The market for newly qualified accountants is the busiest it has been in my five years working in recruitment and you will certainly have some good options available to you should you decide to leave practice. The first job you take outside of practice is an important decision to make, and it is a choice that you should put some serious thought and consideration in to.
What kind of job would I like to do?
As a newly qualified ACA accountant the experience will be attractive to a variety of different employers. Rather than just having the mind-set to take any job that is not external audit, decide what kind of jobyou would genuinely like to do. There is the option to move into financial accounting/financial reporting/financial analysis/internal audit etc. jobs. The first job you move into outside of practice may shape your career for the next 3-5 years. Given the amount of time you have spent studying, working long hours etc. in external audit, it is important that you move into a job type that you will genuinely enjoy and hopefully stay in for a number of years.
What kind of industry would I like to work in?
If you have spent 3-4 years working in audit you will have first-hand knowledge of companies in a variety of industries. Think about companies that you have audited that you would actually like to work for yourself and then target a job in a similar organisation. If you decide to continue your career in Dublin you are lucky in that there are a number of large employers in most industry sectors including Banking, Insurance, Funds and Multinationals. Even Irish owned SMEs and start-up companies are starting to hire again. It will be easier to secure a job in the industry sector that you audited but some companies will see that your skills are transferable and will offer you an opportunity to change sectors. Speak to your recruiter about which companies will give you this option.
Should I stay working in practice beyond my training contract?
Whilst a significant percentage of accountants working in audit will want to leave practice as soon as their training contract expires a lot will want to stay working in practice. This can be a good option for some candidates. You can progress to managerial level, manage larger teams and be exposed to more senior stakeholders in a variety of different companies. This will be advantageous to some candidates in the long term. However if you are not going to be exposed to anything new by staying on in your current role then it may be better to move on.
There is also the option to move to a different accountancy practice on completion of your training contract. Big 4/Top 7 audit firms are always looking to hire good auditor seniors. Changing accountancy practices may give you exposure to new clients and may give you an opportunity to audit clients in a different sector than you are used to. If you qualified in a Top 20 practice it may be a good idea to get a year experience in a Big 4 audit firm if the ultimate aim is to get a role in one of the big multinational/financial service organisations.
What is most important to you in a new job?
All candidates will have different motives for leaving practice. For some they will want to join an organisation big enough whereby they can constantly progress and develop over the next 5-10 years. Others will prefer to go into a role that will offer more variety and more of a mental challenge. For some newly qualified accountants after spending three years working 60 hours a week they will just want a job that will allow them to finish work every day at 5pm. Whatever your motivation, there will be different options available.
If using a recruiter be honest with them and this will result in you interviewing with the most appropriate companies for your skill set. Also speak to colleagues in years above you in practice who have left to join companies in industry as they will be able to give you first-hand information as to whate roles outside of practice really are like.
Get your CV updated
Until you interview your CV is the only document you have to describe your skills and experience. Despite all the resources available to candidates (CV templates, CV advice online etc.) some qualified accountants still cannot prepare good CVs. Your CV should do you justice and describe all relevant experience you have built up over your training contract. If you are unsure about CV layout or what to include then speak to a recruiter directly and they can help you with this process. In general your CV should be clear, concise, easy to read and very informative (facts and figures). If you have trained in audit list the different clients you have audited and describe their size (turnover, number of employees etc.) and industry sector. Recruiters see hundreds of CVs from Big 4 candidates every year and most CVs look very similar – what distinguishes one from the other is the different clients that you have worked on. Your audit clients will also be the first thing employers will look at when reviewing your application along with your educational record.
In certain cases your recruiter may get you to tailor your CV for an application to a specific role – this will significantly increase your chance of securing an interview.
Meet with a recruiter
Meeting with a recruiter in person will be much more beneficial that just having a phone call with them. At an initial meeting you can have an open and honest conversation around what kind of job you actually want. This should result in you only being put forward to jobs you would be genuinely interested in rather than being submitted to ten different jobs just because your skill set is desired by the client. Applying to jobs of no appeal to you is a waste of the recruiter’s and the client’s time and does not reflect well on you either. By meeting with the recruiter at the beginning of your job search you will also distinguish yourself from the other hundred candidates coming out of training contracts at the same time. A good recruiter will also be able to match you to a company environment that will suit your personality as well as your skill set.
