Considering your first move after qualifying in practice?

Sinead Byrne 10.05.2018

'Half a million new UK  jobs are expected in next 12 months’, according to a report produced this week by the ICAEW and Grant Thornton.

It certainly makes for positive reading, but there is nothing remarkable about it. This got me thinking how great it was that there is nothing remarkable about this statement, given the challenges that we and the economy have been facing over the last few years. We are now regularly seeing these types of articles, where confidence is high and talk of the ‘R-word’ seems to have taken a back seat for now.

Morgan McKinley has seen a significant increase in business over the last 6 months...the knock-on effect of the lift in the economy is very real.That said, I can imagine that many people might gloss over such articles and not see how it directly relates to them in the real world. You might be wondering whether your prospects as a newly qualified accountant have actually changed in real terms since the lift in the economy.

As somebody at the ‘frontline’ of recruitment, I can say that yes it does!  Morgan McKinley has seen a significant increase in business over the last 6 months; from roles we have taken on, numbers of clients we are working with and the number of professionals we have successfully found jobs for across all of our specialisms. The knock-on effect of the lift in the economy is very real.

What does could this mean for you and your career if you have qualified in practice ?

  • There is indeed a skills shortage for good people, particularly in practice, meaning that even if you qualified in a smaller practice, Top 10 and Big 4  firms are no longer out of your reach in the same way that they may have been 12 months ago. Reset your expectations and aim high!
  • If you have experience of working in Audit or Accounts in a specific industry, however limited  - then your skills are even more in demand. Insurance, public sector, media and financial services are the areas most in demand at the moment.
  • There are more opportunities being created in mid-tier and larger firms to move into other areas outside of Audit, once you have settled into the business. Once you have built up your internal reputation and cut your teeth on some larger clients, you have the opportunity to explore other areas that might be potentially of interest to you that would be tough from outside the firm’s network. The healthier economy means that service offerings, such as corporate finance and Tax, will require greater numbers of staff in the next 1-3 years, and the first port of call for most firms is their internal talent.


  • SMEs are reportedly leading the way in recruiting new staff. If you are keen to leave the world of practice behind you, then SMEs are eager to see talent that is available to them from strong individuals who have qualified in smaller practices, and can offer an all round mix of skills from Accounts to Tax and more.

So if you were wondering what the job market is like,  the answer is very good!  Morgan McKinley has produced an ACA handbook that sets out all of the options that are open to individuals with practice experience, including the many options within Practice, Commerce and Industry, Financial Services and more.

Please contact me using the details below, if you would like a confidential chat about your own situation or would like a copy of the handbook.

Sinead Byrne's picture
Senior Consultant, External Audit and Outsourcing recruitment Big 4 and Mid Tier firms