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Is Now a Good Time to Leave a Job in Practice & Move to Industry?

Finance & Accounting Principle Consultant
Finance & Accounting Principle Consultant
Charlie has over ten years of experience in the recruitment industry. He began his career in Data Analytics recruitment before joining The Consultancy Group in 2018, where he has since specialised in Accountancy and Finance. Charlie excels in placing both newly qualified and senior finance professionals in SMEs and FTSE-listed companies, primarily within the Media, Technology, Retail, and Business Services sectors.

For many freshly ACA-qualified accountants, their first question to us will be, “Is now a good time to be leaving my job in practice for the industry?”. The simple answer is yes. The finance department is becoming more vital than ever to businesses during the pandemic, and there is increasing demand within the industry to fill out teams. 

Industry can offer many opportunities that aren’t available in abundance within practice, and some not at all. Many find in-house work rewarding as it provides a chance to stand out and impact a single business through continuity and focus. 

The industry can offer the widest range of career options and specialist routes for someone who is ACA-qualified. These are not just tied to accountancy or finance, you may find yourself interested in moving to a more operation role within your chosen business. 

Below we define some potential avenues for a newly qualified ACA within commerce & industry. 

Group Accountant 

In this role, you will typically have some quick exposure to senior individuals across the business, whether In-country FDs and FCs or Divisional Finance Directors/Heads of. You will be involved in providing the consolidated information for the business which will be of keen interest to the board. Group roles can range from being the centre of excellence for technical accounting and producing statutory accounts to Group Financial Analysis and Planning.

Financial Accountant 

This will involve statutory reporting, preparing full sets of accounts, balance sheets, profit and loss and cash flow, balance sheet reconciliations, compliance and reporting. This can provide a great opportunity to get into an industry that excites you. Some feel they may have specialised for three years and do not want to continue doing a similar role. However, these roles allow you to gain knowledge of the organisation quickly whilst your core responsibilities may be more familiar to you. Some businesses will offer this to you as a 12-18-month option to gain knowledge before moving on to broaden your experience in other divisions/disciplines.

Management Accountant 

Broadly speaking we are now into the more forward-looking roles. You will likely be up against those who have qualified in industry through industry programmes such as the CIMA qualification. Your experience may enable you to bring an interesting perspective to a commercial role, and some larger organisations will have the time and resources to ensure you receive the proper guidance and training to help you reach your full potential. In this role, you will be exposed to budgeting and forecasting, management accounts, variance analysis and month-end P&L.

Financial Analyst 

Diving further into the commercials, this role is the least business-critical, so there tend to be fewer of these roles, and they are generally the most competitive. In these roles, you will typically partner closely with your non-finance counterparts from your supporting divisions (sales & marketing for example). You will likely be more involved in the allocation of resources or the potential weighting of investment to either generate more revenue or reduce cost. You will do this through P&L analysis, variance analysis, profitability analysis and market/competitor analysis.

Our second most asked question from newly qualified ACAs? “What do I do next?”. Well, your first steps are to update your CV to effectively demonstrate your skills and experience so that internal and external recruiters know all the relevant information. Contact us now if you’d like to discuss your move to industry further.

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