Don’t wait for someone to approach you – be proactive and contact a recruitment consultant yourself. It is nice to be approached about a job and feel as though you are being headhunted for a specific role, however often the recruiters with the most jobs for you will not have the time to search through LinkedIn for hours to find suitable candidates. By registering your details with a good recruitment consultant you will ensure that you are kept aware of all suitable job opportunities that may arise. Even if you are not looking for a role immediately the best way to find out about good jobs is by having a relationship with the recruiter that will be speaking to these companies. Also, recruiters that have worked with companies for a number of years tend to be able to influence clients into meeting candidates that they have met and can personally recommend.
By applying to a job through an agency you should be able to gain a competitive advantage over applicants that apply directly. Your recruiter will be able to give you advice about the company, the work environment, the hiring manager and also be able to conduct interview preparation with you. They will also be able to keep you better informed of the timelines involved in the process and will be able to ensure the hiring manager makes a quick decision if you are interviewing with a couple of different companies.
What salary can I get?
Naturally the salary you attain in a new job is an important factor when making your decision about what company to join. Luckily as a qualified ACA accountant in Dublin you can expect to receive a good salary in the current market. Companies in different industries pay different various salaries so have a look at salary guides for an idea of what you may be eligible for. Sometimes companies will offer lower salaries at first but with a view to increasing your remuneration and benefits as you progress whereas other companies will offer a higher salary initially but will offer no salary increase or no room for career progression over the next three years. Be open minded regarding salary and listen to the advice of your recruitment consultant as well as from fellow colleagues, managers etc. The first job you take outside of practice is an important decision and taking a short term view in terms of salary expectations may not be the best move in the longer term. Also, in reality a couple of grand difference in salary is going to make little difference to your monthly take home pay.
Should I take a contract job?
A lot of candidates will only consider permanent jobs when looking to change. Whilst this is understandable in some circumstances (mortgage application etc.), ruling out contract roles can seriously limit your options. The majority of large multinational or financial services companies in Dublin tend to offer contract roles initially. In general these tend to be permanent in all but name and will be extended beyond the initial fixed term contract. Again your recruiter will be able to offer you advice around which companies will make you permanent and which ones won’t.
I plan on going travelling after my training contract ends
On completion of a training contract or within a year of qualifying, a large percentage of accountants will go abroad to travel or to work. Depending on your personal circumstances you may be better off staying in your current practice for six months before going away whereas in the majority of cases it may be good to try and get 6-12 months industry experience before going away as this will make your CV look more marketable when you decide to return to Ireland. Of course this is dependent on individual circumstance and jobs on offer.
If I fail my FAEs?
If you fail your exams you will still have a significant number of options available to you. The first thing you should consider is whether you plan on repeating your ACA exams the following year. If this is the case, the best option will likely be to stay working in practice as no company in industry will offer you the amount of study leave that you will get in practice. If you are unhappy in your role maybe consider joining another audit firm that will offer a new environment and new clients to work with.
A good option for a lot of candidates is to change to ACCA. This is still a prestigious qualification that will be hugely beneficial to you over the course of your career. You will be exempt from most exams and should be able to qualify within a year. The exam format is much friendlier to people in full time jobs than ACA exams are. The majority of accountants that train in industry will undertake ACCA exams rather than ACA ones. If you want to stay doing ACA maybe consider taking a contract role until next summer and then take a couple of months off to study for your FAEs once again.
You will still have lots of options available to you to move into industry. You have the same amount of work experience as those that are qualified and your skillset will still be in demand to employers. You may not command the same salary that qualified accountants can but you will still get a good package. You will also have a year’s experience in industry (rather than another twelve months in practice) and when you qualify next year you should be able to command the same salary as your work colleagues who pass the exams this year.
