As part of our partnership with CASSL we recently had the pleasure of producing a webinar with the ICAEW. Matt and Lucy, two of our most experienced consultants spoke on how ACA accountants can get the most from their career – you can view the webinar here.
The presentation ended with a Q&A session, it became clear that many ACA candidates had questions about using and improving their qualification to land their dream job. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most helpful and interesting questions.
After qualifying what would you recommend in deciding your next career move?
Your first step should be to research as much as you can. At the start of your career deciding what direction you want to take can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re unsure exactly what you want. See our ACA series where we speak to entrepreneurs, startup founders and other qualified ACA’s that have successfully made the move to industry to read how they started their careers.
Next you should consider your interests and passions. This can be as simple as deciding you enjoy clothes and fashion, so would like to work in the retail sector or as dedicated as targeting specific brands that have caught your attention. Again, research as much as possible – it could be one brand has a mission statement or charity interests that resonate with you.
“Focus your search on an industry and/or role you have a passion for. This will drive you to perform above and beyond the responsibilities & expectations of the workplace so you can truly make an impact.”
When offered a secondment should you take only those that are tailored to what you want to do long term or should you consider any that are offered to you?
The honest answer here is that it depends entirely on what’s available to you. It’s important to embrace an opportunity even if it’s not your first choice, as any secondment will help you to differentiate yourself. Every secondment can help you gain a solid grounding of industry – focus on the skills you can learn instead of the job title.
Can an ACA qualification compete with an MBA?
This can depend on the role you’re going for. In our experience, an MBA tends to help with consulting and strategic roles. For a core finance role an ACA qualification is still preferable, although doing an MBA on top of your ACA may be something you wish to explore later in your career.
Six months ago I made the move to industry but it’s not what I was expecting. Can I move back without looking bad?
Moving back so soon will certainly raise questions. Before attempting to move, explore all internal channels – see other internal roles or have an open discussion with your boss on whether your role can change. If you’re determined to make a move, have a strong story for why you’ve moved so quickly. This is where working with a recruiter can really help, as they can work with you to construct a watertight story and sell this to the employer – something you would not necessarily have the chance to do on your own. Remember to be honest and frank in interview – if the role wasn’t what you were expecting, own up to that.
When it comes to switching roles in the first year, one mistake can be acceptable, but multiple rapid switches can be an issue.
Do you have a question about your qualification you’d like answered? Leave a comment below.
Talentedge is a specialist recruitment consultancy that places qualified ACA’s at all levels into the Media, Tech and Consumer sectors. You can get in touch with us directly on 020 3879 9700 or submit your CV on our Contact Us page.