Accountancy Apprenticeships

At Rayner Essex, we offer a highly successful apprenticeship scheme for those looking to work in the accounting industry. With accountancy being such a highly skilled profession, we believe that it’s important to empower the younger generation and provide them with everything they need to launch a successful accountancy career.

Below, we’ll cover:

  • What does the role of an accounting apprentice look like?
  • Who are accounting apprenticeships suitable for?
  • How long is an accounting apprenticeship?
  • Do you get paid for an accounting apprenticeship?
  • The different types of accounting apprenticeship 
  • Accounting apprenticeship levels
  • Why you should do an accounting apprenticeship

What does the role of an accounting apprentice involve at Rayner Essex? 

At Rayner Essex, we ensure that our apprentices are always learning and being challenged, which is why no two days are the same. Our accounting apprenticeship combines structured training, study support and hands-on job experience. We teach the fundamentals of accounting, providing support with exams and helping you to achieve those important qualifications. 

With an apprenticeship at Rayner Essex, you’ll be exposed to multiple different areas of the business, depending on your interests and desired qualifications. From invoicing to payroll and taxes, you’ll develop a firm grasp on the key areas of accountancy. We’ll give you responsibility with on-the-job training: most of our apprentices have absolutely no experience and flourish into confident accountants throughout their time with us.

Claire, Rayner Essex, Director says:

“I was lucky enough to walk straight out of my A-level exams and into a job as an accounts trainee. I really enjoyed the mix of working and continuing my education. I had some fantastic mentors at work who gave me the belief I could succeed in my chosen career. That is why our apprenticeship scheme is important to me as I am giving back and hopefully helping to inspire our apprentices to follow their dreams. I am extremely proud of the way we have built up our apprenticeship scheme over the last 11 years. It is wonderful to see how the whole team supports our apprentices, not just with their work but with their exams and portfolios. We also love the celebrations when the exam results come in!“ 

Who are accounting apprenticeships suitable for? 

Accounting apprenticeships are suitable for a variety of people, in different situations. You can choose to take an apprenticeship from the age of 16. Whether you opt for an accounting apprenticeship instead of doing your A-Levels or after A-Levels instead of university – the choice is yours. 

If you’ve got a passion for numbers and the idea of a career in accounting is exciting to you, then pursuing an apprenticeship is a fantastic way to get qualified and gain some experience. At long as you’re 16 or over and not in full-time education or employment, then an accounting apprenticeship is a viable option.

How long is an accounting apprenticeship?

The length of an accounting apprenticeship depends on your experience and the level you’re training for. Our Accounting Solutions apprentices join on a 2-3 year training programme and study towards their Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) professional qualification. This tends to be the average length of an accounting apprenticeship. 

Some may increase the length of their apprenticeship after qualifying, continuing their studies by progressing with exams for either the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). 

Do you get paid for an accounting apprenticeship? 

Apprentices do get paid for their normal working hours as well as any training that’s a part of the programme. The salary largely depends on the apprenticeship levels, but you’ll always be paid at least National Minimum Wage and the salary depends on the level that you join on and the department that you are employed in. 

What are the different types of accountancy apprenticeships? 

Depending on your area of interest, you can specialise in different areas of accounting with your apprenticeship:


Bookkeeping is an incredibly important aspect of accounting – bookkeepers are responsible for providing accurate, up-to-date financial information about a business. They must be able to report on financial transactions and gather financial information correctly.

Financial accounting

Financial accounting focuses on the three main statements a business must provide: an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. These statements are incredibly important to get right as they are shared with the company, lenders, financial analysts and external stakeholders. These statements help a business make informed decisions whilst also reflecting the success of the business, which is important for investors.

Managerial accounting

This type of accounting takes a strategic approach to financial statements that isn’t visible to competitors. Managerial accountants look deeper into the pricing, competition, profits, margins and budget of the business. This information enables them to measure, interpret and communicate financials to the business and recommend areas of improvement. This helps businesses to make informed financial decisions.

Tax accounting

Accountants that work in tax are responsible for determining how much tax a company has to pay. This involves various technical processes as well as a knowledge of different legislations. They help businesses to remain compliant and meet any legal obligations regarding tax.

What are the apprenticeship levels?

As mentioned previously, there are different levels of accounting apprenticeships:

Level 2 accounting apprenticeship  

A level 2 accounting apprenticeship is perfect for those looking to start their career in accounting. It’s equivalent to GCSE standard, but you must be at least 16 years old and have 3 GCSEs graded 9 to 4 (A* to C) including Maths and English, relevant work experience or a traineeship in accounting. 

As a level 2 accountant, you’ll act as an assistant to the other accountants at the company. You’ll provide extremely helpful admin support – filing paperwork, inputting data, sending invoices and chasing up any late payments. This hands-on experience will reward you with further responsibilities later on in your apprenticeship.

“It is really rewarding working with apprentices. They come into our firm not knowing anything about accountancy and it takes time and investment from the whole team to help train them, but the progression and growth the apprentices

go through in such a short space of time makes it all worth it. All of our apprentices have a strong work ethic, and it is clear to see that they all want to do well and succeed so they bring a positive energy to the office.” 