If you have any questions on your present position or are interested in roles that Sigmar has on offer please contact our team – email@example.com or call 01-4744600.
Posted by Recruitment Consultant, Sigmar on 4 December 2017
What it Takes to Land a Job During Covid-19 (Video)
What it Takes to Land a Job During Covid-19 (Video)
Frank Farrelly, COO and co-founder of Sigmar Recruitment, talks about the current job landscape, what’s in your control, and tips to get hired online in a webinar from UCD.
Working From Home Hub
Working From Home Hub
Visit our Working from Home Hub to check out content we have put together to support remote workers and Managers now working from home - blogs, video content, training modules, podcasts and other resources. The hub has lots of great info and supports for: Working form home, Manageing staff remotely, Wellness at Home Talent Summit Series on working in this new normal Access to free online courses to upskill Netflix recommendations Check it out at https://www.workingfromhomehub.com
Sigmar Announces “COVID Ready” Learning Partnership with Alison to Upskill Newly Unemployed
Sigmar Announces “COVID Ready” Learning Partnership with Alison to Upskill Newly Unemployed
Sigmar Recruitment and Alison today announce a COVID ready learning partnership as part of the emergency jobs initiative www.covidresponsejobs.com. The initiative is an online platform set up by Sigmar Recruitment to help connect the displaced workforce with current frontline job opportunities, and to upskill the restricted workforce to enhance career prospects and enable a faster economic recovery. Alison, one of the largest learning websites worldwide, is now offering access to all of its courses free and unencumbered through www.covidresponsejobs.com. The learning content being offered through the platform has been hand curated to reflect in-demand, recession-proof skills across an array of business and IT disciplines, including; data science project management customer service accounting web development computer networking e-commerce The core learning has been paired with lifestyle courses covering mental health, stress management and practical content on parenting while working from home for example aimed to support those working remote throughout the crisis period and beyond. The learning pathways have also been designed with jobseekers in mind with content on public speaking, job hunting, personal development supported by jobseeker advice on how to compete in the current marketplace, including tips on video interviewing, digital collaboration, remote onboarding and much more. Commenting on the partnership, founder of the initiative and Sigmar CCO Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “As one of the world’s largest free learning platforms, Alison presents an excellent opportunity for newly unemployed in Ireland to upskill. The learning content has been COVID curated for maximum impact encompassing business skills, IT skills, mental health and personal development. We also aim to support the restricted workforce by providing upskilling opportunities during the downtime, to better equip our workforce to rebound from the crisis in the medium term.” Speaking at the announcement, Alison Founder & CEO, Mike Feerick stated that the gesture is one Alison is happy to make. “While being a global learning business, most of our team live and work in Ireland and know personally people whose employment has been jeopardised by the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Alison has over 1,500 free certificate and diploma courses, in subjects from project management, languages, IT, to health & safety, elderly caregiving, MS Excel and free courses on GDPR. “If you have been laid off, it is an opportunity to build up and strengthen your workplace skills to enhance your chances for employment in the months and years ahead. We are delighted to partner with Sigmar on the COVID Jobs Initiative.” www.covidresponsejobs.com is a for purpose “Team Ireland” initiative created by Sigmar Recruitment, supported by Alison, Candidate Manager, The Irish Times and Communicorp, established to mobilise the Irish Workforce.
