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Practice To Industry: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

22 June 2017

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As a recently or part-qualified ACA, it’s an important time to consider what direction your career will take. With so many exciting opportunities and routes to explore how do you know which to chose? And, the question so many ACA’s ask – Practice: Should I stay or should I go?

At Element we partner with businesses across a diverse number of industries including:


Manufacturing │ Facilities management │ Logistics │ Energy │ Professional Services │ FMCG

At the point of qualification only 33% of ACAs choose to remain in Practice. 48% of newly qualified practice based accountants are attracted by the bright lights of Industry, which can offer a fresh, commercial challenge. It can be a change of pace for those who’ve spent the last 3-5 years entrenched in audit, tax or outsourced accounting. Both Practice and Industry can offer unique rewards and challenges throughout your career. It’s important to take stock and understand what different career horizons can offer you. Whatever decision you make, the move from practice to industry represents a significant career change. 


The career destination for accountants in Industry, is often a Financial Director role. As a FD you’ll drive the business forward through strategy, financial analytics and economic market trends. You’ll develop relationship building skills by advising and influencing key stakeholders, guiding the business in the best direction. Check out my recent article about Finance Business Partnering to find out more.


In Industry, your day to day will offer you lots of variety. You’ll get the opportunity to see how your insights impact the business. You’ll gain greater stability in role and have a stronger focus on core business areas. It’ll help if you’re inquisitive and solution focused by nature. Keeping up to date with the changes in the industry and economy will be essential to your success. Over time, careers in Industry tend to move away from the heavier, technical aspect of the role. It’ll be important that you have a strong financial background if you wish to be a Finance Director in the future.


Already sold? As a Trainee you’ll have spent 3-5 years in a collegiate environment, working closely with other Trainees. The world of Industry can be a sharp contrast to Practice. You’ll need to be self-sufficient and able to come up with your own solutions. Many ACA’s who’ve made the move to Industry have found the roles offer greater autonomy but lack the extensive support network they’ve benefited from in Practice. You could find yourself as the only accountant in the business or as part of a small function, where each individual has a different focus/role. You’ll be the expert from Day 1 and people will come to you for advice and guidance when making business decisions.


Still unsure if Industry could be the route for you post-qualification? Our experienced team at Element Recruitment can help you decide on the right path. We take a consultative approach to find you the right opportunity. Call the team today on 0117 369 9000.


To see more articles on Career Paths and good Skills to develop whilst in Practice, click the links above. 

Practice To Industry: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


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