Don’t wait until you qualify – it’s too late!

Jul 09, 2020
Most Chartered Accountant students are rightly occupied with study, exams and lectures for the three and a half years of their traineeship and upon passing their FAEs then need to decide what direction to take their qualification.  This throws up a multitude of questions.


Ideally what should my next job title be? Do I work a year abroad or just do a three-month travelling time-out? Should I stay with my training firm for six months or longer? Should I be aiming for a contract or a permanent position?  PLC versus SME etc. etc.

...So much to figure out so quickly...

This can be quite a lot to take on board and decide suddenly what trajectory your career path is going to take from the outset. 


I would suggest you diarise into your annual timetable breaks from the study at intervals to scope out various paths and options that are going to be available to you once you qualify in 2021 or 2022. As well as being a switch from the pressures of study, this research will also give you a sense that you are on a targeted path. It will give you focus on a clear goal and something to aim for upon qualification.  If there are sectors you are particularly interested in, start researching them now and get close to the exciting companies in those sectors! 

Even as early as CAP1, ensure you set up a professional LinkedIn profile and start connecting with CFOs, practice partners and managing directors in your target companies and sectors. 

Browse the job specs on LinkedIn and that you feel might appeal to you in a few years time and make sure you understand any niche technical requirements as well as the soft skills being sought and focus on building these while you train. 

Additionally, even at this early stage of your career it is advisable to work with one or more mentors. Someone experienced in business who you feel has good judgement and will help you with some direction as you head towards qualification. 

Finally, use LinkedIn to map the career paths of your peers that are a few years ahead of you and what they did upon qualification and speak to as many of them as you can. Not all of them got it right. All newly quals have to find their feet and explore the market in the initial years and often make a few moves to find the right fit but why leave it to the last minute?

Dave Riordan - Career Coach and Recruitment Specialist
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