A Change in Direction
We often talk with people who are looking to switch up their career, get into a different line of work or move into a new industry and often it is not a straight path… It’s simply a change in direction.
Everybody (including myself) wants to get where they are going fast but in reality you are going to be the tortoise in this race. Whether it be an auditor wanting to make their mark in the investment world or a fund accountant wanting to move to financial reporting for an SME, it is very unlikely to be a straight jump. It may involve a salary reduction (for now) or a move back to practice (for now) – just bear in mind the long term goal. If it is what you really want this will not stop you.
Take my first example. Those of you who want to be a part of the sexy world of Corporate Finance or Private Equity – it is not an easy area to break into. Whether you are just qualified or have moved into industry already and know that audit is not for you, don’t worry, it can be fixed but you need to be flexible as to how the change happens and more often than not it involves…dare I say it…going back to practice.
Now you do already possess some strong desirable skills. You probably know P&Ls like the back of your hand and if you have been auditing specific sectors you may have some strong market knowledge but you’re lacking in some advisory experience, due diligence and big deal exposure.
What Routes to Take
The most common route I have seen is an internal move. Usually recently qualified ACA’s in the Big 4/Top 10 will move from audit to either Advisory, Restructuring or TS. Or a move back into one of the aforementioned teams if the person has already left.
I have found that Transaction Services provides a great base for somebody applying for an Investment Analyst position in a Private Equity company. The due diligence, the report writing, financial modelling etc. are sought after skills. TS in the M&A world is like wanting to buy a car and popping the hood to see what the engine is like first. How the company runs, if it is a suitable investment and what is the best action to take. Is it the most exciting work? Possibly not, however it does set you up with the fundamental skills that will make you a fierce Investment Analyst in the future.
Another example is a fund accountant working in a hedge fund administrator who has completed ACCAs, just loves financial statements and so badly wants to be a Financial Reporter in a Tech company.
- DON’T jump into applying right away – you have no industry OR financial reporting experience.
- DO see if there is an option to move internally. Get 6-12months financial reporting experience under your belt first and tailor your CV to show you industry knowledge and interest in that specific sector. This will make your application 100% stronger.
So don’t look at it like you are taking a step back, you are re-evaluating your journey and changing direction and destination.