Comprehensive Guide to a Career in Accounting

The Demand for Accountants

Within the field of Accounting & Finance, there has been a shift towards a candidate driven market, particularly in the volume area of recently qualified accountants. Given the solid demand for accounting professionals due to the huge supply of accounting jobs available in Ireland, employers are increasingly offering higher salaries to attract and retain staff; good news for ACA & ACCA’s!


Salary Brackets within Practice Accounting Firms

The average salary of a qualified accountant in Ireland is €45,000 but this may vary in accordance with factors such as experience and role.  

Our recent Salary Survey gives a snapshot of average salaries across the board for qualified accountants right up to Partner level.

 Audit & Advisory

 Big 4 Top 10 Midsized Firm
Partner €150,000 – €240,000€120,000 – €170,000€100,000 – €160,000
Director€80,000 – €130,000€78,000 – €115,000€70,000 – €100,000
Senior Manager€70,000 – €78,000€70,000 – €75,000€67,000 – €71,000
Manager€60,000 – €70,000€55,000 – €67,000€48,000 – €65,000
Assistant Manager€47,000 – €55,000€46,000 – €53,000€45,000 – €50,000
Qualified Senior€43,000 – €50,000€40,000 – €48,000€38,000 – €46,000
Semi – Senior€25,000 – €38,000€25,000 – €34,000€22,000 – €30,000
Practice ManagerN/AN/A€55,000 – €70,000
Practice Accountant N/AN/A€45,000 – €65,000
Management AccountantN/AN/A€35,000 – €50,000




Big 4 Top 10Midsized Firm
Partner 150,000 – 240,000120,000 – 170,000100,000 – 160,000
Director90,000 – 130,00078,000 – 115,00070,000 – 100,000
Senior Manager70,000 –  85,00070,000 – 75,00067,000 – 71,000
Manager60,000 – 70,00055,000 – 67,00050,000 – 65,000
Assistant Manager47,000 – 55,00046,000 – 53,00045,000 – 52,000
Senior43,000 – 50,00040,000 – 48,00038,000 – 46,000
Semi – Senior25,000 – 38,00025,000 – 34,00022,000 – 30,000


What Qualifications are Needed to be an Accountant?

There are different types of accountancy qualifications that you can attain depending on your interest and whether you intend on training in practice or industry. The four main qualifications are as follows:

  • ACA

Recognised accountancy qualification by Chartered Accountants Ireland, which is Ireland’s largest accountancy body. This qualification is often associated with practice trained accountants within the Big 4/Top ten accountancy practices and is regarded as the best respected across the board.

  • ACCA

The ACCA is recognised by the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority and is typically associated with industry trained accountants although more accounting practices are also offering the ACCA as a more flexible training path. It’s education isn’t centralised unlike the Chartered Accountants Ireland qualification and is provided by approved training partners.

  • CPA

The certified public accountants qualification is a common accounting qualification used globally and the education is provided by a network of CPA approved educators, although CPA’s are not common in the Irish market and tend to be trained abroad / self-taught.

  • CIMA

The CIMA qualification is the largest professional body of management accountants and exclusively aligned with industry trained professionals. As it is not recognised by the IAASA, members are unable to become statutory auditors which can be problematic if you want to venture into practice at some stage in your career.


Basic skills you should have if you want to become an Accountant

1. Numeracy

Accountants spend their days dealing with numbers, calculations and general finances so generally enjoying or being good at mathematics/accountancy is a good start! The real role of the accountant is being able to combine an understanding of the numbers (finances) and communicate the way forward to the business owner/client.

2. Organisation

Accountants manage a lot of responsibility and therefore are very busy people. To keep on top of everything, you need to have a system to keep track of those responsibilities. Being a naturally well organised individual will strengthen your ability to succeed as an accountant.

 3. Time Management

Again you are going to be busy! You have to manage your workload and prioritise your time efficiently. Most accountants will give themselves blocks of time to complete certain tasks.

4. Communication

Whether you work in practice or industry, strong communication skills are exceptionally valuable. You may be required to have direct contact with clients so being clear and direct will save you a lot of hassle in the long run!

5. Commercial Awareness

People often forget this!  It is crucial to know where your business and your client’s business fit in the market and how it may be affected by factors such as the economy and political movements.