How to use the top 50+50 list to your advantage

Thomas Wood 04.10.2017

The top 50 + 50. Any practice recruiter worth their salt will have the date the list is released labelled as their favourite time of year (professionally speaking!).

To what extent have the firms that you work with developed? Who have they overtaken? Are they now in the top 50? The top 20? The firm that wasn’t in the list last year – where have they come from? All of these questions are answered by the league table and let’s face it, everybody loves a league table - It never lies. Or does it?

If you work in Practice and you are searching for a job, the likelihood is that you will use the top 50 + 50 to assess where you see yourself working and what sort of size business you want to work for. When consulting the list, size doesn’t always matter. Consider the following:

  • As well as assessing the size, assess the growth. Is it better to work for a top 20 firm who haven’t grown in three years than a top 40 firm who have grown significantly year on year?
  • On the subject of growth, consult the list from previous years to assess how and why a particular firm has developed. If there is consistent, stable and sustained growth over a period of three to four years or so, this is an obvious indication that a firm is moving in the right direction. Other growth expansion is due to acquisitions or takeover and whilst this is certainly not a negative, the list may present the information in a way that could skew your perception of how this expansion has occurred
  • Do your research on the specialism of each Practice. If you are an audit professional and the Practice you are researching specialises predominantly in International Tax or Insolvency, does it really matter how they rank? What matters is the size and scope of their audit team
  • Many Practices choose not to have their details published on the list. When speaking to recruiters, find out more about turnover, growth and the number of Partners in a Practice, rather than just where they would rank.
  • Do your research on how many offices a firm has. If the firm in question is in the top 30 for example, but the office in which you are interviewing only has 12 members of staff, is that really what you were aiming for?  

The top 50 + 50, when used in the correct manner, is a very useful tool for recruiters and job seekers alike and presents the information succinctly in a user friendly list. However, it is just a list. Speak to us, do your own research and find out more about culture, growth and how a firm can help you develop, rather than just a number.


Thomas Wood's picture
Manager | Audit Recruitment, General Practice


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