Job type

Private practice accountant

£18k - £100k

Typical salary

37 – 39

Hours per week

Private practice accountants help people and businesses manage their money effectively.

More info

  • Help people and businesses manage their money effectively
  • You'll need an analytical and logical approach, a high level of numeracy, accuracy and attention to detail
  • You could progress to specialise in an area like forensic accounting, or become a manager in a practice

As a private practice accountant, you'll help clients manage money more effectively. Your clients could range from small businesses to large companies or wealthy individuals. You'll deal with all of these if you freelance or work for a small accountancy practice. In a large practice you'll specialise in one area like tax or insolvency.


  • Preparing financial statements, business plans and budget reports
  • Producing accounts
  • Auditing
  • Managing clients' spending and costs
  • Filing tax returns and giving tax advice
  • Forecasting profits and performance
  • Helping businesses that may be in financial difficulty
  • Investigating fraud (forensic accounting)


You'll be based in an office, but spend much of your time visiting clients.

You'll need

For this role, you'll need knowledge of economics, accounting and maths, thoroughness and attention to detail, administration skills, analytical thinking skills, the ability to work well with others, ambition and a desire to succeed, and good initiative.

You could do a degree in accountancy and then further professional training to qualify.

You could also get into this job through an accountancy and taxation professional degree apprenticeship. This is at level 7, equivalent to a master's qualification.

You could also start out as an accounting assistant with a firm and do professional training while working.

To become a qualified accountant, you can take training with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), or the Association of International Accountants (AIA). These each have different entry requirements for their courses and different routes to qualify. If you already have relevant accounting or business-related qualifications, you may be able to qualify in a shorter time.

If you've qualified with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), you can offer the most accountancy services in private practice, but you'll need to register as a 'member in practice'.


With experience, you could specialise in an area like auditing or forensic accounting, or become a manager in a practice. You could then move into a partnership or become a finance director. You could also become self-employed or set up your own company.