When you are on the lookout for a new accounting job, it isn’t just about firing out your CV to any accountancy firm that is looking for someone with your experience. You need to plan, prepare and do your due diligence to ensure the move is in the right direction, at the right firm.
Before you even decide which jobs to apply for, you need to ask yourself some questions to help pinpoint what it is you are looking for.
Answer the questions below as honestly as you can:
- Why am I considering leaving my current job?
- What kind of environment do I work in best?
- What type of management structure would I prefer?
- Which tasks do I enjoy most about what I do, and which would I prefer not to do?
- What motivates me, and what demotivates me?
- What are my future career goals, and what is the next step I need to take to stay on the right path?
- Is culture important to me? If so, what does that culture look like?
- Am I flexible with salary if I was able to get a job where everything else was right?
- Do they need to be a firm I (and my peers) have heard of?
Once you have a solid idea around what it is you actually want from a new job/firm, then you can start to concentrate on finding the right role – while always referring back to your answers above.
Next, when it then comes to a shortlist of opportunities, you need to do your homework on each firm, to check it is the right fit for you. You should consider things like;
- Its values and basic facts about it.
- What sets the firm apart from its competitors.
- What is being said about it – in the news and on social networks.
- How the firm is structured.
- Who’s in charge.
- Through my networks, do I know anyone that works there.
While delving into these areas will most certainly help you in an interview, they will also help you narrow down those girms which are going to be the best fit for you.
Comparing one accounting firm with another is nothing like comparing apples to apples – no two are the same. So what else is it important for you to know? Some pertinent points to consider:
- What you would actually be doing there on a daily basis and the types of clients you will be dealing with in terms of size, industry, complexity and business challenges
- How will your role be split between compliance and advisory e.g. (40 per cent compliance, 60 per cent advisory). What ratio that would appeal to you?
- How is professional development and training structured?
- What is the firm’s attitude to work life balance, and what steps have they taken to help make this achievable
- If you are nearing the end stage of the recruitment process ask if you can meet some of the managers and/or the people you will be working with. You may even want arrange a tour of the firm’s offices.
It is also really helpful to speak with others who might be able to give you an objective opinion on the different opportunities. While you don’t want to rely solely on the advice and views of other people, it could help provide some clarity to the decision-making process.
But remember, at the end of the day it is all about making sure you know where you want to end up, so you can follow the right path with the best firm for you.