Why Staying in Public Practice can be a Good Career Move
There are many things to consider before moving from one Chartered Accounting firm to another. At Fluid Recruitment we deal with many candidates who are looking at making this transition. We know the reasons why people look to make a switch, the biggest challenges they face when doing so and the opportunities that are available.
Better use of one’s skills
Candidates may want to work in different industry sectors or with a new client base. They may have only gained experience with small-scale SME clients to date, or just within a particular sector such as manufacturing and construction and as their career progresses want to focus on the sectors that are of most interest to them, or that they have genuine connections with e.g., agribusiness and farming.
Along similar lines a candidate may specialise in one discipline (e.g., Insolvency) and there could be a bigger focus on this at another firm. This can enable a candidate to work to their full potential, so the switch is generally an attractive one. Equally if you are stuck doing compliance work only you may need to move to gain more advisory exposure.
Sometimes it is simply deciding it is time for a fresh start in a new firm. Seeing a similar role advertised can easily spike the interest of these candidates. Needing a new environment and challenge can be what someone needs to avoid going stale. The opportunity for longer term progression may simply not be available within the existing organisational structure.
People are different though and some candidates show no concern of taking on a role with the same industry background. In fact, some people prefer to work in an industry that they have experience with previously, seeing this as an opportunity to become an expert in their field. Changing jobs and firms can often be daunting for candidates, so this prior experience definitely helps with confidence levels in terms of hitting the ground running and adding value straight away in a new environment.
To face new challenges
This is often seen with candidates who work in a smaller firm and desire to move to a larger one. Working for a larger firm often means that the opportunity is there to gain larger sized appointments, or more advisory focused responsibilities. Candidates are more than willing to take on this bigger workload if it means they get to challenge themselves more.
On the other side of the coin, candidates already in a larger/top tier firm don’t necessarily want to continue working for one. Time and time again we hear candidates working in these firms saying it isn’t all about the prestige of the firm and the company culture means more to them. Sure, having worked in a Big Four company or similar looks great on your CV. But work/life balance is a major consideration and candidates understand that balancing their lifestyle with their work can enhance their career. It is common practice in the top firms to work long hours. Some candidates can only do this for so long and there comes a time when they want more of a life outside of work and are happy to work in a smaller firm if it means they can get this. Moving to a smaller firm can also lead to more exposure, as there are less people to share the work between and it can lead to far more direct client contact, which appeals to many.
Ultimately, some candidates will prefer to be a small fish in a big pond, whereas others prefer to be a big fish in a small pond.
Some candidates are naturally introverted and although meeting with different clients may be a part of their job description, they might never be entirely comfortable doing it. More extroverted individuals might look at moving firms for the opposite reason. These candidates usually embrace face-to-face interaction and will jump at an opportunity to move firms if it means they will do a similar job but with more client contact. This can vary hugely from one firm to another, so it is important to be really clear about the aspects of the job you enjoy and the aspects that you don’t, so as to identify the best possible fit.
Salary and location
There is a clear and visible progression path for candidates within Public Practice, whether they are working in Insolvency, Audit, Tax, or Business Services. If a candidates’ progression is hindered when they are ready to step up into a more senior role then moving may be the answer and open discussions should be had around this, as it may be in the best interests for all concerned. Candidates will also consider leaving when they feel like they are being held back by continuing to work at the same level and not getting a promotion when expected.
Candidates often have the location of a role in mind when considering salary expectations. A long commute can make the day even more of a grind. Candidates have been known to move firms for less money than they had been on in their previous role if it meant their commute to work was reduced.
As you can see, candidates have various motivations for moving from one Chartered firm to another. You should take these into consideration before thinking seriously about the next step in your career as there really are some great opportunities available within this sector. If you have any queries or would like to discuss this further, then please don’t hesitate to email us directly through firstname.lastname@example.org
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