A common route in is through a graduate scheme, usually open for applications from September to December in your final year of study – but the smaller the firm, the later the deadline. Graduate programmes typically involve working towards professional membership. Smaller firms may look to recruit entry-level positions on an ad-hoc basis.
Jobs in tax or accounting require training towards professional accreditation worldwide, so graduate and trainee programmes that allow you to obtain this are common entry points in the UK.
Evidence of experience is important when applying for graduate positions. Many firms run summer vacation internship programmes with application deadlines usually falling in February and March, sometimes sooner. Don’t neglect the smaller or niche firms which may give you greater responsibility more quickly. You may have to apply on a speculative basis with a CV and covering letter.
Initial graduate and trainee positions can progress into finance and consulting roles, or the financial foundations gained can provide a means for transition into ‘non-finance’ roles, for example, in project management, operations, and strategy.
If you’ve worked for a number of years in a related position, it is likely that experienced hire roles would be more suitable than graduate schemes. For career changers, relevant experience is important. If you don't have that experience, it may be possible to develop your skills in a voluntary capacity, eg, with a charity.