After years of working hard to qualify as an ACA, you’re now at a really exciting stage of your career and ready to make the move out of practice into industry.
At this stage it might be tempting to focus on getting a job that is a radical departure from what you’ve been doing for the last few years, particularly if your current position is not in the area of accounting you want to work in for the long term. However at this point it’s really important to think beyond the day-to-day specifics of the next role and consider the wider potential of the position for your career journey. Always remember this move is a stepping stone not a final destination.
When our clients are looking to hire an ACA qualified candidate with a year or more experience in industry they are not necessarily focused as much on the actual role that person has done post-practice as you might assume. Hiring managers will often consider things like the stake holders you have worked with or reported to; the size and type of business you’ve gained experience in or how much you may have learned about financial reporting structures or processes.
All of which means that at this stage you have more options than you think and even if the first role isn’t your “dream job”, there’s every chance it will be a really significant step towards it.
Finance Manager positions within investor backed startups and scaling businesses offer a fantastic opportunity to get hands-on experience almost immediately. Typically you’ll be working alongside the CFO and take responsibility for establishing or building out the finance function, automating processes and developing the management reporting. These roles can progress to a Financial Controller position as the business grows.
Management Accounting & Reporting
Management accountants produce daily, weekly and monthly information that is used in decision making. You would be responsible for the monthly information flow from operating units regarding the management accounts. In addition to some routine functions, such as month-end, you will also gain exposure to analysis work over budget variances and providing commercial support to non-finance managers.
Financial Planning & Analysis
Yes, these jobs do exist for newly qualified ACA’s, however it’s worth remembering that you will be competing not only with the home-grown talent internally for these posts, but also many of your contemporaries leaving practice. Therefore the clients you’ve worked with, projects you’ve undertaken or secondments you’ve had the chance to undertake can be a key differentiator for these jobs, and thus instrumental in securing these types of roles.
Moving into Financial Accounting gives you the opportunity to apply your technical knowledge and skills in a commercial setting and is a great entry point into a business. Next steps internally could be into group or into a management capacity, with many Financial Controllers coming up through this path. It is also possible to move into something more commercial at this point too.
Moving into an Internal Audit role as a Newly Qualified ACA will give you a broad and high level view of the business. It is also a great opportunity to build networks internally with senior stakeholders, making an internal move easier. Looking at our past placements, that internal move is likely to be somewhere between 12-18 months into you career.
If the internal opportunity fails to materialise then don’t fear. With solid industry experience behind you, you will have far greater opportunities available to you externally, not limited to internal audit.
Like internal audit, these roles often provide a high-level view of the business and the opportunity to engage at a senior level throughout the business and are often viewed by employers as an entry point into the business or wider group. This can act to smooth the way for a good second move, as this is a highly visible role in a business.
TalentEdge recruit finance roles across Tech, Media & Consumer. Over the years we’ve helped hundreds of ACAs make their first move into Industry. To access all our ACA guides and advice or contact a consultant about roles in a specific sector click on the link below.