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Industry or Practice?

Just looking for some advice

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Hi forum,

Just wondering what would be the best future career path for a qualified accountant from a small practice. I hear a lot of people say that taking an industry role is better than practice. 

Reasons for industry:

1) better pay

2) less hours

3) no client stress

4) better culture than practice

Would you recommend moving from practice to industry? Or is it better to stay in practice? 

Also, I have not gained any experience in budgeting or forecasting, and a lot of these financial accountant/ management accountant roles require that. How do you prepare a budget in a business? 

Thanks

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By Accountant A
07th Nov 2019 21:28

Quote:

I hear a lot of people say that taking an industry role is better than practice. 

Reasons for industry:

1) better pay

2) less hours

3) no client stress

4) better culture than practice

Like most wild generalisations, this is absolute nonsense and if you are making career decisions on nonsense then you frankly don't deserve any better!

Quote:

Would you recommend moving from practice to industry? Or is it better to stay in practice? 

What's best for you depends upon your interests and career aspirations. For example, if you want to move away from accounting and into more general management roles then industry would probably give you a better opportunities.

Finance jobs in large organisations can be extremely narrowly focused so if you are looking for breadth of experience, smaller is likely to be better.

Quote:

How do you prepare a budget in a business? 

With respect, that's not a particularly sensible question to ask. How long is a piece of string? How big is the business? You've surely encountered budgeting in your studies?

I would suggest you visit a few recruitment consultants and see what they are able to offer by way of career advice and opportunities.

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By Accountant A
07th Nov 2019 21:29

PS Similar questions are asked very regularly so use the search function and read what others have said.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
07th Nov 2019 23:45

If I were you I might consider another year or two in practice to say get more staff supervision experience/reviewing the work of others etc on your CV if you have say only had three years in practice ( I have no idea how many practice years you have done)

I did five before my first foray into industry and that was actually in a lot of ways not that different than practice- in effect instead of multiple smaller clients I had one bigger client and got to run the finance function of the business and also broadened my skills in management, HR legal work etc, bank relationship management, liaison with the group FD etc-all very useful and certainly made me more commercially aware when I returned to practice after another 4 years.

Whilst maybe no client stress there can certainly be stress, steering a retail business through the early 90s economy was not stress free, steering a geared property business through the 2008 and onwards banking crash had my hair white by the end of the 8 year process turning everything around.

The grass is not always greener (though industry has always given me a greater feeling of satisfaction having a direct from the outset input into what happens, practice often was more reactive)

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By Red Leader
08th Nov 2019 08:16

Big generalisation but anyway: industry tends to be less technical, less rules-based and a bit more managerial.
I recall a colleague who moved from practice to industry. He was used to having his work reviewed before it went out, so he asked his new (industry) manager to read a letter before he sent it out. "Just send it!", the guy wasn't interested. Completely different approach. Gives you a flavour.

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By tom123
08th Nov 2019 09:13

I am in industry.
Roughly, in practice, you are reviewing transactions that have taken place - they are numbers on a page.

In industry, you are really in charge of trying to control the outcome of these numbers.

Not quite sure about the 'less stress'..

In industry, you are an overhead rather than the 'product',

Wouldn't change it though.

Your work is less driven by financial reporting standards - although that can arise at year end.

If you don't have hot Excel skills, probably best to brush up.

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By Mr_awol
08th Nov 2019 10:18

Practice/Industry moves tend to be one-way, so think about what you want to do carefully. I'm not saying you can never come back - just that the longer you stay in industry the less likely it will be that someone will take you into practice - especially on any kind of half decent salary.

At your stage of experience you probably will find the earning potential in industry higher. Whether that will always be the case may be a different matter though.

I also have no idea what they do with the remaining three days a week. Play with spreadsheets mainly, I think.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
08th Nov 2019 14:01

Golf, snooker, eat pizza and go fishing.

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By raj1234
12th Nov 2019 11:12

A lot of people move back to practice after industry stints .

Bear in mind that in industry, you are seen as a 'draining' overhead. You wont have the same privilege as a sales person who is directly linked to making sales.

In practice you will probably feel valued more, as your work is directly linked to making fees for the firm.

Both have advantages in terms of experience, but wouldn't you want to feel valued? I would....

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Replying to raj1234:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
12th Nov 2019 11:34

The same value added perception can apply in industry- well certainly with smaller employers.

If we did a development and I introduced/instigated something in the structure that improved cashflow/increased profit I think my input was recognised -and rewarded.

I think the difficultly is standing out, if you are just a cog within the accounts machine then yes, recognition may be difficult and rewards may be pooled rather than be directly re your efforts, but when you sit in the boardroom/similar and your ideas and approaches to solving something are recognised I am not so sure. In addition over years there is the trust premium vis a vis financial probity, having the interests of the business first and having a track record of sound advice.

It is hard for me to really evaluate the large employer dynamics, I have never gone that route, but an industry role in a business where you are integral to how it runs if very different re how you are perceived-key is pick who you work for, the personalities of the owners has a distinct bearing on recognition of your efforts.

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