I’m a newly qualified ACA. What’s next?

I’m a newly qualified ACA. What’s next?

Ashley Crich 11.07.2017

Congratulations on passing all your exams after three long hard working years! Now, it’s the time to think about where you would like to take your career and as a newly qualified ACA, there are plenty of options lurking about.

Since this is probably the most important move in your career, it’s important that you get it right. First, ask yourself what you would like to achieve. Do you want to be a partner or a director in practice? Then it’s pretty self explanatory, stay in practice. If not, then you are probably wasting years that could be spent climbing up the career ladder of your choice, there are plenty of options available for a newly qualified ACA. Some options include:

  • Financial Services – Corporate Finance/Private Equity, Risk, Fund Management, Equity Research, Back office accounting
  • Commerce & Industry – Internal Audit, Group Accounting, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting, Finance Analysis
  • Practice – Corporate Recovery, Forensics, Consultancy, Advisory, Tax, Audit

If you don’t know yet where you would like to work, don’t panic! Just ask yourself, what am I passionate about and what’s most important to me? Is there a particular sector that seems more appealing than others? What type of role will I get the most satisfaction from?

Do you want to:

  • Model large complex amounts of financial data as part of a corporate finance team?
  • Be the person who’s responsible for ensuring that a business remains compliant and efficient by advising on how to improve controls and processes already in place?
  • Be responsible for analysing market trends and advise senior stakeholders on the cash flow and forecast of the business? 

Okay, I know what I would like to do, how do I get there?

There’s a lot of competition out there to secure great roles and you don’t want to settle for less than your dream job. I speak to a lot of newly qualified ACAs and those who go the extra mile stand out. However, this is not impossible to achieve! Employers like detail and personality. To improve your chances of securing the right role for you with the right company, make sure to tailor your CV and be ready to get it out there.
You have to be specific regarding the key financial accounting challenges you faced with each client. Tailor your CV – This is your chance to market yourself to a prospective employer. Most finance directors know what a senior associate at PWC or an assistant manager at Deloitte does. Chances are, they were probably in your shoes 10 years ago. First, you have to be specific regarding the key financial accounting challenges you faced with each client rather than just saying I audited X. Your CV is also a chance to show your personality, if you participate in extracurricular activities, sports and hobbies then this is a great way to show your prospective employer that you have something in common.
Get your CV out there – Well, you probably don’t want it out there in the hands of everyone. This is the time to speak to your peers about opportunities they have heard of. Alternatively, you can also speak with a recruiter. When selecting a recruiter to work with, it’s best that you select those who operate in the sectors you are passionate about. Look for recruiters who genuinely listen and offer extra value such as competency based interview training, career mapping and CV advice. The biggest complain I get from newly qualified ACAs is that their recruitment consultant keeps approaching them for the types of roles that they have specifically said they are not interested in. If this is happening to you now, it’s probably best to end the “relationship.”
On a final note, I’d like to wish you all the best of luck in securing your dream role, be patient and don’t settle for less. Making the wrong move can severely back track your career but so can staying inactive! Start your search early so that you have more time to carefully consider each opportunity presented to you. Moving out of practice can often feel like a bumpy ride, but it’s doing the right things that will ensure a smooth journey.



Ashley Crich's picture
Manager | Accounting and Finance