Share this content
0
1601

Career direction need help

Hit a brick wall and finding it hard to progress

HI

So I qualified about 10 years ago in a small practice as an ACA. Got made redundant and decided to turn to industry as felt I would enjoy it more, which I have.

fast forward about 10 years and I am a finance manager working for a large company on 60k. I would say this is a commercially focussed/business partnering role. I do like it but there is no further progression here so the only way for me to progress really is to move on.

Going to be honest & upfront. I can’t seem to progress in industry. I have been looking for a year and it’s just not working out. I bash away at things like gaap web and reed. Talk to recruiters. Don’t hear anything back. Have had some interviews but it seems as though they want your experience & knowledge to match their job spec. And I don’t see how that’s possible as all sectors and companies work differently. So unless you find exactly the same company, it is difficult to stand a chance. 

As a result of this, I have been thinking about maybe going back into practice on the basis that it should be easier to transfer to different firms and progress that way as audit is audit and accounts is accounts. And maybe I can setup myself one day? As it has been 10 years though, I don’t know if I could get back into practice. I’m so out of touch with accounting standards & tax rules that I couldn’t see myself managing newly qualifieds who know more than me. Most of my time in industry hasn’t required me to have this knowledge. 

Basically I am having a crisis and I don’t know what to do. I was always told whilst studying to persevere with those ACA exams as having that qualification will make you really strong in the job market. But I feel like I am back to where I started when I graduated out of university 15 years ago. 

 

Please help me work out what to do with my career? My heart does lie in industry but I can’t stick with this if I am relying on recruiters calling me. 

 

Also as I have forgotten accounting, reporting & tax standards (10 years!) are there any courses I can go on that get you back on track? I’m not referring to CPD courses but courses that can get you back on track as a lot of industry jobs still need it?

Thanks for your help.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

27th Sep 2018 01:47

If you like industry why change. Just get out there and start pushing your cv. Research competitors of your business and push yourself to approach them.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to Tim Vane
27th Sep 2018 23:39

Hi I have tried to look on their websites but cannot find a suitable vacancy. Perhaps I should email their HR to introduce my skills and see if they are interested.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Matrix
27th Sep 2018 05:35

I would post on LinkedIn (subject to the risk of your employer/colleagues seeing it, your choice).

There are tons of recruiters on there and I am sure you would find someone who can help.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to Matrix
27th Sep 2018 23:44

Would love to do that but way too risky.

Thanks (0)
27th Sep 2018 08:06

Naturally when you get to £60-£70k there are going to be far fewer jobs to chase and it can take a long time to secure a move.

Don’t waster your time with generalist or lower end agencies. Cultivate relationships with higher end consultancies. Go out and meet them and persuade them of your abilities.

Thanks (0)
By tom123
27th Sep 2018 08:27

Beware of grass greener etc.

I have always been in 'industry', which in my case has tended to be actual factories.

I love it, tbh, and it is a better fit anyway for me (CIMA).

Broad range of work, regular varied meetings with different stakeholders etc.

I have worked in international firms, and am now at the SME end.

And, I only need to give a cursory glance to any accounting standards. By the time the stat accounts come around that year is dead and buried to me.

Why are you not aiming towards an FD level in a medium (or larger) non accounting setting?

Thanks (0)
avatar
to tom123
27th Sep 2018 23:43

Hi would love an FD level role. Not sure I am ready though. I think I need to do something between what I currently do and an FD role. But either way it seems that as you go into higher salary brackets, the roles are fewer but you still get loads of applicants

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Sep 2018 09:56

You'll be hard pushed ( at least in the short term ) to get £60k in the profession.
I agree that if you like industry stick to it and try to diversify your experience to make you more generally acceptable. Apply for jobs on the periphery of your knowledge and experience bank and accept that it won't be easy.
Think laterally about what you want to do and how best you can achieve it
Sorry I sound like a management consultant, which I eventually was. ( a licence to print money)

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Sep 2018 09:56

You'll be hard pushed ( at least in the short term ) to get £60k in the profession.
I agree that if you like industry stick to it and try to diversify your experience to make you more generally acceptable. Apply for jobs on the periphery of your knowledge and experience bank and accept that it won't be easy.
Think laterally about what you want to do and how best you can achieve it
Sorry if I sound like a management consultant, which I eventually was. ( a licence to print money)

Thanks (0)
avatar
By C.A.
to bernard michael
29th Sep 2018 10:35

Pardon me for asking/chipping in.. is it not possible for the OP to attain at least £60k income if he start his own practice - well, of course, not immediately, maybe build it up in a few years? If yes, how long will he take and how many clients? If no, sorry, OP!

Thanks (0)
avatar
to C.A.
29th Sep 2018 15:05

Hi just to clarify I am on 60 trying to get to 70.

