Accountancy Professionals & Business Change Recruitment Specialists

Nearing the end of your training contract?

Nearing the end of your training contract?

June 21 2017

For many ‘soon to be qualified’ accountants the next few months could be key in the grand scheme of your career. Of course whatever decision you make now won’t entirely shape the rest of your working days, but it’s an important decision nonetheless.

Will you be staying in practice? Have you decided to move into industry? None of the above?

(NB - for the purposes of this blog ‘industry’ means everything outside of ‘practice’)

Some of you may be really looking forward to the coming months, having already made a decision and keen to put your plans into action. Others might be more apprehensive or undecided about what lies ahead.

Having recruited into the Accountancy & Finance market in Edinburgh for the last 10 years, I can confidently say the newly qualified accountant job market traditionally holds excellent opportunities for those of you at that stage in your career. Notwithstanding the usual peaks and troughs of any supply / demand dynamic and there may be a compromise or two required along the way (location, seniority, remuneration etc.), historically our local job market brings variety and volume and for the most part tends to support the majority of jobseekers searches - even those of you that desire something weird and wonderful!

It can be hard to know what you want to do, particularly if you’re unsure what your options are. For instance if you’re coming out of external audit then you may be unclear as to what potential employers will consider you for. Likewise you may simply be keen to keep an open mind and learn about roles where your skills are transferable.

The good news is most of you should be able to go down a few different avenues.

The options in practice tend to be laid out more simply, with the main remits being Audit, Accounts Prep, Corporate Finance and Tax. Each of these disciplines have subsets too.

If you’ve trained in audit, moving into Corporate Finance will enable you to develop more commercial skills and improve your business acumen. Moving into Tax from Accounts Prep will make you more rounded from a reporting perspective and potentially open more doors further down the line, for example in an industry based Financial Controller position. One big advantage practice can have over industry is defined and clear career progression, both financially and in terms of seniority – “in 2 years time you’ll be Manager and earning X amount”. The progression on offer for industry based roles is more subjective, harder to quantify and probably has more variables to it.

The options within industry are far wider and harder to summarise in a few sentences but at their essence can be simplified as Internal Audit, Financial Accounting and Management Accounting – these are the common traits that run through the roles under each of these headings.

To elaborate further:

Internal Audit – any Risk, Compliance, Regulatory or Controls related positions.

Financial Accounting – Statutory, Financial, Regulatory and Management Reporting. Financial Control. Tax and VAT. Month end positions.

Management Accounting – Decision Support, Commercial Finance, Financial Planning & Analysis, Finance Business Partnering.

Over and above these job sets, certain sectors have industry specific roles that are unique to what the business does – such as financial modelling with Renewables, regulatory reporting with Financial Services or hedge accounting in the Utilities sector to name a few. Clearly these industry specific roles can be great for people with a defined interest in said sector.

As I say, what I’ve listed in this piece isn’t an exhaustive record but generally speaking any practice trained accountants, regardless of what discipline you have trained in, should have some options in these three core areas.

Excited and keen to learn what opportunities the job market might hold for you?

At Wilkinson & Associates we recruit into and have a client base across practice, industry, commerce and financial services and the newly and recently qualified market within each of those areas has had some good opportunities over the last few weeks and months.

Whether you have a really clear idea about what you want to do or are tentatively looking into the market to understand what’s out there, I’d love to hear from you. Please don’t feel you can’t approach us without being advanced in your thought process, some of the initial conversations we have with candidates are very exploratory and we recognise that every job search is unique. Hopefully our expertise and areas of specialism can add some value to your decision making.

Ross McQuarrie, Associate Director

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