For those of you that have completed your final Accountancy exams – the hard slog is finally over. For many it is now time to sit down and plan your first career move post-training contract.
It can be difficult to fully focus on your long term career when you are trying to balance study and work commitments so for many trainee accountants this is put to one side until they receive their final results. The good news is that the current job market is buoyant for qualified accountants and this trend does not appear to be changing any time soon. With so many options available, this article is aimed at assisting those looking to take the next step by providing 7 key points to consider:
Practice or Industry – for many this decision does not take much thought. Do you prefer the customer facing element of practice or would you prefer a more strategic and commercially focused role in industry?
Structure – organisational structure has a profound effect on the nature of the work you will do in your next role. What type of structure do you want to work in? Multinational, SME, Shared Services Centre, Large Indigenous Business or perhaps a Start Up.
CV – this represents your personal brand and it is imperative that it leaves a lasting impression. Ensure you allocate sufficient time to getting this right from the start. It is important to highlight the type of clients you worked with throughout your training, e.g. Multinational Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail, etc. Please refer to a recent article I wrote related to useful CV tips:
Job Title – what type of role are you targeting, e.g. Financial Accountant, Management Accountant. Job titles can be misleading, you should never judge a job based on title alone. Read down through the job spec, research the company and call the recruiter for more information on the role (if advertised by an agency). Be mindful that companies have different job titles for similar roles.
Job Search – where will you find the qualified accountants vacancies to apply for? The obvious place to look is job boards. Don’t forget to tap in to your own personal network however, internal referrals can also add weight to your application if you are coming recommended by an existing employee. Try and meet with at least one if not two reputable Recruitment Consultants, don’t just send in your CV on spec, set up a face to face meeting with the Recruiter. This affords you the opportunity of gaining useful market knowledge and also has the added value of getting you used to talking through your experience in a face to face meeting:
Salary – at this point in your career it may not be the most important aspect of your search but it is important to know what to expect to ensure that you are not being undervalued. Please refer to our salary guide to give you an understanding of not only what to expect for qualified accountants but also what to expect if you go down different career paths within the field of Accountancy & Finance.
Interview Prep – when was the last time you did an interview? For most of you the answer is probably 3.5 years ago and I can guarantee you that your next interview will be a much different experience. So how do you approach interview preparation? Know your CV inside out, research the organisation and the job spec and have a clear idea how to answer why you want to join the company and what you can bring to the role. If going through an agency always try and meet with the consultant to go through interview preparation. People who do this have a much higher chance of securing the role and for this reason alone I would advise where possible to apply through an agency in order to secure your first role once qualified.
Over the next 12 months you will have more options open to you than at any other stage in your career. I hope the above points will help equip you with objective and unbiased career advice at this critical stage of your professional journey. If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact any of our Accountancy & Finance Consultants located throughout the country.
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