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Sep 2018 10:47

You talk about "progress" and "progression" but (on a skim read), you don't define what that means to you.

You need to start by examining what it is you want. Where do you want to be in 5/10 years, etc.?

"... I feel like I am back to where I started when I graduated out of university 15 years ago" is a very odd thing to say. 99% of graduates would, I suspect, like to be in a £60k pa (plus pension and benefits?) job!

Thanks (2)
avatar
to Accountant A
28th Sep 2018 00:07

To me progression means I would like a 100k FD role in the long term or some other senior role. I realise that a lot of people would be happy with that salary and yes I do get car/pension on top. If someone told me that I would be on that in the future after uni, I would be well happy.

But....

1 - training and qualifying was a lot of work and sacrifice. I chose this profession because I thought once you are qualified, you become desirable as you have a prestigious qualification behind you with incredible experience. So you will always have job security and the ability to get offers.

2 - life is expensive, especially with a family to support. 60k May seem great when your young, free, single But with a family it gets maybe 3 quarters burnt away by bills/mortgages.

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Sep 2018 16:19

I'm not sure why you'd go to Reed; generalist job boards are never going to be helpful at this stage. Heck, I'm 8 years and a good few k behind you and I wouldn't touch Reed with a big stick - I don't think they're set up to understand specialist/senior Finance.

I'm in the 3rd Sector so I've got a little list of go-to recruiters that I know are either good Finance recruiters with a charitable division, or good 3rd Sec recruiters who understand Finance. I'd be hugely surprised if your particular industry didn't have something similar.

Get your LinkedIn up to date and make sure it's "broadcasting to recruiters" - it's pretty damn good at hiding your search from your employer and colleagues these days, and you'll invite direct approaches more than you'd think.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to Cactuscat
27th Sep 2018 23:56

Hi. I do get a gut feeling that these job boards dont seem like the way forward & a waste of time. I can’t seem to find recruiters that I can properly use. They do call me, we have a nice chat and then they say they will let me know when something suitable comes up.

Thanks (0)
avatar
27th Sep 2018 23:52

Thanks for all your help. What you are all saying sounds good but the trouble is it seems as though there is so much competition for jobs. Thousands of accountants qualifying every year. Seems as though you have to perform amazingly in interviews and tick box all the job description. But I thought being qualified is supposed to make you invincible. I dread to think what would happen if I were to lose my job as I’m hardly drowning in interviews and offers.

Whereas in medicine & dentistry, the 1st question they ask you in an interview is “when can you start?”

Thanks (0)
to Crcrunch
28th Sep 2018 12:46

Crcrunch wrote:

I dread to think what would happen if I were to lose my job as I’m hardly drowning in interviews and offers.

The days of linear progression throughout your career, especially in terms of salary are long gone. Accept it. If you were to lose your job you might have to take a salary cut - or you might have the Midas touch and be offered that £100k FD job you are aiming for. Who knows?

The point is, for every job vacancy you are in a competition. Being able to do the job is not enough - you need to be the best person for it amongst all the applicants.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By JWB
28th Sep 2018 12:29

Time & patience! Re-do your CV focusing on your achievements and show progression within your current role. Have a good Linkedin profile and then phone up recruiters and actually speak to them, build up a relationship, so you're the prime candidate for something that comes up in your area in your desired salary bracket. It's easy to become disheartened but refocus all your energies and priorities into this job search ...

Thanks (0)
avatar
01st Oct 2018 20:17

Thanks for your help everyone.

Thanks (0)
By DJKL
to Crcrunch
01st Oct 2018 21:59

Just to say that whilst it can be a slow process getting to a £100k salary (in my case these days pro rata) it is possible to get there in an industry role with a decent sized SME , but you only get there over time, the key is making yourself:

1. 100% trusted
2. Known to never shirk extra hours/go the extra mile.
3. Bluntly honest to the owners even if, at the time, they are not going to like what you say.
4.Know the business so well that you are a significant part of what makes it tick and operate. You need to be seen as near irreplaceable.
5. Take important decisions, stick to your guns, follow them through, deliver the outcome you promised.

Some is luck, right place right time, some is time and experience, in my case it was possibly my steering the route to safety through the financial crash over eight years from 2007 and now being seen as a safe pair of hands by the owners who are now into their seventies, so I am still young as far as they are concerned,being in my late fifties.

The key has been adapting, I am no longer just the finance/tax person, in fact I cover all sorts of issues from examining property deeds, leases, some sale negotiations, staff issues, health and safety, insurance etc, the finance/accounts stuff is circa 1.5 days each week (out of 3) the rest is "issues"

I would not say it has been predictable and given I do not have the magic CA I was never going to earn as much by a practice route, but the right business with the right owners, show loyalty, roll up your sleeves, do lots of bits you have never had any training to do (wing it), and enjoy the ride and see what happens.

Thanks (0)
Share this content