You've passed your ACCA exams - what next?

You've passed your ACA or ACCA exams! What are your career options?

Published on 12th April 2021

Firstly, we would like to say a big congratulations to all who received their ACA or ACCA results and are now fully qualified accountants.  This is such an amazing achievement which will have required a lot of hard work and persistence.

You've passed your ACA or ACCA exams - what next for your career?

As part of the Professional Services Finance & Accounting recruitment team at Ambition, we have helped many newly qualified ACAs and ACCAs take the next step in their career in either in a new practice, or, in a larger role.

This article provides some information about the various options are available to you if you are looking to explore opportunities with your new ACA or ACCA qualification.

Option 1: Stay in the same role

Your existing firm will for sure be keen to retain you as a newly qualified accountant and provide you with opportunities to step up and take on more responsibilities. 

Practice firms are virtually unrivalled for the progression that they can offer and some things should change now that you have become fully qualified:

1. Salary increase

To begin with, you should see a noticeable pay rise. On average, we have newly qualified candidates experience salary increases of up to 20%.

To find out the current rates, download our market trends & salary guide >

2. Increased responsibilities

With this pay rise, you’ll be sure to gain added responsibilities as you undertake a more senior role on audits/accounts prep assignments.

3. Mentor others

You may be asked to provide your words of wisdom as a mentor for those who are now going through the ACA or ACCA route

This is a great opportunity to take up as it helps to develop your mentoring/coaching/managing skills with something that should be very familiar to you and you are likely to have some very good tips and tricks to share.


Option 2: Move internally

This is a fantastic option if you are really enjoying working at your current firm and are not ready to move to a new firm entirely but want to take on either new responsibilities or explore a new area within the business.

So many finance candidates want to move into industry to become an analyst, explore equity research, or, discover the world of Mergers & Acquisitions.  

The best way to go about this would be to move into the relevant team internally given that you would have already proven yourself as a loyal employee and your managers can provide internal references in terms of your work ethics and attitude.

Option 3: Move to a competitor

You may be keen to explore opportunities in a new platform, be it a larger or a smaller practice.   In moving to a competitor you are giving yourself the opportunity to explore a new environment, work with new Partners and Managers, as well as a new portfolio of clients. 

Some newly qualified accountants who have been working with smaller practices may have a desire to move into a larger practice to gain exposure to larger clients, experience more collaboration with supporting teams such as the technical accounting team, manage larger teams and be exposed to different processes etc. 

Whilst on the other end of the spectrum, NQ accountants who have only worked for a large practice may have a desire to explore opportunities within smaller practices as it may provide them with a more direct route to partnership.

Our advice for newly qualified ACAs and ACCAs:

1. Keep your options open and speak to as many individuals as you need to before you make a move. 

Partners and Managers of your firm are the best to speak to as they have chosen to stay and pursue a career in practice so will be able to give you an insight on their decision to do so and also speak about what your career may look like if you do decide to stay on.

2. Speak to recruitment consultants who specialise in this field

Like us!

The majority of companies choose not to post their newly qualified opportunities online, but rather, go through recruitment firms to help them manage and support the process better so it’s worth getting your CV out to us so we can present you with relevant opportunities.

Once again, congratulations to all of you newly qualified ACAs and ACCAs! We wish you all the best in the next step of your career.

If you're looking for any advice, please contact us.

Wondering how much you should be earning post qualification?

Download our latest salary guides:

Audit, Accounts, Outsourcing & Tax in Practice

Legal Finance & Accounting

Insolvency & Restructuring

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