As an accountant, there are a lot of important career decisions to be made, such as deciding whether to go into practice or industry. Knowing which is the right career path for you can be tough, especially as there are differences between the two. As there are clear benefits and downsides of both, weighing up your options is key.
Working in Practice vs. Working in Industry
When you are working in practice, you have the chance to work with clients from a variety of industries. This allows you to improve your technical skills, and to broaden your knowledge base into a variety of sectors. For example, you could be working on audits or taxation, for a tech company or for a business that offers financial services. Working in practice gives you the opportunity to work with different clients, all of which are likely to have different requirements. It’s a good way to expand your knowledge and ensure your experience is varied.
When you are working in industry, you dedicate your time and skills to one business. This allows you to really familiarise yourself with one company, and to get stuck into everything to do with their accounts. You could find yourself handling cash flow, budgeting and costs, as well as treasury management or financial accounting. Instead of spending a small amount of time on a number of clients, working in industry allows you to become a vital part of a singular business. You will be able to focus your attention on the specific needs, requirements and processes of the business.
The Pros and Cons of Moving from Practice to Industry
If you are thinking about moving from working in practice to working in industry, there are some pros and cons to think about. Below, we have detailed some of the main things you should consider.
● PRO - When you move from practice to industry, you can focus your attention on the core areas of one business, rather than working for multiple clients simultaneously.
● CON - You might miss the variety that comes with working in practice, as you won’t be dealing with different clients and varying requirements on a daily basis.
● PRO - There’s always the chance to stand out and make an impact when you are working in industry, as you are dedicating yourself to one business.
● CON - Working in practice means being surrounded by a supportive team and working together, whereas working in industry is a more solo venture.
● PRO - There is always a huge demand for accountants in industry, which means you shouldn’t struggle to find a sector that interests you. You will find an abundance of accounting opportunities in all sectors.
Which Career Path is Best for You?
There is no right or wrong answer, as there are definite advantages to both working in practice and working in industry as an accountant. However, choosing the right career path for you is key, and requires you to consider the pros and cons of each.
If you like variety, working in practice is likely to be the best option, as you have the chance to work with a range of clients. If you are looking for salary bands and career progression within a company, working in industry could be better suited to your needs.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying both. Though moving from one to the other can be hard, lots of professionals change paths along the way.