I speak to people every week who want to transition from the Big 4 chartered firms or Financial Accounting teams within the financial services sector into a role that will offer a focus on analysis, budgeting/forecasting and stakeholder engagement. Many people perceive this as a sexier area of finance to move into, but how do you get there and when is the best time to make the transition?
Here are some key factors and questions to consider:
Experience - Is this your first move out of the Big 4 or have you already been working in a Financial Accounting role for a couple of years?
There are plenty of opportunities available for people coming straight from the Big 4 into Financial Analyst roles and it is much easier to make this move when you are newly qualified. If you work in Financial Accounting for a few years first, the options however are more limited. This is due to salary expectations generally being higher and not aligned to the skill set that the client will be hiring and this will ultimately make your move harder to make, so you’ll need to think strategically.
Internal opportunity – Are you able to gain additional experience in this area with your current employer before looking to make an external move?
Even a small amount of exposure to the budgeting and forecasting process could make a difference, so put your hand up for additional responsibilities where possible. Utilise your internal networks and see if there are any opportunities for internal secondments. Even 6 months experience could make the difference moving forward. Build networks with the teams that you would want to work in and create relationships with Managers and Analysts alike. Let them know that you are the person they should hire when they are next recruiting internally so that you immediately spring to mind when the next opportunity comes up.
Personality – Do you love managing relationships with stakeholders, influencing decisions and negotiating?
Some Accountants thrive on the interaction with stakeholders, whereas others prefer to focus on their numbers. Think about your personality traits and if this is an area you really feel that you are suited to. Analytical roles aren’t necessarily for everyone. Think about your strengths and what you can bring to the process of building and developing long term relationships with your stakeholders.
If you would like any advice regarding your career, your next move and how you can become a Financial Analyst, please feel free to contact me. I have in excess of 10 years recruitment experience and work with well known brands within financial services, asset management and insurance.