Audit Exit Opportunities — Case Study: How to move from Audit to Consulting
We’ve previously talked about how we managed to break out of accounting and audit & covered a few interesting and overlooked audit exit opportunities, but what about hearing directly from some of TheSwiftExit.com’s customers and where they’ve ended up?
This is a guest post from “Adam,” who spent 3 years in Big 4 Audit / Assurance in London, UK. He shares how he made the move straight from Accounting & Audit to a pure Consulting / Advisory role within the Big 4.
1) Hey Adam, so to get started can you tell us about the company and new role you’ve secured?
Sure no worries. I managed to secure an internal transfer from Audit in Asset Management and Real Estate to our Wealth and Asset Management Consulting team.
The transfer is permanent and there are NO ties with my previous Audit team, meaning I won’t be pulled back in for busy season or anything like that.
As you can imagine, my consulting responsibilities will include helping our clients steer their strategy in the current market environment, manage risk and and return value to their stakeholders.
The Consulting team I’m moving to is also a newly formed operation of the business and comprises of 6 individuals including myself and a Partner.
One of the reasons I’m excited about this opportunity (other than because it’s pure Consulting an no Audit work whatsoever!) is the fact that the team is completely starting from scratch and I’ve been told we are currently a lean team. As well as my day job I’ll be working on everything from setting up the operations for this new division of the business, managing new clients and also have real progression options in the future as we grow and having been one of the founding members (experts) in the firm.
2) What hurdles/challenges did you face (or thought you faced) coming from Audit?
For me personally I thought I had a lack of commercial or relevant experience to move directly from Audit to Consulting. I thought my Audit experience wouldn’t be considered “expert” enough despite being in the same industry as the Consulting team.
I think this is a common misconception we Accountants have, that our experience isn’t useful because it’s not “adding value” to a business, but simply reviewing what others have decided to do. Clearly that wasn’t a concern for the Consulting hiring team!
Secondly, I felt that I had a lack of knowledge about what a potential Consulting role would entail and where it would lead me in the next 2–5 years. I made sure to do all the research I could (including working with The Swift Exit team) to help me be comfortable with this for my interviews and for my own career planning.
[Co-Founder of TheSwiftExit.com here. Adding to Adam’s answer above, don’t be over occupied with where each individual role leads, but rather what skills and opportunities it might bring your way. We no longer live in a day and age where you need to sit in 1 job for 10+ years and some even expect you to be moving around every 2–5 years. It shows you were interested in maintaining a steep learning curve but it can also help you appear like a more proactive and sought after candidate.]
3) Having shown recruiters and your peers that it can be possible to move straight from traditional Accounting and Audit to a pure Consulting role, how has your Audit background helped you secure the position?
My Audit background was useful for a number of reasons.
I was involved in the Audits of some prestigious Asset Management and Real Estate clients (some of which were also undergoing structural changes) and I made sure to refer to these in both my CV and my interviews.
The knowledge base and exposure to multiple clients, their performance and how they operate is a valuable asset, especially for a Consulting team that needs to understand the market and what works in order to advise its clients.
Further to the above I had gained more general industry knowledge, such as the wider industry issues impacting my clients.
[Co-Founder of TheSwiftExit.com here. Any Auditor will have some degree of knowledge that’s considered interesting to future employers due to the nature of the role and the involvement with so many high calibre clients in the industry you are focused on. Make sure to mention them and what you know!]
Other than my day to day work I was also the lead client contact that managed the Audit delivery for various clients and facilitated internal training events for those in the levels below me. With these experiences I was able to show that I had leadership and managerial potential which is especially essential in any new team that will need to build a reputation and grow its team!
4) What would be your main tips for your fellow peers trying to break out of Audit?
Distinguish yourself from other Audit and Accounting peers and show drive and commitment to the application process.
For example, I sat CFA Level I as it’s a qualification relevant to my clients and industry. It gives me a deeper understanding of my clients services but also shows that I’m interested enough in the industry to do additional qualifications in my own time.
I would also recommend thoroughly researching the role, the company and department you’re applying for so that your understanding and aspiration for the position is really noticed by the hiring team. You should be helping them visualise you progressing well in and enjoying the position!
I would also suggest spreading your bets. This wasn’t the only role I applied for, but from other rejections and meetings I gained vital skills in interview practice, industry knowledge, how to identify what ‘good’ roles look like and more.
5) How has working with the The Swift Exit team helped you with your career mindset, applications and progression?
On the ’spread your bets’ comment and trying to identify what a ‘good’ role looks like, the Exit Options guide allowed me to identify what my options were, what they would entail and where it might lead me. I was then certain what roles I’d quite like to do and therefore which to apply to.
From the phone calls with the Swift Exit Team we went over potential roles sent to me by recruiters to understand what they would really entail, where they would lead and how I should approach them. They also helped me to ‘decipher’ some of the information said to me.
What I really valued was the non-biased and up to date nature of the whole process. Almost everyone you speak to when trying to make the move out of Audit and Accounting either has a bias, or alternatively their advice might not be applicable any more.
This is a guest post from “Adam,” who spent 3 years in Big 4 Audit / Assurance in London UK. He shares how he made the move straight from Accounting & Audit to a pure Consulting / Advisory role within the Big 4.
Exit Options | Mapping the post-accounting & audit landscape
A lot of the clients we coach ask about moving into more strategic & commercial roles after spending time in traditional accounting & audit, but don’t know where to start or even what opportunities exist …so-much-so that we’ve put together a map of the landscape of accounting exit opportunities, which I encourage you to check out!
Spice up your CV/Resume for the post-accounting & audit world
We’ve created a digital guide specifically to help those of you applying for more commercial & strategic roles. Our straight-talking CV/Resume advice for Accountants/Auditors is the only guide that is highly-specific to the traditional accounting & audit background: we give you real-life good & bad examples for showcasing your experience for strategic roles, the best structure & content to win over recruiters, a strategy for distributing your CV/Resume, interview advice, and more!
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