Accountancy: Will Industry or Practice Further My Career?

Lynne Macdonald

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear from recently qualified accountants is this: Should I look to Practice or Industry to further my career?

The answer – as is the question – is complex, as it can really depend on the individual candidate and what they are looking for from their career. There are many preconceived ideas – some true, others not – about both the Industry and Practice sides of the market. As a candidate, you may wonder which is the better path for you, in terms of both personal and professional development.

If you were to look at Industry, one of the things that jumps out is the fact that there is no business development to be done – which can be a plus for those candidates who prefer not to be on the phone or clocking up billing hours with clients. Since you are working exclusively for one company, there is no need to try and secure more business.

Working with just “one client”, in turn, entails that you can have a hand in building up a business from a strategic point of view; making analytical and calculated decisions to benefit your client. You can focus on one specific set of needs and requirements within your work. There is also the potential to get involved with projects at a more senior level, for example, corporate finance.

Industry roles in general are also initially more lucrative in terms of basic salary and the work/life balance on offer to candidates. Whilst it is often said that opportunities to progress are not as clear cut in Accountancy industry, there is the real opportunity to make an impact on your employer and drive the business forward.

If you have worked in Practice, it may seem a bit daunting to go from a business full of like-minded people to potentially being the only accountancy head or part of a much smaller team. However, this is the chance for you to have autonomy over your own desk, progress things in your own way and work with different parts of a business outside finance. Besides, if you have worked with your recruiter, you will no doubt be part of a business that suits your working style in terms of size and location – avoiding any potential pitfalls.

Moving from Practice to Industry is a much easier career move to make than the reverse, so it’s definitely something you should consider if you feel like you need a bit more variety, ownership and work/life balance. You can still use the skills you have gained from Practice – you’ll just be applying them in a different way.

If you’re Newly Qualified in the Accountancy market or are, indeed, looking for a move from Practice to Industry, get in touch with me to discuss your options: 0141 212 0380 / lmacdonald@hrcrecruitment.co.uk

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