You could aim to become a partner at an accounting firm. Another popular option is to progress within the finance department of a business or into a more general senior business role. Many large corporates have someone with an accounting qualification on their boards.
As an experienced accountant, you'd also be very well-equipped to start your own business.
Here's a guide to some of your options if you start a career in accounting:
Career goals in accounting
Career goals in accounting: partner
Many accounting firms are partnerships where each partner, usually a respected senior accountant with a significant number of their own profitable client relationships, owns a portion of the business in return for making a financial investment in it when they are invited to join the partnership.
Some partnerships operate in a very collegiate fashion with decisions discussed and made collectively by all partners. Others operate more like companies, appointing a committee of partners to manage the firm.
Career goals in accounting: finance director
A finance director leads the internal finance team at a large corporate or financial institution.
The typical route into this kind of role is to work for a client as an external financial adviser or secondee and then transfer into the business, though it's also possible to train and progress as an accountant entirely within a client business.
Career goals in accounting: senior business role
Some experienced accountants choose to use their financial and commercial expertise in a more general business role.
Financial analysis is at the heart of the success of any business, and so skills in this area are a great basis for a very wide range of business roles.
Career goals in accounting: entrepreneur
The finance and business knowledge and skills that accountants acquire are a great basis for setting up and growing a business.
Whatever path your career takes, you'll find that the accounting sector takes work-life balance and flexible working very seriously.
So while working in accounting, especially at a Big Four firm or other large accounting employer, can mean a challenging and intense career, you should be able to find space for the rest of your life too.