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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

Careers in… Banking, finance & accountancy

Banking and finance are to do with borrowing, saving and investing – whether that’s in the form of a mortgage to buy a house, a pension fund or the large sums of money invested by businesses and public bodies. Accountancy is about keeping track of an organisation’s money.

What jobs are out there?

There are two types of banking. Retail banking refers to the so-called 'high street banks' where you, your family and businesses keep their savings and apply for loans. In this area of work, you could work as a cashier, mortgage advisor or branch manager. Investment banks help individuals, businesses and other organisations make money from financial markets by investing in stocks and shares and other financial products. You could work as a market trader, fund manager, investment analyst or stockbroker.


Accountants keep track of an organisation's finances. Specialisms include tax accountants, who work out ways for companies to save money on tax while paying what they owe. Management accountants advise on decision-makers on their financial plans. Auditors independently check company accounts.

Career Zones links…

Check out our Accountancy and Banking & Finance Career Zones for information about these areas of work, many more jobs and guidance on what it takes to succeed.

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What skills do I need?

Attention to detail: Accountants trawl through vast spreadsheets full of financial data, looking out for discrepancies and inconsistencies. A single error could leave an organisation in breach of the law or lead to poor decisions by managers. Effective accountants maintain concentration and patience even after a long day. Learn more.

Commercial awareness: If you pursue a career in investment banking, you’ll need a good grasp of the markets you’re investing in. Although you’ll use also data to predict trends, you’ll develop a gut feeling for market trends, allowing you to make good investment decisions quickly. Find out more.

Money management: In retail banking, you may be making decisions about an applicants ability to pay back a mortgage or loan. Investment bankers choose where to put clients’ money, balancing risk against the potential for profit. Every decision has real-world consequences so good money management is vital. Find out more.


What subjects should I take?

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One way to build commercial awareness is to study business. You’ll learn the basics of how businesses work and how leaders make financial decisions. It is a great choice if you are considering a career in management accounting. Find out more.

Computer screen showing financial graphs


Economics takes a look at how the global and national economy is structured, how financial markets relate to this and how money and other resources are shared out within the system. It is an ideal choice if you want to work in investment banking. Find out more.

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Although a career in finance or accountancy isn’t just for mathematicians, the problem-solving and numerical aptitude you’ll develop in maths will help you understand how to manipulate the data in all those complex spreadsheets! Find out more.


Uni or apprenticeship?


Traditionally, university has been the route into both accountancy and financial services, which means that many employers have well-established graduate programmes.


For example, to become an accountant, you could apply to a professional services company, accountancy firm or employer looking for an in-house accountant. While working for your employer, you will study towards chartership with one of the industry bodies – ICAEW or ACCA.


There are lots of ways to enter a career in finance or accountancy through an apprenticeship. To become an accountant, you could do a degree apprenticeship, which provides the same chartered status you can gain through the graduate route.


If you want to get into investment banking, apprenticeships such as financial services professional could be your way into a career as a fund manager, investment analyst or stockbroker.


Opportunities for everyone…

Investment banking in particular has a reputation for being – well – male, pale and stale, a reputation that was deserved in the past. However, the rise of apprenticeships means there are opportunities for anyone to begin a career in finance. Many employers are working particularly hard to increase the gender and ethnic diversity of their workforce – often the same employers that are offering apprenticeship programmes.


Apprenticeships have also opened up accountancy to non-traditional candidates – you can gain a degree without going to university or spending a penny of your own money. If you’d feel more comfortable providing advice and assistance in your high-street bank, you can apply for a customer service role directly. However, bear in mind that branches are gradually closing and future job security is not guaranteed.


Apply for an opportunity today


PwC’s Virtual Insight Programme

Deadline: 8 March 2024

Apply now
National Audit Office

NAO Accountancy Apprenticeship

Deadline: 18 Mar 2024

Apply now

Deloitte Brightstart Apprenticeship - Business And Financial Advisory

Deadline: 27 Mar 2024

Apply now