So you’ve become ACA Qualified, what next?

December 2019

Tim Salmon

Senior Consultant

A huge congratulations to all those who recently became ACA Qualified, a challenging process following which you have gained a world renowned qualification and important letters after your name. Having helped numerous newly qualified ACA financial professionals make their move out of practice over the last few years, hopefully we are well placed to give you guidance about what is next for you.

Here I’ll run through three options.


Staying put.

Staying put. Whether big 4 or a 2 partner accounting firm, have you explored your internal options? If you have been within audit for the last 3 years, you can look to progress to the managerial level or move across in to different areas within the firm (including opportunities out of audit). This can often help to broaden your experience and make you more appealing to the external market.

The external market.

This would very much depend on what you are looking for. Initially, you need to think both about the sectors that interest you and also about what you want out of your next role. You might have been aligned to a specific sector in throughout your studies but don’t let that limit your next move. Reach out to former colleagues who have made the move and explore the abundance of opportunities externally via job boards or websites from organisations of interest.

Another accountancy firm.

You might want to go to a bigger firm to get that ‘name’ on your CV or a smaller firm to gain broader, more diverse exposure. Either can represent good options but it’s wise to evaluate what you do / don’t enjoy about your current role and what new experiences and skills you are gaining by making this move.

A common misconception is that when upon leaving audit / practice, only audit and financial accounting positions are open to you. Although your experience can lend itself to these roles and these roles will help you progress in your finance career, you can also look at other areas of finance such as business partnering, financial analysis and management accounting.

I hope this brief article has been helpful but feel free to reach out to me directly if you would like advice, whether that is re-writing your CV (which may still be from when you graduated!), learning more about roles / salaries etc or exploring the market post-qualification.

Allen Lane is a leading specialist public & not-for-profit recruitment consultancy, over the years we have helped many people in your position make that first step and on average help up to 20 individuals each month move into our industry. Feel free to get in touch if you would like discuss your options in 2020.

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