Practice careers guide: stay put to move up

Fresh-faced graduates undertake their training at firms, acquiring the
appropriate skills and qualifications to work as and be called a chartered
accountant before disappearing into the world of business to apply those skills
at other companies.

But times are changing. While there will inevitably continue to be leakage of
skilled individuals to industry, accounting firms have been working hard to keep
the cream of talent in-house. Incentives are good, secondments are frequent ­ to
enable employees to get a feel for a number of different areas ­ and the firms
are bending over backward to offer attractive and flexible working conditions.

The work being done by the firms to ensure the best remain in practice has
been publicly recognised, with several of the bigger accounting firms in the
country frequently popping up in lists of the best companies to work for.

So if you think that a life in accountancy, tax, forensics or any other of
the number of services that firms offer isn’t for you, it could be worth
thinking again. Not only might you find it more stimulating and personally
rewarding than you imagine, but working for a firm could also bring financial
and work/life benefits that you would not be able to find in general business,
as well as a carefully structured career progression path that suits you.

This guide will give you a flavour of what it’s like to stay on in practice
after qualification. We talk to people who had expected to move on after
training but changed their minds after experiencing what their firm could offer
them. We also explore what practice has to offer young, ambitious accountants
looking to progress quickly. There is also the chance to look at the
opportunities out there if a move to a new accounting firm is what you have
decided is the next step for you.

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