In the latest edition of the Barden Practice Series (our practice focused blogs), Aoibhín Byrne, Senior Associate, with our Dublin team and an expert in recently qualified practice and tax and careers, highlights the questions you need to ask yourself when considering whether or not to stay in practice.
The Opportunities of Staying in Practice
So much advice is provided to recently qualified accountants with the big presumption that once your training contract is up, you will leave your training firm behind and move to industry. Whilst a great option and a natural route for many, often the opportunities of staying in practice (either in your own training firm or another firm) are overlooked. This article will explore the questions to ask yourself to assess if practice is for you.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Regardless of what service line you’re in – audit, tax, transactions services, corporate finance, consulting – you need to ask yourself the following questions to assess if staying in practice is a good option for you.
Do you like having a client facing role?
If yes, then practice is a great option, however there are differences between firms. Some will give you more exposure to others, enabling you to develop relationships with your clients. Top tip…find out how much exposure you’ll get to the clients.
Do you like a structured environment?
If yes, then practice is a great option. No other environment offers a structure where roles are clearly defined as you join as trainee right up to partner level. The level of camaraderie is great in practice with support offered by your peer group and management team as you rise up. Top tip…a word of caution, though, it can get fiercely competitive in certain firms, as you rise up so be ready to “fight” your battles to get ahead.
Is career progression important for you?
If yes, then practice is a great option. As it’s such a structured environment, the career paths are generally well mapped out and transparent, much more so than in industry. There are of courses differences dependent on the size of the firm and culture of career progression.
Do you want to become an expert /go to person in your field?
If yes, then practice is a great option. Practice allows you become technically superior and knowledgeable in your area of expertise. A true expert with resources at your fingertips to deepen this knowledge as you move up.
Do you want to earn a competitive salary?
If yes, then practice is a great option. Undoubtedly there can be gaps at certain levels, however with many firms offering attractive bonuses and good benefits, the gap between practice and industry has narrowed in recent years and arguably it does level out as you progress in your career.
Another Consideration…Outsourcing and Consulting
Finally, if the above has still not helped with your decision, an often overlooked option is the area of outsourcing and consulting. A lot of firms now have dedicated teams where they provide financial reporting, accounting services & secondment options to their clients. This can be a great way to utilise your accounting qualification, gain different experience or step into industry and trial it before deciding if practice or industry is for you.
Barden’s Practice Series
The Barden Practice Series aims to deliver practice focused content and interviews with the practice profession, and shine a spotlight on practice as a professional accounting career in the Irish market. Feel free to get in touch with Aoibhín Byrne, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’d like to have a chat about the practice market, career opportunities, building your practice team or have an idea for a blog.