Keep an open mind for your next career move

Oct 27, 2017

Keep an open mind for your next career move

Career progression, salary, work-lifestyle balance, different industry, benefits package…… the list goes on. What is the primary reason for switching roles?

Before you make your next move there are a few key points to consider.

  • Medium to long term career goals
  • Financial Security
  • Work –Lifestyle balance
  • Benefits package

NEWS BODY - Keep an open mind for your next career move

Medium to long term career goals

Once you have made the decision that your current finance role is not right for you in the medium – long term it’s time to start thinking about making the move. There are a number of key points to be aware of on the start of this journey whether you are a recently qualified accountant leaving practice or a Finance Director in a subsidiary of a large MNC.

At the recently qualified level it is very important to gain the right experience in your first five years as a qualified accountant. Know your value as an accountant stepping into a new role but don’t let salary be the primary reason for not accepting a role. Salary needs to acceptable but not as high as possible.

A brief example would be to take two recently qualified chartered accountants of equal ability Paul and Mary who are both hoping to work in a commercial Financial Controller in 6 years’ time. Paul decides money is his primary motive and takes a €60,000 financial reporting role. Mary decides improving her skillset in a finance function is her primary motive and takes a €47,000 financial accountant position working under a strong Financial Controller and Director in a growing Irish SME.  Over the next 5 years they both progress up the chain in their roles. Without even debating the question we all know that Mary will be in the strongest position to obtain that €75,000 Financial Controller role in year 6. The question to ask yourself if you are currently facing these types of decisions is:

What short term career move will help me excel in the medium to long term?

Financial Security / Work – Lifestyle balance

If we move up the career ladder to the Financial Controller and Director level we see different but in one way similar career decisions when looking at remuneration.

Take Dave for example who is a Finance Director in a growing Technology company on a salary of €125,000, he works at least 13 hour days 6 days a week and has two young children at home. His wife also works and they are financially secure. Dave has a passion for working with a charity and gets offered a €90,000 5 day a week role with a charity he supports.  After taking account that Dave is financially secure the choice seems relatively straight forward for him to make.  Dave should make the move and have a better work life style balance. The question to ask yourself in a similar situation is:

Which industry would I like to work in long term and what is the minimum base salary that I can afford to accept to have a better work–life balance?

Benefits package

We often here the term “golden handcuffs” linked to strong pension schemes. There does come a stage in your career when you are in senior finance position, close to retirement and you can’t afford to leave your strong defined benefit pension scheme. However this will only effect circa 10% of the accountants looking to move at the moment because post-recession pensions on offer are predominately defined contribution schemes.

For example there are a number of financial services companies offering strong defined contribution schemes at present. When speaking to members who are looking to move away from these organisations at various levels I can see the pulling power the pension scheme has which makes it difficult for them to leave. This is where a very important career decision has to be made. In the short term you could remain in a well-paid finance manager position with a strong pension scheme, however doing this could curtail your career progression within the industry. The question that needs to be asked is:

Is having a strong benefits package a good enough reason not to move role?

No matter what stage you are at in your accountancy career it is important to change roles for the right reason. The reasons will be different for each individual but they need to be addressed when considering a move. Remuneration should not be the only motivation to move but it will always play an important part in the decision.

John Fagan ACA, Recruitment Consultant Chartered Accountants Ireland.

My career to date:

“After studying an MA Economics in UCD, I decided to go down the accountancy route by undertaking the Professional Diploma in Accountancy in DCU which lead to four years with PwC. After eighteen months traveling, I settled into two and a half years in a financial reporting role in a financial services company. I have spent the last four years working in a financial recruitment and career advisory role for accountants at all levels. I have enjoyed each of my accounting roles but I now know looking back that I should have added variety to my experience regardless of the direction my future career was heading.”

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For career advice and job opportunities at the recently qualified level please contact and for more senior level opportunities please contact