Five things to consider before making the move from practice to industry
Making your first move from working in practice is a very big step and not one to be taken lightly.
Working at an accountancy firm gives you access to a varied workload, a diverse client base, as well as great training and development. You will have also established personal relationships and a track record at the firm. However post-qualification, many people start to think about their longer-term career aspirations and wonder if making the move away from practice is the right thing to do.
Here are the top five things to consider when making the move from the profession:
1. Should I stay or should I go?
The first question to ask is whether you need to leave practice at all? Working in practice offers a great career in terms of personal & professional development, career progression and good earning potential. Have you considered the opportunities that exist internally?
Alternatively, have you considered what working in another accountancy firm could offer? A different client base, a different working environment, different mentors and a possible promotion are all things that you could get from staying in the profession but moving to a new firm.
2. Moving sideways isn’t a bad thing
If you decide a move into industry is the answer, then the next question is ‘what role to move into?’. Many people want to move straight from audit or business services into management accounting or commercial finance roles, however there isn’t always a natural fit into those positions.
Moving into industry and learning a new sector is challenging in itself and combining that with a role that you are not fully experienced in can be a struggle. Consider moving into Internal Audit (if it’s a larger company) or Financial Reporting roles as a stepping stone into industry with the aim of progressing internally into commercial finance roles.
3. What's your 5-year career plan?
When making the move from practice, consider what your longer-term career plans are. If you are keen to move into a finance leadership role then getting staff management experience will be essential, so seek out roles that offer team management.
If you want to move into investments or private equity then getting exposure to Transaction Services or Corporate Finance will be required. Think about the longer-term goal and make sure your next move ticks the experience boxes that you require.
4. Consider the 3P’s: Position, Person & Package
Position – in terms of responsibilities and scope, does the role offer what you want and need? What are the opportunities to progress? What can be achieved in the next 18-24 months in the role?
Person – who are you going to be working directly for? What is their track record of supporting and developing their team? A good manager will accelerate your career and development.
Package – be realistic about salary expectations. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity by focussing on the pounds and pence. Career management is a long-game and focussing purely on salary and benefits can mean missing out on invaluable experience and great opportunities.
5. Seek out advice!
Moving jobs is an important step for anyone so make sure to seek out advice and guidance from family, friends, mentors and industry professionals. Seek out the advice of an established and experienced recruiter as they will be able to offer suggestion and guidance on the current market conditions and provide you with a sounding board to bounce ideas off.