Are you coming out of contract soon? All the stats are out there about the competitive nature of the market for those who are recently qualified but getting a first hand account of what the process is really like is the most important aspect of all. To share this knowledge MA have compiled interviews with accountants who have made that move recently. Over the next few weeks we will bring you stories of people who have taken their careers in different directions. First up, Neil Boiling from Zurich. Read all about Neil’s journey from Big 4 to a global insurance leader within their treasury department, assisting on financial analysis processes.
Where did you train?
EY – Financial services department. Specialised in Wealth and Asset Management sector financial statement audits.
How was the experience in exploring the industry market coming to the end of your contract?
Initially, a little overwhelming but once you establish who you need to speak to and which literature to read to make your next step out of contract then it all becomes clear. It’s important to talk to your existing network, especially those who may have already made the step into an industry role or even a different role within practice. Ultimately remember that the process is a learning and growth experience in itself and it should culminate in a positive move, if you find otherwise you aren’t quite ready to move.
What is your current role? What company?
Treasury accountant at Zurich
What does an average day look like for you?
I analyse group transactions such as FX and loans, I have several individual entities part of Zurich group that I am responsible for and maintain the accounts. Each day I would be talking with people from all over the Zurich group by email but communicate mostly throughout the day with my local team.
Each day can look quite different but we have a good mix of recording and processing of historical accounts alongside projecting the finances we expect over the next 12 months to approx. 3 years.
How did you find coming out of contract and transitioning into Industry?
Initially I took an internal opportunity at EY when I reached the end of my training contract. I got a broader idea of other services that EY provide outside of audit and it allowed me to make a better informed decision before I made my move into industry. It’s an exciting process and I made sure to plan further ahead in my career before making that transition.
It was perhaps a little simpler for me than some because I only considered financial services sector companies, it was more about finding a role that would give me a broad knowledge about financial services, at the same time allowing me to become more commercially oriented over time. I found others who found the transition more difficult weren’t 100% sure the sector or role they were looking for, Mason Alexander can help with this process to identify where you fit.
What tips would you give to newly qualified accountants coming out of contract in April?
Don’t underestimate the power of having conversations with those people in your professional network that you already know (at all levels) and even reach out to ahead of you in their career. In doing this it gives you a sounding board for your own goals and you soon realise which roles will allow you reach those goals!
I spoke to colleagues, friends and family at all levels within financial services to ensure I was making the best informed decision possible.
Who did you work with in Mason Alexander?
How did you find working with Mason Alexander?
I was recommended Mason Alexander by other newly qualified colleagues in my network that I knew at EY and outside EY too. They were extremely professional from the outset but importantly they actually spent the time needed to find out what makes you tick and thus where you’d best be placed. It may sound like common sense to do this but not all the firms complete this process to the same extent.
Do you have any interview tips you would like to share?
Know your worth, don’t be frightened to be honest about what you want to achieve in your career. Feedback from my interview processes highlighted that highlighting my ambition is a positive trait as it lets the employer know if you’ll fit with the role they are hiring for and also how they envisage your future at their firm.
What do you know now, you wish you knew before you started your search to move into industry?
I wish I’d have known the length the process would take. Starting early is key, if you have a target date in your head of when you’d like to leave your existing employer then you will likely need to factor in 3-4 months to complete that process. Other than that it is just a case of doing your research and taking ownership of the process, no one else will invest as much time in your future as you.
If you are a newly qualified accountant thinking about your next move, contact the team today!