If you are coming to the end of your training contract, either with the Big Four or with a smaller firm, you are in an enviable position right now; especially if you have passed all your exams first time!
Now you are Chartered, you are there saying “Finally the world is my oyster, no more long hours, no more boring work. Come on industry, show me the money! And work life balance……. And career opportunities”.
Stop right there, take a step back and think about it. Every Qualified Senior coming to the end of their training contract with professional services thinks that Industry is the way to go. For some people yes it is, but it’s not for everyone.
There are definitely great opportunities, but they don’t necessarily deliver on the money or the work life balance; your career may not have the structure or opportunities that you think it would have. Depending on the size of the team, you can end up back at the bottom of the ladder. Also, the idea that you won’t have to work the long hours anymore is wrong, everyone across the country is working harder and longer, but if you are lucky, there are opportunities to work smarter where the company’s culture allows.
You are at a crossroads and very enviable one. Now is not the time to “go with the flow”, you need to be strategic, decisive and focused about your next move: be it taking a promotion with your training firm, moving into another part of the firm, taking a role in Industry, travelling or doing something altogether different.
Also, what you need to remember, qualifications will take you anywhere, but your attitude, work ethic, how you treat people and how you perform will get you to where you want to be– your reputation is everything!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR DECISION:
Ask yourself what it is you really want next. Is it the first step that will take you to your ultimate goal? Examine why you want it. Be strategic, research, plan, weigh up the pros and cons. It is your career, so you need to control it and manage it.
Be prepared to work hard. There are long hours in industry as well. The key is how to work smart. You are spoilt with laptops, and constant connectivity but not all businesses operate in the same fashion, be prepared for a desktop and desk phone!
Not every Grad programme offers the number of permanent roles that you have available to you in the firm with which you trained. You spent four years getting to know the firm, you’ve built up your reputation and hopefully you will have networked internally. Ultimately it is about managing your brand so keep this in mind. Network carefully for your next role.
You will hear that it is a candidate driven market, but it is really tough. Whether your job search is to go via an agency or you go direct, remember your motivation and stay true to it.
As Recruiters/Employers we only care about one thing: cut and dry, do you have the skill set? After that, do you have the passion for the product and brand? Will you fit into the culture? Do you fit into the benchmarking? Just because you are qualified, does not mean a 50% pay increase, don’t put yourself out of the running before even starting, do your research! Take advice and be realistic!
Companies with strong people engagement policies will talk about succession plans, career paths learning and development. Do you know anyone working there? Is the engagement they talk about really there? What is the team structure? Do people get promoted? What are the growth plans? Outsourcing is common now, what is the likelihood of that happening?
Practices by their very nature offer well defined career progression, continual assessment, performance reviews, mentoring, learning and support to build. Ultimately access to a very diverse range of clients and variety in work.
On a final note, congratulations again! You have done amazingly to get where you are. Your hard work and dedication does not and should not go unrecognised. Best of luck with the next steps of your journey.
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2015
2015 looks like being the busiest year yet for eight years in the Public Practice market in Ireland. It will provide great opportunities for career oriented practice candidates to develop their careers even further.
ABOUT ACCOUNTANCY PUBLIC PRACTICE
Georgina Kirwan heads up our Public Practice & Tax division at Abrivia. She has over 10 years’ recruitment experience, 5 years recruiting within the Big 4, the remainder being in-house with telecoms and banking companies. Georgina has developed an in-depth knowledge of the market and has an extensive network of contacts with the ‘Big 4’ and ‘Top 20’ accountancy firms.
Written by Georgina Kirwan