Share this content
0
851

Career change - approaching smaller firms

Career change from Finance in banking to smaller practice

Didn't find your answer?

Search AccountingWEB

Hi,

Looking for some guidance, i am interested in joining a small practice firm, as i want to ultimately (say in 5 years) have a small home based practise.

my background is - big 4 audit (4 years), followed by banking management accounting (4 years), and last 5 years finance change / governance projects.  

I have been giving advice to a few charities and my wife's own business, and have found the experience incredibly enjoyable and more engaging with the mix of business advice, alongside the practical aspects.

Appreciate if i approach small firms to make a change, it will be a hard sell but i know others have done so in the past, also appreciate rather large pay hit for me, but i am keen to take advice on how to approach this, and any tips  

I am thinking of doing the ATT, as a refresher for the tax part and to prove my keenness on making the change.  Have contacted regarding the CTA also, but feels less applicable for smaller businesses

thank you for any feedback

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
02nd Jun 2019 18:11

Career change questions are asked on here quite frequently, if you search.

You have presumably not got a practicing certificate (and so should you have been 'giving advice to a few charities'?) so that's going to be an issue if you intend to set up on your own.

I can see a problem getting into a small practice because, as you are aware, you lack the relevant experience. You also are likely paid (considerably) more than the role you would be looking for in practice. When you add that to the fact that you are really wanting the role in order to learn enough to leave (and potentially become a competitor in 5 years), it's a tough sell. If you then tell the potential employer that you hope to gain your practicing certificate, that rather lets the cat out of the bag!

All negative, I'm afraid. I'm sure someone will come along with some positive ideas but, as I said, it's worth searching for previous similar questions.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By majohn
to Accountant A
02nd Jun 2019 20:38

Thank you for that, and i appreciate frank replies.

i think the practising certificate is more a way off thing, my initial thinking is to simplify my work in the long term, so that i can leave london at some point, which may/may not involve then setting up on my own

Thanks (0)
avatar
02nd Jun 2019 18:49

I hadn't realised it was you who keeps raising a similar question.

I think the question was asked in relation to one of your previous postings but what is it that you can offer a small accounting practice? That's the first point that you need to consider.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Matrix
02nd Jun 2019 20:22

If you take a long term view and don’t mind the pay cut then it is possible. I left financial services and now have my own practice, although I had a background in tax which helped.

I would call around some local firms and sound them out. Unfortunately I had no success when I did that as I was overqualified so I just set up my own practice in the end.

Read up all the new practice threads on here, it takes a long time to get enough clients to make a living and commercial skills are very important in this client facing role.

Start ATT and do the ICAEW new practice sheet referred to in the other thread.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By majohn
to Matrix
02nd Jun 2019 20:36

Thank you for that, i think thats what i would do - ATT and then get a PC.
May also try and do a hybrid model and work part time at the same time, as i suspect it will take time.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Maslins
03rd Jun 2019 09:47

Guessing you're fully qualified ACA/ACCA? If so, surely ATT is a significant step down? CTA in theory at least is on par with ACA/ACCA, just tailored to tax rather than accounting more generally.

They do tend to say moving from practice to industry is easy, but moving back to practice less so.

I think a key question for me is what you consider a "small" practice. Personally I feel you'd have a good shot with a top 100 type firm. Ie those with maybe 50+ staff. If you're looking at the really small ones like most on this forum (ie one person firms or maybe those with <10 staff) I think it'll be a tough sell. The gap between your knowlege/skills and what's required for those firms may be too large for one jump.

However, no reason why you can't go for a medium sized firm for a few years as a stepping stone.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By majohn
to Maslins
03rd Jun 2019 10:08

thank you, i actually met a couple small practise owners and your message was what i understood i.e. they need someone who has done it before, or they want me to bring a new niche into them that is marketable.

think the medium sized practise does make more sense, will be investigating further.

Thanks (0)
avatar
03rd Jun 2019 10:24

Do you have a rose-tinted view of what a small practice is about?

If you’re ACA, get involved with your district society. Go along to their meetings and talk about what it’s like and maybe share your ambitions. If you’re enjoying providing business advice, you may find that isn’t a major part of the work.

Thinking about that advice route, your prime market is likely to be smaller businesses who have limited capability and resource internally. Following that through, why should they hire you? Family-owned and owner-managed businesses have very different character to larger corporates. They also have different challenges – particularly around cashflow and funding. What do you have to offer?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By majohn
to paul.benny
03rd Jun 2019 10:35

I might be over-emphasing the wrong things here, but i appreciate that 90% of the work is tax/stats/ compliance.

trying to navigate it, and appreciate the challenge to move across

Thanks (0)
avatar
to majohn
03rd Jun 2019 12:30

OK - good.
The point stands about using your district society if you're ACA (don't know what ACCA do). View it as an opportunity to learn/get advice/network.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to majohn
10th Jun 2019 12:32

I moved from big to small. The culture is obviously totally different and you need to tread carefully early on. If you have sound basic and underlying knowledge, which will include double entry (!), then you can pick up a lot of the other stuff quite quickly. You need to have a good work ethic and be prepared to learn but you also need to bring something to the table too...I am sure you must have various transferable skills.

Thanks (0)
Share this content