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The first move. Make it count.


Companies and people don’t change; roles do.

Having focused on the senior finance market for the past couple of years it was a very different challenge I accepted when embarking on a newly qualified scheme with a commodities client at the start of this year. Whether in an upturn, a downturn or an economy which is rebuilding, the single busiest market for London accountancy recruitment is at the ACA newly qualified level. Candidates with fantastic academics, high potential, and three years consulting experience have the world ahead of them, a million recruiters promising the world and a major decision to make: should I stay or should I go?

The number 1 decision maker in any job search is the candidate, though when you have an abundance of roles put in front of you from different sources it is easy to be pulled in a number of different directions. From a structured environment with a group you have trained, complained and progressed with for 3 years to a new world of people who might not go out every Thursday and have very different commitments, you want to ensure that the people and company fit with your style and ethos first and foremost.

Whether you are solely focused on escaping the consulting world or you have a genuine vision for your short and long term career path, the people who employ you and are going to provide you with the platform for development are absolutely critical in your first move. These are the leaders who can provide you with commercial insight, act as mentors and help to shape your next move. The immediate job you go in to industry is a stepping stone, something which facilitates you gaining commercial exposure. Be prepared to ask noteworthy questions, understand how the hiring managers have progressed to where they are and do some research, it will justify your decision. Which leads me on to the next point... what exactly is a ‘commercial role’?

“I want a commercial role, no reporting and to be able to impact on strategy from day one.” These don’t exist; no matter what the job title is or what the text in the job description says, a business has to derive value from you as much as you gain value from joining their company, so an element of reporting is highly likely. To impact on strategy this could come in many forms: controls, management information, accounting for acquisitions to name but a few; though the CEO of your next business (unless a start up) did not escape cutting his or her teeth to design company strategy straight away; there are a few hard yards yet before you get to that level.

Whilst the above might appear obvious, these topics for conversation are constant themes that Marks Sattin consultants have across Commerce & Industry, Professional Services, Financial Services and Specialist Markets. We are essentially here to consult and provide you with relevant opportunities to you, some of which might not have been first on your list of ideas; but until you meet the client how do you know exactly what it involves? Once you have made that first move, the second and third ones become a lot easier.

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