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It’s not surprising that I speak with a lot of people from Big 4 and mid-tier accounting firms wanting to move into industry. Working in large accounting firms can be tough, with the long hours and demanding clients. COVID caused many people to re-evaluate their priorities, and a lot of candidates are now looking to move to industry to try something new and achieve a better work-life balance.
The reality of the Big Four
The glamour and prestige associated with Big 4 firms are often the reason young and ambitious professionals flock to the Big 4, especially when they’re fresh out of university. This is understandable given how many doors a career in the Big 4 can open for your career. However, what candidates often don’t realise is how challenging the Big 4 environment can be, especially from a work-life balance perspective.
Your first move to industry
A move to industry can be a way to achieve a better work-life balance. However, it's important to note that your first move to industry will be a positive one - just like professional services firms, not all industry employers foster good culture. Jumping at the first industry opportunity presented to you may lead to a disappointing experience and before long, you’ll be looking for your next move.
How to go about making your first move into industry
In preparing for your first move, you should highlight your transferable skills and experience on your resume. If you’re applying for a role directly with an employer, the person running the recruitment process (e.g., Talent Manager) may not always be clear on how your experience can be translated to an industry role. I think it’s a great idea to chat with multiple recruiters and hiring managers (ask lots of questions!) and most importantly, identify and understand what role is best suited to your skillset and your broader career goals.
Leverage your resources
Gather as much industry intel as possible by reaching out to industry finance leaders via LinkedIn or reach out to your alumni networks. Ask a senior finance leader to be your mentor. These resources can provide valuable insights and connections for making your first move into industry and also for your future moves.
Whilst moving into industry is an exciting next step for your career, it's important to approach it strategically and with a clear understanding of what you want out of your career. By taking the time to properly explore different possibilities and leveraging your networks, you can make a successful transition and achieve the work-life balance we all strive for.
Moving out of a Big 4 environment and into industry can be a great opportunity to achieve a better work-life balance.
Ensure you highlight your transferable skills and experience on your resume, so employers understand why you are a good fit for the role.
Chat with multiple recruiters and hiring managers to help you identify and understand what role is best suited to your skillset and your broader career goals. Ask lots of questions!
Leverage your networks for industry intel.
Not all companies are created equally - jumping at the first opportunity without considering what's right for you is a mistake.
Watch our Hot tips & insights video series discussing these points, in our video library.
Please reach out to me for senior finance opportunities in Melbourne!
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