Making your first career move into industry – large corporate or SME?
Jonathan Donnelly from ICAS partner Rutherford Cross has advice for newly qualified CAs who might be considering a first career move into industry.
When considering making a first career move into industry there are several factors for newly qualified CAs to examine: sector, company reputation, benefits package and culture should all be taken into account. However, at this key stage of your career, scope and opportunity for progression are often the most important elements in deciding which path to take.
Broadly speaking there are two main options when thinking about a move into industry: join a large corporation or join an SME. The principal differences between the two are the structure and the available exposure. Each presents great possibilities in its own way, which we consider below.
|Larger scale with more layers of progression
Often larger corporates will have structures in place, providing a clear development path to aim for, with different pay grades and job titles, and potentially scope to work overseas.
|Proximity to decision making
Working with an SME offers greater scope to influence key decision-making in the business. There aren’t many layers of management between a recently qualified and an FD or CFO and you will be more visible to these key stakeholders.
|Learning from others
In a large corporate, you are likely to be working in a team of qualified accountants who you can learn from. Often many colleagues will have taken a similar career path and will relate to a first move out of practice, helping you in this transition.
|Variety of exposure
With less structured departments there is greater scope to be involved in a wider range of tasks, providing the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills and gain involvement in non-finance projects.
|Opportunities to specialise
In larger businesses, the structure provides the platform to gain specialist skills such as FP&A, Technical Accounting, Internal Audit, Management Accounting and Financial Accounting. There is also scope to move into different departments in order to achieve more rounded experience.
|Understanding the organisation’s “bigger picture”
In smaller organisations you will gain greater exposure to the operations of a business and will quickly be able to understand the key drivers.
Whether joining a large or small business, private or public sector, once in industry it's key that a newly qualified CA continues to impress the stakeholders they work with. The opportunities which present themselves may differ in nature but taking ownership of your deliverables and building positive relationships with those you work alongside is ultimately key to ensuring your career continues to flourish.
Jonathan Donnelly leads on newly qualified recruitment for Rutherford Cross, with a strong track record of facilitating career advancement for young CAs in the West of Scotland.
Find out more about Rutherford Cross and how they can help you on your career journey:
This is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.