I’m a newly-qualified ACA. Should I stay or should I go?


If you’ve just passed your ACA, 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? Let’s find out more.

Passing your ACA is a significant achievement, the culmination of 3-5 years of hard work alongside the job you already have. You’re certainly entitled to take a step back and take stock of your 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’re at a crossroads where you have several paths available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, the choice you make now could define the rest of your career. It’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed.

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 can make the most of your choices.

Staying in practice

Even if you choose to stay in practice, you don’t have to go back to the everyday life you had before you qualified for your ACA. You can still use your ACA to progress your career in practice. For example, you can:

  • Stay with your current company – They’re sure to want you to stay, so talk to them about how you see your career. If you would like to work with more prominent clients or move into management, now’s the time to ask
  • Change your specialism – You could also change your role within your current company if you feel you would like to refresh your career
  • 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 need 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, and Financial Planner. Choose a role that aligns with your interests and where you feel you 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

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. So much about a role depends on the type of company you work for, whether it’s in practice or commercial. 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.

The good news is that you’re now ACA-qualified – and there’s rarely been a better time to weigh up your options. 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?

Find out more from 360 Search

Making your next move after achieving your ACA can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. It’s time to get 360 Search in your corner.

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

Call Benjamin Adamkiewicz +447873528155, badamkiewicz@360search.ie, or visit 360search.ie to find out more.

360 Search is an industry-leading recruitment consultancy, with a dedicated team of skilled consultants operating a tailored approach to the recruitment process. We are specialists in the finance & accountancy sectors, on a permanent and interim basis.

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