Stepping out of the Big 4 | AccountingWEB

Stepping out of the Big 4

Hi, I'm at a bit of a cross roads and would really appreciate some unbiased advice.

I qualified this year (ACA) and have been working in the Big 4 external audit environment for four years. I am yet to reach the milestone of 'Manager'. This would happen either at the end of this year, or mid-2012.

I don't see a long term future in practice, and I'm keen to get into industry in some sort of financial accounting role, preferable including forward looking aspects from management accounting - e.g. financial planning and analysis.

My question is - does it make much of a difference moving into industry before reaching the Manager milestone, or is reaching qualification the right time to step out and start up the ladder elsewhere?

Appreciate any thoughts,




theaccountantscoach's picture

It's a very individual decision    1 thanks

theaccountantscoach | | Permalink

First up, I refer you to the points I make here about avoiding knee jerk career moves and the importance of having a career strategy.  If you do the suggested research then you'll also be able to test out your hypothesis that your future is in fact in industry, rather than in practice.  

Specifically in your situation I'd look at what you are likely to add to your skillset as a manager and how this might benefit your next career move.  Forget the accolade of the manager-label and think wider than technical skills.  Look at the behavioural competencies of the manager role (accountability, performance management, leadership etc etc).

There are of course arguments on both sides.  These additional competencies are very marketable but there is a case to say that the longer you stay in practice the higher the risk of 'type-casting'.  So this is where the importance of your personal needs, strengths, aspirations come in, and hence your personal career strategy.  


zarathustra's picture

Practicing Certificate

zarathustra | | Permalink

Is it not worth notching up 2 yrs PQE to get your PC before moving on.

It sounds like you are not contemplating a career in practice, but it will be easier now than later.

Also if you fancy time as an independent consultant later on, you may well find that constitutes being "in practice" in the eyes of the institute, so you would be scuppered if you didn't have a PC.


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