Career Chess: Move not for the job, but for the options it creates; that's what smart accountants do.

Your professional future is a long term strategy – a little like playing chess.  In chess you’re not going to win in your first or second move; but it’s the future options that these moves create that’s key.

Let’s look at a classic example:

Mary trained in a Top 20 firm.  Most of her clients were either smaller SMEs or Sole Traders.  Mary really wants to work in Google.  Problem is that Google won’t hire Mary for a permanent role as there are lots of other people out there with big company experience.  How does Mary get into Google?  She has three options:

  1. Mary can keep sending her CV for jobs in Google hoping that something sticks.  It might…but that’s not likely to work.  Miracles do happen though…but I would not advise betting your entire future on one.
  2. Mary can make a move that she does not really want to, but that will open up more options for her in the future.  Mary can make a move to a big 4 or similar firm where she can get audit exposure to big software companies and then be in a WAY better position to get into Google in 18months time.
  3. Mary can make a move for a contract role in a big tech company – taking on the risk of contract for the reward of the experience that Google might then hire her for.  Google might even have some contract roles open…

What do you want in the future and how will your next move create the options you need?

Other times that this concept comes into play include:

  • Hit a glass ceiling where your manager is going nowhere?  Might be worth taking a sideways move to a similar role/team but where the manager wants a successor in 18 months’ time but just can’t offer the manager title right now.
  • Working in financial accounting and want to “get more commercial experience”.  Business Partnering roles on the commercial side are hard to get.  But taking a step, any step, out of financial reporting and closer to the business will give you more options…. steps like OPex analyst, business process transformation lead, revenue analyst…these will all bring you a little closer to where you want to be… but might not be the “ideal” job that you’ve always wanted.

Play your future like chess – creating options over the coming years is what it’s all about.  Your career is only just getting started.  Don’t go down a cul-de-sac in your first few years PQE chasing the now and not the future….

Or you could just hope for a miracle.  That can work too 😉


Not only are most of our recently qualified accountant recruitment team in Barden (Meet our teams – Dublin, Cork) accountants just like you, we have all been trained in the Barden Career Model (TM).  This unusual blend of experience, knowledge and training allows us to provide a different type of recruitment service!

Contact OR and our recently qualified accountant recruitment experts will arrange a time that suits you to start planing your future.

(Got another question?  Need a steer to keep you on the right track?  Check out the Barden Newly Qualified Accountant Career Guide right here>>>)

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there!

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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