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When is it the right time to move?

When considering a career move there are usually several factors involved which can be split into either:

  • Pushes – Things you don’t like about your current employer or job;
  • Pulls – Things you find attractive about a potential future employer or job.

Even if we have an excellent relationship with our employer, little things start to frustrate us which build up over time and we don’t act until it gets to a point the pushes are pushing us out the door.

Most people’s career moves are driven by the Pushes.

The obvious problem with this is that we can often accept a position simply because we want to leave where we are, not because of how compelling the other offer is.

OK that’s great but I’m happy where I am, why would I consider moving?

We don’t know what we don’t know, so it really comes down to whether or not there is a significantly better available alternative.

I’ve broken down the key considerations depending on what stage you are in your career, have focused on business services and limited it to the first 7 years for the purpose of this.

As a side note, if you love the work you do but the culture is not right, there is always going to be a firm that completes similar work and can offer you a culture you will thrive in.

0-6 Months

In your first 6 months, we are just trying to work out if we like the nature of the work.

Unless there is something about the culture, the people you work with or you really don’t enjoy the work, you should give it at least 6 months.

The main reason for this is the best job you could get with less than 6 months experience is likely to be the job you have.

6-12 Months

At the 6-12 months mark, we need to start considering more the nature of the work (experience you are gaining), access to training and development and how that could possibly compare to other opportunities.

As a guide, if you are working in business services in an accounting firm in Australia, you can expect as a minimum from most employers:

  • Financial support to complete the CA;
  • Experience working on businesses with revenue between 0-10M;
  • $50-60K.

If the above is not true, you should be trying to see what is available in the market.

If the above is true, then you should only consider moving for a very compelling reason, which would be:

  • Master classes for the CA and a firm which has multiple people completing the CA at the same time;

1- 3 Years Experience

At this stage in your career you should be part way through your CA and if you are not working on businesses over 2M you need to be.

In addition to the above, most firms will offer people the following:

  • Financial support to complete the CA;
  • Experience working on businesses with revenue between 0-10M;
  • Greater client management responsibilities;
  • 60-70K

If the above is not true, you should be trying to see what is available in the market.

If the above is true, then you should only consider moving for a very compelling reason, those would be:

  • Master classes for the CA and a firm which has multiple people completing the CA at the same time;
  • Opportunity to work on larger clients (10M+);

Opportunity to get involved in more advisory, CFO or otherwise.

3-5 Years Experience

At 3-5 years this is when you are going to be in the highest demand within professional services so if you haven’t tested the market yet now is the time to do it.

Most people at this stage in their career will be considering:

  • Move To a Larger Firm/More Complicated Clients;
  • Move to Commerce;

Most firms will offer:

  • Opportunity to work more autonomously and on more advisory projects;
  • Opportunity to manage junior staff;
  • 70-100K.

If you do have aspirations of moving to commerce then you really need to be conscious of the fact that:

  • In an accounting firm, if you have 3-5 years experience, you will be given staff management responsibilities, this is rarely true for people at the same level in commerce.

5-7 Years Experience

Once you get to 5 years of experience, it is important to take some time to consider what you really want to do.

Specifically:

  • Do you want to stay in professional services;
  • Do you want to move to commerce.

If you decide to stay in professional services and have aspirations of becoming a partner or running your own practice you need to be asking yourself:

  • How likely are you to achieve that in your current firm;

If you think it is a real possibility, it is worth having the conversation.

If you think it is unlikely, then it is a good idea to start having a look around even if you love where you work, the main reason being:

  • There are a lot of excellent 3-5 partner firms who want to develop supervisors into partners, this takes time.

If you do decide you want to move to commerce, then now is the time to do it.

The types of roles you should be going for are:

  • Financial Accountant;
  • Management Accountant;
  • Commercial Analyst;
  • Finance Manager.

Just be mindful of the size of business you move into.

Everyone’s personal situation is different so if you are interested in discussing any of the above, please get in contact peter@fphq.com.au.

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