Newly-Qualified ACA? Unsure whether to stay in Practice or move to Commercial?

27 November, 2023

Newly-Qualified ACA? Unsure whether to stay in Practice or move to Commercial?

If you’ve just passed your ACA last month, there are a wealth of options open to you, including staying in practice or moving to commercial. But which is the right path for you?

Passing your ACA is a significant achievement. You have just spent 3-5 years of hard work alongside the job you already have. This is definitely a time to stop, reflect and absorb the success, but soon, it’s time to think about your options.

Suddenly, as a newly-qualified ACA, your skills are in high demand, especially in today’s job market. You now have several paths available to you, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, the choice you make now could define the rest of your career.

One of the biggest choices newly qualified ACAs have, is whether to stay in practice or move to commercial. In this article, we’ll look at what they entail and how you may be more suited to one or the other.


Staying in Practice

If you choose to stay in practice, you can use your ACA to progress your career. You don’t necessarily have to go back to the everyday life you had before you qualified.

For example, you can:

  • Stay with your current company – They are very likely to want you to stay. Talk to them about how you see your career. Would you like to work with more prominent clients or move into management? Now is the time to ask.
  • Change your specialism – You could consider changing your role within your current company.
  • Change firms – You may prefer to stay in practice but with a new firm, perhaps one of a different size or with a different company culture.


Switching to Commercial

If you decide to switch to commercial, there are still several questions to answer as you plot your next career move:

  • What will you do? – You must choose a role and specialism, such as Group Accountant, Management Accountant, Financial Accountant or Financial Planner. Choose a role that aligns with your interests and where you feel you will excel.
  • Where will you work? – Would you prefer a large or small company? Is there an industry you would like to work in? What do you see as your next move after this one? Each company offers something slightly different.
  • What cultural aspects are important to you? – Aside from salaries and bonuses, you need to understand what motivates you and will keep you at the company for the next few years.


Plotting your career path

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. What type of company do you want to work for? Practice or Commercial? Large or small?

A large company may have a clearly defined career path and an established culture, but you may prefer a smaller company where you are higher up in the structure and can make a bigger impact. 

Remember…you are now ACA-qualified! Demand for talented accountants is high and the number of available candidates is low. This is leading to higher salaries and the opportunity for flexible working. 


So, what should you do?

Reach out to Hayward Hawk!

Making your next move after achieving your ACA can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. Hayward Hawk are here to help!

Make time to talk to one of our friendly, experienced consultants. First, we’ll help you assess your position and evaluate your options. Then, if you decide you would like to look for a new role, we’ll help you get the job that is right for you.


Call Gemma Murphy to find out more!

T: 028 9693 1370


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