Working From Home Guide
Working From Home Guide
As many of us have been plunged into working from home for the first time without warning, we may be struggling with where to start. Our normal routine has changed entirely leaving a lot of us wondering how you keep yourself motivated and productive. Read on for our top tips on making the most of working from home. 1. Working Space When it comes to setting up your working from home environment there is no one size fits all approach. While some people prefer one dedicated desk area that resembles an office work station, others prefer to change their environment throughout the day whether it be to sit at a desk space/their kitchen table for work that requires focus and concentration, their patio area for business calls/team meetings or their couch for catching up on emails. This is one of the key benefits of working from home - you get to decide on your ideal office set-up. However, while it can be tempting to lie in bed on your laptop all day, you are likely to tire of this and hurt your neck or back. What you want is a dedicated space that allows you to work productively with minimum distraction. Having a dedicated space also signals to your brain that you’re “at work” and puts you in the mind-frame of being productive. If working from home is a temporary measure for coronavirus, you probably don’t have that much equipment beyond a laptop. Laptops have bad ergonomics so it might be an idea to rise it on a pile of books and get a USB keyboard and mouse and treat it as a desktop. Or if you are enjoying working from home and see yourself continuing to work from home beyond coronavirus perhaps invest in a docking station and a second monitor. Stand-up desks are another popular option. A bar table or even a wide and tall surface in your home may be suitable for a couple hours a day. Switching your desk may energise you and increase your productivity for certain tasks. Finally, don’t forget to check your tech! Ensuring good connectivity at all times is fairly important for most online workers. Be prepared for an outage by having a back-up such as a mobile plan with extra data or a mobile router. After that make sure you have all the technology and tools you need to work effectively. From email and video conference software to collaboration tools - some of these may be new to you so take the time to get to grips with the basics. 2. Routine As mentioned, our normal routine has been changed, we’re no longer commuting, grabbing a coffee at the café around the corner from the office, chatting to colleagues in the canteen, attending meetings, visiting clients etc. Therefore, you will need to make a new routine to work from home. Triggers It’s important to identify “triggers” for yourself that signal to your brain that you are in work mode. Every article you read will tell you to make sure you get up and get dressed, while it is tempting to stay in your pyjamas for an hour, that hour can easily slip into a full day. After this incorporate the parts of your old routine that you benefitted from. Perhaps you enjoyed walking to work in the morning as it woke you up, if so, get outside for a walk first thing. Have a coffee in your garden/on your balcony to replace the one you had in your local café. Do an at home workout if you used to go to the gym in the morning. Set reminders to get away from your desk for five minutes every so often to mimic the breaks you took in the office to grab a coffee in the kitchen. Structure You are your own personal manager when working from home. Without things like in-person meetings to break your day, it can be easy to lose focus. Also your motivation naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day, so set yourself a schedule. List what you’ll do and then block times on your calendar as to when you will work on them. For me personally I like to block the first 2 hours of every morning for writing tasks as I find that’s when I am at my most creative. I then try to schedule video calls and meetings for the afternoon when I find my productivity is waning. Make sure to set fixed working hours for yourself. It can be tempting to stay logged on long past when you said you will finish but it is best to set up a consistent schedule with yourself so that you can make a clean break between “work” and “home”. Kill distractions Working from home and particularly at the moment it can be easy to let yourself be consumed by the news and social media. To counteract this, remove social networks from your internet browser bookmarks and log out of every account. Or create a work bookmark list and a personal bookmark list. Your work bookmark list will only consist of the bookmarks you need for your job and the personal list can include your social networks. You can hide your personal bookmark list during your working day to remove the impulse to click into social networks. 3. Stay Connected Naturally, given the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and being unexpectedly thrown into working from home, it is natural to feel isolated. Instant messaging and video conferencing tools can make it easy to check in with your colleagues so make sure to schedule in some “non-work” related chats with your colleagues. Here in Sigmar, we schedule virtual coffee breaks with our colleagues, a ten-minute call to check in with each other and to have a chit-chat. This helps maintain team bonds and provides some light relief throughout your day. 4. Give Yourself a Break Being thrown into working from home, employees can often be harder on themselves about their productivity levels as they forget about the amount of distractions that come with working in an office environment. You might not have scheduled your coffee breaks when you worked in the office but regular breaks are important for maintaining focus and productivity so don’t be afraid to include them in your schedule. It could be a simple 10-minute break for a coffee or a snack or a few minutes to read an interesting article. Ideally, you should try to get some outdoor time during your lunch break too, so you don’t go stir crazy. Ultimately, what works best will vary from person to person so don’t be afraid to try things out over the next few weeks until you find your ideal set-up and structure. The most important thing is to find what helps you stay focused, while maintain a work life balance.