If you’ve worked in accountancy practice for a number of years now, it’s only natural to feel the urge to make a change. Moving into industry can feel like the right next step, but it’s a big decision. Before you take the plunge, bear the following in mind:
1. Could a move to a different practice be a better solution?
If you’re feeling a kind of career wanderlust, a change of scene could be a less drastic step than leaving practice altogether. So why not move to a new practice, or perhaps even start your own? A new portfolio of varied clients can bring new challenges to shake up your working week, along with a new working environment, colleagues and mentors to reinvigorate your passion for practice work. There may even be better prospects for promotion at your new firm.
2. Can you move back again from industry to practice, without affecting your career prospects?
This is an important consideration, because you have to prepare for the possibility that industry work may not be the right fit for you. While most people move from practice to industry, and not the other way round, there’s no need to worry if you change your mind and want to head back to practice. All experience is valuable, whether in industry or practice. It can even make you more marketable, by demonstrating your versatility within both types of role.
3. Consider your career progression plan
‘Where do you picture your career in five years’ time?’ may be a dreary interview question, but it can also be a valid thought exercise when planning a career change. Think about your long-term objective, and whether transitioning into industry is the first stepping stone to help you get there – or if it will throw you off track instead.
4. Who to work for - SME or large corporation?
A start-up or SME can be a good choice for a former practice accountant, as these firms tend to be less corporate and there’s not such a culture shock. You may also get exposure to more varied opportunities and exciting hands-on experience.
But there are also benefits to joining a larger company. For starters, many big firms have the budget and structure to support senior qualifications and training. And if your career progression goals are ambitious, a corporation is the best place to advance internally to a senior or managerial position.
5. Use your practice experience to find industry work you’ll really enjoy
Which projects did you really enjoy working on during your time in practice? Use this to focus your industry job search, drawing on your particular strengths and specialisms to find a role that is a perfect fit.
6. Don’t get blindsided by salary - take a close look at company culture too
As we’ve touched upon above, working in a corporate accountancy role can be a real culture shock. It can take some getting used to as a practice accountant, and it’s not for everyone. This is why it’s important to give as much weight to company culture as salary during your industry job search.
7. Get as much advice as you can
With such a big career decision to make, it’s crucial to take your time, do your homework and get as much advice as you can. Speak to industry professionals and colleagues, and friends and family too.
If you’re ready to make the move from practice to industry, start your search with specialist accountancy and finance recruiter Sewell Wallis. Get in touch to find out more.