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Newly qualified – your path to FD


You’ve put in the long hours and the hard graft and you are now a fully fledged qualified accountant. Congratulations! So, what’s next?

The world of accountancy and finance can seem confusing and scary at times with so much choice that is can be hard to work out your next move. 

Do you stick to what you know and remain in practice? Do you move to a financial accounting role - the obvious next step with your experience? Do you try for a glamourous commercial business partner role? Or do you go somewhere in between and aim for FP&A or management accounting? Lots to think about and I’ve not even mentioned tax, treasury, group accounting, or indeed what type of business you want to work for!

Having met with countless newly qualified accountants in your situation over the past 11 years, the best thing to do is;

• Consider your ultimate career goal;
• Be open minded;
• Think about  what you enjoy doing; and 
• What type of business or environment is best suited to your career goals?

The truth is that your first move from practice may not be to a role that you initially envisaged. Often, it is a stepping stone - so don’t get fixated on a particular role and lose sight of what’s important, and what is actually best for your career. There’s plenty of time to climb the ladder to finance director. 

For example, if your goal is to eventually be a commercial finance director, your next role does not have to be in commercial finance. You need to think long term and remember that you have plenty of time to reach your ultimate career goal. Almost all commercial finance directors will have held a reporting focused role at some point. Consider the bigger picture - a broad range of experience will help you get to the top of the finance profession.

Sometimes the best choice is a role that isn’t 100% what you want but offers you exposure to a large/dynamic business with opportunities to progress. Factors to consider:

• What is their track record of progressing people in your situation?
• Have candidates come from a similar background to you?; and
• Where are they now?  

So whatever your next step is following your accountancy qualification - be open minded, research the business and not just the role that is on offer, ask the right questions of your recruiter/the employer and consider all the factors that are important to get you where you ultimately want to be. 

Remember, there’s still plenty of time to get to that finance director role. 

Need some help? Check out our handy finance career advice or get in touch with one of our specialist consultants here.

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