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Career path after being qualified

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 24 x982021


    I'm in my 3rd year in my ACA training with one of the BIG4. I'm going to be qualified soon. I have experience in financial service , worked on funds and some aircraft leasing.

    I dont know what are the options after being qualified. any advice on the different career path I can take?

    Thank you so much in advance

    Post edited by x982021 on


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  • What interests you, what would you like to do? The group that qualified with me over 30 years ago at a big 4 in Dublin went in all kids of directions: public practice, sheep farming, public service, professional musician, software engineer, restaurant owner, start up business in entertaining, toy manufacturing, etc.... people go in may different directions.

  • There's no set list of options. Obviously you could choose to stay on at your current employer. You could also stay in the same role but move to a different company. Or there's the typical finance roles that you'd connect with an accounting qualification. CAI have plenty of careers guidance and 'next steps' advice for those kinds of roles.

    But honestly, the best thing about having ACA and Big4 on your CV will be the freedom it gives you to move around different roles. It's not just seen as an accountancy qualification, it's recognised for the much broader scope it has as a business qualification (or at least that's my experience).

    Best advice I could give you is to have a look at the career supports, articles and webinars from CAI, including their magazine. Then also go on to job sites and LinkedIn and have a look at jobs you like, see what the requirements are. Even just pick out a company you like, and see what kinds of jobs they have going. While I get that everyone has different aspirations, I always feel it's a shame when people feel tied to a 'career path', as though it's supposed to be a linear A-to-B journey. Your first year out of contract is going to be the best year to try something new - if it doesn't work out, you'll still have Big4/ACA on your CV and will have the same freedom you have now.

  • Thanks for the advice!

    While I'm in financial service but I'm not really into it. I want to move into retail and maybe become financial accountant. Since I've trained in audit , I'm not familiar with the work of a financial accountant. Do you have any insight on how to move into this role? what is required?

    Thank you

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  • You know more than you think, you can't audit the work of a company without understanding how their financial accounting works.... Once you are qualified, have a look for vacancies in client companies or others taking on newly qualifieds. In other words do what everyone else does - wing it until you can.

  • Same as I said in my last post: Best advice I could give you is to have a look at the career supports, articles and webinars from CAI, including their magazine. Then also go on to job sites and LinkedIn and have a look at jobs you like, see what the requirements are.

    Career supports: the CAI website (I'm not sure what parts you'd have access to now, but once qualified you can definitely access it) has a career prep pack (almost like a workbook) and a 'Career Supports' section with helpful articles and webinars. They also list job opportunities - you can look at the role requirements.

    LinkedIn has loads of financial accountant roles up right now - again, you just need to look at the requirements. Link, link, link, link - these are the first few financial accountant roles that came up when I searched. Link - this is a retail role.

    Here are a couple other retail roles - link, link. Try, etc. and look at loads of roles to get an idea of what you'd be doing.

  • thank you so much for the great advice.

    I'll look at the links and CAI website more

  • Is it possible to move departments before the end of your contract, to Audit or general accountancy services perhaps.

    Fund Accounting and Aircraft leasing are quite niche areas and if you wish to branch out you may need to show a prospective employer a more generalised experience that they can relate to.

    Good luck with your exams and future job hunting.

  • I moved to the Cayman Islands. I would highly recommend it. You will obtain a salary of about $70k USD tax free.

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  • Thanks for your advice.

    Hiring managers are already reaching out to me on linkedin, theres a variety like fund accountant and financial accountant positions.

    Do you what's the main difference there in terms of career prospects, pay, work?

    I did some research but found information that are too general. Would be great if anyone have some insights

  • Well in my experience, fund accounting is about as interesting as watching paint dry, very specialised and a career path to... more of the same. The fund managers and analysts are the guys and girls going places, not the fund accountants.

  • Thanks for your insight.

    Fund accountant sounds specialized, just thinking that If after a few years, I realised I didnt enjoy it much. I was thinking if it would be difficult to switch back out to the general financial accountant jobs since I do fund audits in big4 and then stuck with the fund accounting side. I'd say I'll lack some non financial industry experience.

    What's your opinion ?

  • If anyone is interested in moving to the Cayman Islands once qualified please send me a message. $70k-$100k a year, 5 mins to work, 2 mins from the beach, flip flops to work, a gaa club with 450 members, tax free, sun all year round.

  • Fund accounting and financial accounting are poles apart. If you spend 5 years in fund accounting you will have NO experience of typical financial accounting. And in my experience fund accountants to not make the progression in the funds industry to the senior roles, that goes to the fund managers and analysts.

    The big question is what do you enjoy doing, what interests you. You will spend a very large part of your life doing it, so it helps if you really enjoy doing it.

  • I like financial accounting, it is pretty varied with no weeks being the same. I think if that's what you are interested in you might have to take a more junior role for a few years or a job in a small practice (although this may be difficult, I know my firm didn't hire and qualified accountants from the Big 4). Training in a small practice prepared me very well for all aspects of my current role.

    I don't think my employers gave a hoot if I was qualified or not, they just want someone that can do the job. As you are often the sole accountant, so you'll have to do all aspects of day to day accounting, posting, bank rec's, supplier payments, chasing customers, payroll, VAT, RTD, cashflow, management accs.

    It really comes down to what interests you, and people often don't have a job for life these days so you can always move.