wanted to work in insurance as an actuary. That helped me look for employers, prepare for interviews, and come up with good questions for the interviewers when we talked.

Is there a particular industry you're looking to get into? A particular employer you're looking to work for? If you weren't an accountant, what field would you be working in?
I am trying to get my CPA. I want to do accounting. I completed my education got my bachelors degree in accounting and finance.
I just need 1 year work experience in accounting but it cannot be just bookkeeping. My state only requires 1 year work experience for the CPA. I can right now take it but the issue is that I would have 1 year to get work experience and if I cannot do it within that one year then I forfeit the results. I would have to take it again. This is what they told me. I applied to all the major accounting firms but it's just too competitive. Too many people with 4.0's and they have connections that end up getting the job or internships.

There were city jobs needed but most of the entry jobs in my area require minimum 5 years experience working in accounting to get such an entry job position. Right now I am thinking to take the EA exam to get my enrolled agent license thinking maybe this will help?
I am pretty much lost. I got gpa of 3.5 for the University but been having no luck for 2 years. I asked classmates if they got a job. I know a few that had a 2.5 gpa and they got a job at a local soda manufacturing company just doing book keeping for them.

My goal is to get my CPA and want to get experience in various areas of taxation, financial accounting and auditing. If I can cuz I always wanted to open my own accounting firm eventually.
 
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College accounting is only the start. The field is vast. There's cost accounting, management accounting, accounting software (definitely important to learn), auditing and so much more. Starting accountants and bookkeepers focus on crunching numbers in the accounting system, either manually or using accounting software. More advanced accountants leave this part to junior accountants and focus on analysis and management decision making. Many accountants choose to get certification, such as CFC, CPA, CMA, and ACCA. Certification is helpful in learning the field and getting better jobs.
 
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However, for me from what I see when going to interviews and passing exams for employers. They seem to expect you out of college to be an expert in their specific field. They always list 5 years experience required and they do give you like 2 exams one is online. Then the next is in person. Then you get an interview but there's 3 rounds of it. You first interview with the HR. they ask you basic math questions and also basic interview questions about where you see yourself in 5 years etc. Then you go to the director that ask you basic interview questions and more specific questions of accountancy. Then you get interviewed by the manager that is going to be your boss. He will ask very specific questions about accounting that relates to the work you will be doing. He will also ask some behavior questions. That's what I have been thru.

I have had interviews from IRS, local cities, GM, Comerica and other banks...etc. They would ask me specific questions in their line and even ask for ways or ideas to cut cost and make their business operations more efficient. I never got the job but the questions they ask are hard because in college they give you theories. In theory this works or that works. They would ask me questions that are about importuning foods and fish from other countries. What would be the cheapest way to do this. I am like applying for an entry accounting position. I am still looking for work but this is at least been 3 years of my experience doing interviews taking exams.

The governmental like the city would ask us to compute the property taxes to bill clients. We would just use the millage rates and times it by the assessed value and add them up. In college we briefly went over it. However, never was on the exams. So, I had to review to make sure I recall it correctly.

Then I interviewed for a urgent care facility but the interview asked me a bunch of form questions. The guy being the CFO and was the brother of the owner. He has a masters degree in accounting but the questions he asked me were dumb. It was asking what forms do you fill out for certain situations. I know the 1040, and schedule-d, k etc. However, some I know in college we went over but it was a while before I did any cooperate tax. I could explain concepts to them but seems like the guy didn't want me hired. So, he asked for the form names and the numbers which for a few of them I told them I couldn't recall.

So, just saying from my experience for interviews they seem to want you to have a mastery command in that specific field and or industry. I mean even hospitals they want you to know about none-profit accounting and they do teach you it but it's hard to answer questions when there's no way you can really prepare for it. Like I had a non-profit class but it was in a single class it was teaching non-profit account and also governmental accounting. I gotten an A in the class. It just said accounting is the same except instead of revenue they use excess of funds (net asset). It's a different wording they use but the concepts are the same.

Got any advice on how to prepare for the interviews? I mean I am applying to anything I can find. I just need to get experience.
I tried banks, governmental, corporations. Most require exams to be taken and then you get 3 rounds of interviews.
I got decent grades. I have a GPA higher than 3.0. Which seems most require minimum a 3.0 overall gpa.
I can understand your dilemma. Many college graduates face a similar situation. I understand a main issue is lack of confidence. What you need to do is:
1. Decide your career path. That way you can focus on one type of job and prepare for its interview. Applying to all types of different jobs and organizations means you’ll need to try to prepare for each one and won’t be able to master in one type.
2. Search for entry-level jobs or trainee / internship jobs. These don’t require lots of experience and you’ll have a better chance getting positive results.
3. Apply at small businesses. These don’t have long winded recruitment processes.
4. If there’s something you don’t know, like nonprofit accounting, tell the interviewer instead of trying to learn everything. They’ll understand you are a fresh graduate and in a trainee position. (I mean, point this out when required. Don’t fret over what you don’t know.
5. Optimize your resume so that it conveys the right information about you. If you need help with your resume, I can refer someone.
6. To prepare for interviews, research common interview questions.
 

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