Natalie (Manager)  

Level 3 accounting apprenticeship 

Now you’ve gained your level 2 apprenticeship, you can move on to level 3, which acts as the equivalent to 2 A-Levels. If you haven’t completed your level 2, you can still apply if you’ve got 5 GCSEs. You can put everything you’ve learnt as an accounting assistant into practice, whilst gaining more responsibility and learning new skills. 

When earning your level 3 apprenticeship, you’ll work as an assistant accountant, meaning your responsibilities include budgeting, fact-checking, preparing VAT returns and supporting the team in general. 

Level 4/5 accounting apprenticeships 

If you have 2 A-Levels or a level 3 accounting apprenticeship and want to gain more experience as well as qualifications, then a level 4/5 apprenticeship is a great option. This accounting apprenticeship is equivalent to a foundation degree. 

This more in-depth apprenticeship brings you even closer to becoming a full-time accountant. You’ll be able to draft up financial statements and learn how to audit accounts, giving you much more experience and confidence in the role.

Accounting degree apprenticeships 

Accounting degree apprenticeships allow you to earn a degree – debt-free! This type of apprenticeship will see you working as an accountant whilst studying for a university degree in accounting. By the end of the apprenticeship, you’ll have 3-4 years of experience working for an accounting firm along with a degree – setting up the foundations for a strong future career in accounting.

How do I get an AAT apprenticeship? 

AAT stands for the Association of Accounting Technicians, which is the UK’s main professional membership body for accountants. An AAT apprenticeship offers a globally recognised qualification and has levels 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeships. This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals looking to start their career in accounting as it offers a broad range of skills, hugely improving future job prospects.

You need to meet the following criteria to get an AAT apprenticeship:

  • Be over the age of 16
  • Not in full-time education
  • Have lived in the UK for more than three years

An AAT apprenticeship is globally recognised by employers, giving them confidence that you’ve been trained in all aspects of accounting. 

Why should you do an accountancy apprenticeship with Rayner Essex? 

At Rayner Essex, we’ve been running a successful apprenticeship scheme in our Accounting Solutions department since October 2012. We offer a hands-on, practical approach to learning, giving you both recognised qualifications and experience. Our goal is to empower our apprentices and give them the confidence they need to pursue a career in accounting, whilst supporting any studies. Everyone learns differently, which is why we allow our apprentices to progress at their own pace.

By doing an accountancy apprenticeship with Rayner Essex, you’ll be working with a team of progressive professionals who value all opinions. We offer a great work-life balance, hybrid working, good starting pay and social events – meaning you’ll have a wonderful introduction to the world of work.

Since being established in 1967, we’ve built strong client relationships and have a track record of success. By being an apprentice with us, you’ll get to learn from a firm that’s leading the way for accountancy, embracing change and constantly applying what we’ve learnt. 

Amy, Audit team Apprentice, Rayner Essex says:

“Having completed my Level 2 & Level 3 AAT apprenticeship with a previous firm, I took the opportunity to progress my career by joining Rayner Essex and relocating to London in September 2021. I have found my line manager and colleagues to be extremely supportive of my studies, enabling me to enjoy a good work, life and study balance. I’ve not once regretted my decision not to go to university as I am continuing to develop my career and gain valuable skills needed in the workplace as well as gaining accounting qualifications.” 

Laila Khan, Accounting Solutions team Apprentice, Rayner Essex says:

Whilst currently studying my Level 3 AAT, the firm have been very accommodating. They always provide me with a plan to ensure I am able to meet my work deadlines alongside my exams.

Being surrounded by a team of like minded people has been extremely encouraging. There is always a sense of support available to me from my team”.

Rayner Essex Accounting Solutions 

Are you looking for accounting solutions for your business? At Rayner Essex, we’re a team of expert bookkeepers and accountants who can help your business make better financial decisions. We offer year-end accounts preparation to ensure that you meet compliance requirements whilst streamlining your processes. Or perhaps you’re looking for bookkeeping support? We can set up your systems for your specific business needs whilst providing you with expert training.

At Rayner Essex, we can provide you with VAT advice and return preparation. With legislation constantly evolving, we help you remain compliant, avoiding any costly mistakes. We also can offer advice on the best cloud accounting apps for your business, tailored to your needs and giving you complete flexibility.

Our accounting solution services are designed to save you time and provide you with the peace of mind that your business is compliant. We can be your finance department or help out as and when you need it. 

Doing an accounting apprenticeship sets you up for a successful career in accounting. You’ll gain priceless experience that’ll boost your confidence whilst gaining qualifications that set you apart from the rest. Having the support of an accountancy firm like ours will make it a truly unforgettable experience. With National Apprenticeship Week taking place from 6-12 February 2023 – now’s a great time to consider embarking on your apprenticeship journey.

Get in touch

To find out more about our apprenticeship programmes or speak to one of our apprentices and get a better idea of their working day and life as an apprentice as Rayner Essex, contact Liz White who will be happy to assist you further. We look forward to hearing from you.

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