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Reasons to Consider an Accountancy Career Sidestep

Would an accountancy side step be right for you?

It’s been a year of COVID. For accountancy leaders and employees alike. And we’ve all learned such a lot and the makeup of successful accountancy teams has changed so much. It’s clear to all of us in practice now, that the most integral skill an accountant can have is flexibility… and we’re not referring to lunch break yoga!

And the need for flexibility is showcased daily in the recruitment sector. It doesn’t happen often, but we occasionally meet accountants who feel that their careers have stalled; they’re not getting the job offers they’d like or they’re not making the headway internally towards the promotions they might deserve. And quite often a lack of flexibility is to blame.

What does that mean practically? Well when we delve deeper into the reasons why this might be happening, an absence of transferable skills and a broad range of experience is the common denominator. Being a brilliant accountant and attracting the very best roles the market has to offer is no longer a case of showcasing your qualifications and dazzling ability for numbers. Employers want to see that you’ll bring something new and innovative to the table and support them in providing great quality output but also in procuring and retaining a wide range of clients.

So if you’re either lacking the confidence to take the next step to promotion, or you’re applying for those jobs a level up but feel like you’re being met by a brick wall, a side step could be a brilliant move.

Why side step in your accountancy career?

Because the world is evolving. And so too is the traditional journey up the professional ladder. Careers for accountants are no longer linear and one well placed move to the side now (where you work with a more diverse client base and mix up your skill set or focus on a niche area of the job)  could mean you skip a rung and head up two spaces in a year’s time!

Consider a lateral move as an investment of your time. The months and years you might spend gaining more experience and complimentary skills mean that next time you apply for that stretch post, you’re sure to win it. You’ll win it because you have more to showcase on your CV but also because you’ll be in a better, more confident headspace.

They say a change is ad good as a holiday but rather than putting your feet up in a side step role, you could actually find yourself challenged and notice that your excitement for the role is reignited. Creating new contacts, bonding in a new team and learning new processes can trigger a sense of determination and satisfaction that you may not have experienced for a while and this will make you happier at work and at home.

What might an accountancy side step look like?

If you feel you have more than enough skills and experience to be in a winning position to negotiate a side step in accountancy then make sure you focus on what else you might get out of it. It’s still possible to negotiate a better salary than the one you’re on today and having a brilliant recruiter in your corner will help make that happen.

Also take the time to look at what additional skills you might pick up with your move. If you’ve been working for a small firm for some time consider applying for roles at the same level but with a larger firm. If you’ve always focused on accounts perhaps look for a post with more of an audit remit to widen your experience.

We’d wholeheartedly recommend interim posts as a great way to explore a side step in accountancy. In fact a series of short term positions might boost your CV three or four fold as your list of demonstrable work experiences grows with each post. You’ll also be showcasing that key quality that we mentioned at the start of this article; flexibility. In line with this, interim staff earn a considerably more competitive salary compared to permanent accountants. Plus you have flexibility to take a few well deserved holidays in between contracts!

“At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’ve supported several candidates who weren’t being shortlisted for the promotional roles they felt they deserved and we helped them to secure interim or side step roles, more often than not with a significant salary increase. Fast forward a year or two and those same candidates have won the roles they’d initially been seeking. In fact sometimes they’ve leapt straight over that level and parachuted in to some great practices at senior leadership level. They have no regrets!”

Garry Howling, MD

A side step might feel like a gamble, but remember at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re more than just accountancy recruiters, we’re career counsellors too. So pick up the phone for a confidential chat today and we’ll give you our honest opinion on the direction we think you should be headed. And we’ll help you reach your final destination; even if there’s a few changes to the route along the way.




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