So where do you want your career in accountancy to take you? Are you going to join the famous names or support the UK’s growing army of SMEs? One thing is for sure, your options are varied. There are 5.5 million businesses in the UK and over 99% are Small or Medium Sized enterprises (SMEs) employing 0 to 249 people.
Not surprisingly, many graduates fix their eye firmly on the top 50 accountancy firms who, according to the 2016 Accountancy Age Top 50+50 Survey, have smashed through the 12bn fee income barrier. These are the firms who grew their fee income by nearly a billion between 2015 and 2016.
Mergers and acquisitions mean the names sometimes change amongst accountancy hierarchy, but the top four remain consistent; accountancy firms who control around 79% of the total accountancy market revenues for the top 30 firms in the UK.
So why would you consider joining a small accountancy firms or the financial team of an SME instead? Working for independent, owner-managed businesses can offer far greater exposure and breadth of experience. You may well also benefit from increased flexibility and a more supportive working environment. Many believe that the bigger the company, the more robust and rigid their systems and controls are, leading to miles of red tape.
Smaller firms may give you more room to develop your skills in the context of the wider business environment they work in. Your impact may be clearer, leading to job satisfaction that you’ve played your part in profitable growth. If you work within an SME financial team – or for an accountancy practice that serves small businesses – you may have more opportunities to shape business strategies and a tangible role in building their long-term success.
ACCA – the worldwide Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – reports that “Although relatively few ACCA members’ careers start in SMEs, 45% have at some point in their lives worked for an SME.”
Whether you dream of joining the big players or have ambitions to make a big difference at a smaller firm, it can all start with a HND, HNC or Degree programme in Business, Accounting and Finance at Mont Rose College. After your time at this top college in Ilford, there’s a large business world outside and your niche is ready and waiting.