Moving from an accounting firm to industry

Senior Recruitment Consultant and Chartered Accountant, Ryan Dowling, explains how to prepare for it.

After you’ve done your time at a chartered firm, got some experience under your belt and had one too many beers on a few too many occasions, most chartered accountants look to move into industry.

1. Fix your resume 

I often come across CVs that are too narrow and don’t do the candidate justice. You may be motivated and adaptable with excellent analytical skills but in most cases the client (and recruiters) don’t care about lengthy career statements. Cut back on the waffle you needed to include as an inexperienced graduate, and provide information about the more important stuff.

Prospective employers want to know:

  • What size teams you’ve worked in or managed
  • What type of clients and engagements you’ve worked with
  • What additional services you’ve offered your clients e.g. providing tax advice
  • What systems you’re familiar with and to what level (SAP, Xero, Oracle, basic, or advanced etc.)

If you still want to include information on how personable and professional you are, put it towards the back of your CV.

2. Highlight your transferable skills

You probably have more than you realise. For example, a lot of candidates forget to mention that they’ve  delivered reporting on an international scale or managed cross-border work. If you’re lucky you’ve had exposure to a range of industries, make sure you pinpoint what you learnt about each one and highlight any relevant industry exposure you’ve had. If you’ve juggled lots of clients at once, explain how this required you to learn quickly and develop your project management skills.

3. Be realistic about your salary expectations

I meet a lot of people who think that with the shift from a chartered firm to industry comes a huge jump in salary. This simply isn’t true, particularly if you don’t have any previous industry experience. Be more realistic and a little more patient and the fiscal rewards will come. If you’re unsure how much to expect, check our accounting and finance 2018 salary guide.

4. Demonstrate self-awareness 

If you don’t have any previous industry experience, admit it. The most desirable candidates are the ones that demonstrate self-awareness and focus on promoting their transferable skills, not the ones who profess to know it all. Remember, you may have worked with different clients, but you haven’t worked FOR a client yet. If you’ve spent time working for a client on secondment, draw attention to this and explain what you learnt in the interview process.

To speak to Ryan about making the move from chartered to industry, contact us today.

 

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