Industry or Practice

Published: 03 Feb 2011

If you are an accountant who has either recently qualified or is experienced and thinking of your next move, do you go for a career in practice or industry?

It’s a question on the mind of many accountants whether they have just qualified and are looking to start their career, or they have been in one area and they are looking to either progress or make a change.


  • Many companies will offer training and study time but they don’t tend to be as comprehensive as those offered by practice (however I’m sure there are those that buck that trend). This can make the study route to qualification longer.
  • Salaries tend to be higher to start with making the financial impact of starting a career easier. Progression within that business can also be quicker often with fewer barriers.
  • You can become an industry expert gaining experience in your chosen field, more so than you could get in practice. However this can also limit any move to practice or another industry.
  • Industry is usually less reliant on having worked for a big firm or the type of education background.


  • A good starting point, however some practices do require certain levels of experience or education.
  • There is progression and support to grow professionally with many offering their own academies, allowing school leavers to jump straight in to a career and gain the qualifications in-house. This can mean that work and study sometimes conflict making it a highly pressurised job.
  • If you study your way into the career you will find that salaries at this stage can be low in comparison.
  • In practice you will work in multiple industries that could be any size and in any location giving you variety and different challenges.
  • It’s easy to move from practice to industry if you have experience with the bigger firms but less so with the smaller ones.

What are your experiences of working in practice or industry?

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