Why a Move into Accountancy Practice Could Elevate Your Career

Annie Howland


By Annie Howland, Senior Consultant.

As a specialist recruiter in the accountancy practice sector, I'm often asked about the key benefits of working in an accountancy firm and how it can positively impact one's career.

In my experience, there are three compelling reasons why a move into practice could be the right choice for you.

  1. Structured Career Progression

One of the most significant advantages of working in an accountancy practice is the structured career path it offers. Compared to other industries, finance and accounting professionals in practice firms typically have greater opportunities to progress and develop their skills at a faster pace.

For trainees and graduates, most practices provide a review after one year of service, with some firms now also considering reviews after each block of exams. Depending on the firm, possible promotions could be from trainee, to assistant, semi – senior, senior and assistant manager subject to performance. From there, the average review time for each subsequent promotion is every two years, all the way up to Senior Manager, Associate Director and Director level.

Moreover, working alongside other accounting professionals in a practice setting exposes you to various specialisms, such as Tax, Accounts, and Audit. This exposure allows you to expand your knowledge and gain valuable guidance from experienced colleagues. You’ll acquire both technical expertise and soft skills, which are among the most in-demand skills for accountants.

Additionally, mid-tier to Top 100 practices often provide study support for AAT, ACCA, or ACA qualifications, aiming to help finance professionals qualify within three years. While companies in other industries may also offer study support, the pace of progression is usually left to the individual's discretion.

  1. Diverse Opportunities Across Divisions

Working in a client facing department of an accountancy practice gives you the chance to work with a wide range of clients, potentially involving travel to different offices and exposure to various accounting cultures.

If you choose to qualify within an accountancy practice and later decide to move into an industry role, your experience will make you a more credible candidate to the industries you've served. You'll already be familiar with their processes and procedures, giving you a competitive edge.

Working in outsourced accounts provides similar opportunities to external accounts, but with a smaller client portfolio. This allows you to delve deeper into the commercial aspects of finance rather than simply crunching numbers.

  1. Revenue-Generating Status and Respect

In an accountancy firm, your time and skills are the firm's product. The better you are, the higher your charge price.

Being part of a revenue-generating team that constantly strives to expand its accounting skills can be a powerful motivator. This environment makes it easier and more effective to gain exposure to new areas of accounts compared to progression within an industry-based role.

In conclusion, if your primary career goals are rapid progression and extensive development opportunities, a move into practice accountancy could be the perfect fit for you. The structured career path, diverse experiences across divisions, and the respect that comes with being a revenue generator are just a few of the many benefits you can expect.

If you'd like to explore practice accountancy opportunities further or have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. I'm here to help you navigate your career journey and find the perfect role to match your aspirations.


Annie Howland

Senior Consultant. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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