A brief overview of my own accounting background.  I did the B. Comm in UCD after the leaving certificate.  I enjoyed studying accounting, so I chose to continue with the accounting route for college.  I joined one of the Big 4 firms during the Milkround and completed my training contract with them.

Post-training options for accountants

So, what then? After completing a training contract, you will have clocked up over 7,000 hours and like many newly qualified accountants, you might be unsure of your next move.

In general, there are 3 broad career options to take and I’ll go through the option that I chose and why it worked for me.

  1. To stay in practice
  2. Move directly into industry
  3. Go travelling and gain international accounting industry experience

In my case, I had enough of working in practice and doing external audit. I wanted what I believed would be a more dynamic career in industry, but I was unsure of the next step.

The route I took is a well-worn path and didn’t require much career planning on my part.

Working with a specialist recruiter

Several friends and colleagues who had also completed their FAE’s and their training contracts all decided to take the year out and go travelling. We headed off to Sydney where I had no network or professional connections.

To get an accounting job I registered with a recruitment agency.  At that time, I was pretty much unaware of what a recruitment agency was or what they did.

My friends and I all found recruitment agencies to be invaluable. After meeting with several recruiters, I found one who I built up a rapport with.

I discussed my career to date (clients and industries I had audited) and suitable locations I was willing to work based on where I lived in Sydney. This was vital for me as at that stage my knowledge of Sydney, what companies and Industries I was interested in and what salary I could expect was all limited.

From that initial meeting, I received several suitable job specifications and the roles and companies were discussed in full.

Interviews were arranged and I got some excellent information on interview preparation, as at that stage I had only done a few interviews to get into the Big 4.  It was this support and insight which gave me the confidence to get the interviews.

During my time in Sydney, I ended up working on several accounting projects with two large international companies, an experience I don’t think I would have gotten in Ireland. This allowed me the opportunity to decide on the direction I wanted my accounting career to go.

Figuring out your next career move

On returning to Ireland after a year abroad, I was a little out of touch with the Irish market.  After my positive experience working with recruitment agencies in Australia, I contacted several agencies in Ireland. Again, my experience was very positive, and I secured a position within an industry that I had a significant interest in.

From my point of view travelling and gaining accounting experience abroad allowed me to focus on where I wanted my career to go. What went hand in hand with this was using a professional recruitment agent who guided me on the market, what roles and companies would be suitable for me.

After working in industry as an accountant I went on to set up my own business in hospitality. After selling my business an opportunity arose to join Cpl as a Senior Recruitment Consultant for accountants. This was an ideal move for me as it allowed me to combine my knowledge of training and working as an accountant within a Big 4 practice and my knowledge of running a business.

This gave me a unique insight into what assistance and advice both candidates and clients want in order to fulfil their career and recruitment needs.

Looking for your next accounting role?

So, from your point of view if you’re unsure what to do after your training contract ends my advice is to connect with a recruitment consultant who can give you up to date knowledge of the accounting market.

They will be able to guide you on:

  • What roles are suitable
  • Your CV
  • Interview preparation
  • The various company cultures out there now, and which would suit you

From a newly qualified accountants point of view, this is free and invaluable advice. Once you develop a relationship with a recruiter who you trust you will then have a point of contact to advise on accounting career options suited to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about accounting roles in Ireland at the moment get in touch, I’d be delighted to advise: karl.murray@cpl.ie