27.04.2022

Considering a move during accountancy qualification study?

Are you considering moving roles while studying for your accountancy qualification? We have some helpful FAQs for you. 

I’m supported by my current company to study towards the ACA/ACCA/CTA qualification, is it okay to be considering a move?

In short, yes.

Accountancy practices across the UK are pushing a huge number of benefits and incentives to entice current studiers to join their businesses. This type of move is very common, with Trainees joining new firms in favour of a better work-life balance and proper study leave around the time of exams. Sometimes the real draw is a firm that do not put too much pressure on the passing of exams first-time, but value the hard-work you put into the business.

Training to become a qualified accountant is a big ask, for anyone, let alone doing this while working a 9-5 job. If you are committed to both studying and working simultaneously, I think it’s a fair ask that you are happy in the role you’re working in.

There are currently a plethora of practices, not just in London, but across the entirety of the UK who are looking to recruit the best talent that are training with other accountancy practices. The potential benefits are endless, and can include any of the below:

  • A better work/life balance
  • Full flexibility to work from wherever you wish
  • Increased salaries (in some cases, even with less working hours) and paid overtime
  • Being part of a real team that recognise your hard-work and successes
  • Autonomous working, a firm that trusts in you to complete the work you set-out to do
  • Less pressure on exams
  • Opportunities to second internationally
  • Exposure to areas outside of your current service line
  • The chance to specialise in a sector/industry that is of real interest to you i.e., Technology, Retail, Hospitality, Entertainment, Banking, Not-for-Profit.

The above are not completely unobtainable either, many of the companies in the market are offering a number of, if not all, of the benefits above to current ACA/ACCA/CTA Trainees.

So, maybe you want to continue working towards your qualification without the concern of being let-go if you were to struggle with an exam sitting. Or maybe you feel you are ready to take on more responsibility than your current firm is currently affording you.

The great news is that you do have options, and there are some great accountancy practices out there offering exactly what it is you need.

Is changing my training contract difficult?

No, over the previous few year’s businesses have become very accustomed to recruiting professionals at this level.

This is one of the common concerns among Trainees considering a move to another firm, and it is the factor that most candidates view as the primary barrier to a move.

A move such as this is easier than ever. The firm you are moving to will take full control over this process, allowing you to focus on the job change and coming to grips with being a part of a new team.

Will I have clawback costs to pay if I leave before I qualify?

If you’re currently an Apprentice then no, you will have no costs to pay upon leaving.

If you’re not an Apprentice, you may have costs to pay however, the majority of accountancy practices are familiar with how this works and are happy to subsidize these costs. In some cases, they will cover 100% of these fees, in other cases they will cover around 50% and offer the rest to you in an interest free loan which can be paid back over the course of 12 or 24 months.

I am currently working on a portfolio of clients that I have absolutely no interest in, I want to change that, but will the fact I have little experience in working with different clients affect my job search?

As you’re currently still very early in your accountancy career, no. While it is certainly a benefit to have had exposure to working with clients in several industries, specialising in a few specific areas should not narrow your job-search.

If there is a particular sector of clients you want to look into working with and have a real passion for, a lot of businesses will definitely consider you on that basis.

Will a move complicate my exam sittings?

If you get to the point in the job search process where you have accepted a job offer. Accountancy Practices can be very flexible around start-dates to ensure that there is minimal disruption to exam sittings. There is always a way to make these processes work, and to agree upon a start-date that works for both you and the business you’re hoping to join.

I currently work in a regional accountancy practice; would this make relocation to a business in London difficult?

Not at all, we’re seeing a huge uplift in the number of Trainees relocating across the country to join London-based accountancy practices.

While there is some disparity in the size of firms and the size/complexity of the clients, any experience you have will still heavily overlap.

Can we help?

Please do feel free to reach out to the Rutherford Briant Practice team if you need help with a career move or if you have any further questions:

Jack Payne, Managing Consultant (London and UK) – jackpayne@rutherfordbriant.com

Audit Team (UK) – audit@rutherfordbriant.com

Tax team (UK) – tax@rutherfordbriant.com

Posted by: Rutherford Briant