adding up what's best for a newly qualified accountant.

If you've completed your professional accountancy exams and are ready to take your first step on the careers ladder it can be difficult to know where to start.

Deciding what that step should be can be daunting but by knowing your priorities and by using some clear thinking you'll can end up at the ideal starting point to launching a successful career.

Practice or industry?

If you trained in practice you may consider a move into industry. It is important you have a clear understanding of the range of different job opportunities available to you.  

Some newly qualified accountants will chose to remain working in practice as practice accountancy usually offers client exposure and management experience. It also demonstrates a mixture of skills across accounting and tax which will benefit you during your career.

A move into an industry role can allow a much closer relationship with one particular company and lead to a more operational career as you support the business as it grows.  

On the other hand, if you feel you are not going to be exposed to anything new by staying on in your current role then it may be time to move on.

If you have recently qualified with a small to medium-sized practice, you may consider moving into one of the ‘Big Four’ practice firms.

Think about your long-term career goals.

When choosing your next move there are a number of things to consider including your own aspirations and the long term possibilities on offer. If you choose to move outside of the practice, the first job you take will shape your career for the next couple of years.

Try to avoid having the mindset of taking any job that comes your way. Decide what kind of job you would enjoy doing and think about the type of industry you would like to work in.

When job searching as a newly-qualified accountant the process will be a steep learning curve and you will begin to have a feel for the type of work you have a real interest in.

By having a clear understanding on the job opportunities within the financial sector you are better placed to choose a route which fits with your skills and experience.

Update your CV.

It is important to ensure your CV is up to date as your current CV should do you justice and describe all relevant experience you have built up over your training contract.  This is your chance to showcase your skills and experience, demonstrating to potential employers you are the right candidate for the job.

In accounting, good IT skills, particularly in Excel are a real bonus as well as knowledge of IFRS, UK GAAP and SOX. Excellent analytical skills are a must, but superior interpersonal skills are also becoming increasingly important including strong commercial awareness.

If you can demonstrate these skills with examples in your CV’s employment history or key skills section, you stand a good chance of getting that all important interview. 

Network.

Allow time to network as this will have a vital impact at all levels of your career especially at the start for a motivated newly qualified accountant. To reach the next level what you need is an effective professional network among colleagues, clients and other personal contacts.

Put in the time, watch and learn the techniques of successful networking, and your efforts will reap their own rewards. Relationship building and self-marketing is a key component in finance.

Learn to be a people person, go with the flow of conversation, and don’t push too hard or too quickly for strategic contacts or contracts. 

Specialisms and your unique skill set.

Have you thought about what direction you want to take your unique skill set in? What will define your career and make you stand out? Remember you can continue to add to these skills and interests throughout your career.

One example would be those who stay in practice, continue to gain corporate finance certificates or take further tax qualifications. By having a unique skill set this will offer you more opportunities and build a strong and rewarding career path.

Check out our career hub for newly qualified accountants here.

Six factors to consider when choosing your next role.

When choosing your next career consider:

  • industry / sector
  • company values
  • work-life balance
  • job level
  • career progression potential

The good news is that the outlook for candidates seeking a career move remains positive as newly qualified accountants remain in high demand. 

At Randstad we have access to some of the best opportunities on the market, we can ensure that you find a professionally fulfilling and financially rewarding role with an employer you really want to work for. 

see our accountancy & finance jobs

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