One for the more mature members! :-)


Okay so were all very focused on making sure that our studies both undergraduate and postgraduate resulted in the ability to be chosen to obtain employment in long-term but how many of us are really considering how happy we will be in the future if we get this elusive job?
This question goes out to all those people who have gone through the system and have been work within the industry for several years. How many of you are truly happy working within the industry? Are you doing the kinds of jobs that you thought you would be when you were studying and if not what changed? If you had your time again what would you do differently? I guess this is my trying to sneakily get some personal tax based on personal experiences!



Do you really think that those of us who are greying at the temples are going to admit to it? We have got to the stage where we want to forget the studies and move in to the reality of business life. By the way the grey hairs arrived during the study process!
I have been through the system and am now an FD in a PLC with a son who is in university next year, so that is why I keep an eye on these forums. He will expect me to cough up to assist in his study life so hearing what is going on is useful.
Now let me see do I regret the choice of career? I think the answer that is twofold. The first part in practice I cannot say that I regret as it was necessary and formative but the audit world does not suit me. It is bound by rules, the computer does the audit, if the percentages are correct and to industry standards then all is hunky dorey. Well that is not for me and I guess for many others. The personal touch has gone and the mixing with clients is out of the window. You now audit a system or a piece of software. No thanks. I am now in manufacturing and that is better and there are no regrets. I am able to deal with real issues, real problems, make decisions that affect peoples’ lives, se others grow and discuss all elements of the business at board meetings. Accountancy has become real and that is vital. I think there are those who like to live in the ivory towers of large accounting organisations but they must be very boring! If I had my time again would I do anything differently? Yes - get out of practice quicker than I did. I left at snail’s pace whereas it should have been as a cheetah.


Whilst I don’t consider myself to be amongst the more mature members of the forum (although maybe that is positive thinking!) I have been partaking in quite a bit of work experience and in fact this very question has arisen a lot with the individuals I worked with. I have been particularly interested in working out whether those who have pursued this type of career have any regrets or whether they have any tips which I can learn from.
The general trend I’m seeing is that while most people understand that they have achieved success based on the decisions they’ve made they are certainly not in exactly the same career they envisaged fresh out of university. A must say however that this is mostly due to the fact that Congress has changed and therefore people have to be flexible and their roles and adapted to deal with this. There also seems to be a growing trend from moving out of account of organisations and more into industry particularly for those that enjoy the practical aspect of the work.
I guess it depends on who you talk to but on the whole flexibility seems to be key and we should expect our careers to change several times during our lifetime!


Now I am one of the mature brigade and an employer also, so I do have some comments to make.
The question of one career path was always the case when I set out but that has changed dramatically over the years. It is I would suggest not seen as career progression to stay in one job all your life. As we know an ACA has to start in practice due to the training contract and that is set in stone. Going back many years the great percentage of these stayed in the profession or went on to become FD’s. Today the vast array of opportunities that exist mean that the profession now accepts people who are not ACA and that has opened up these diverse opportunities for others.
If I can take my own case as an example I started in the profession, then entered commerce as an FC. progressed to an FD and now see my career as a company doctor - or at least I do put a stethoscope on them to so how the pulse is. If on commencing as an accountant I had said to the partner I was articled to to that my career would follow that path he would have suggested I was mad. He was always in practice, was the proud owner of a Roller which was washed every day by the youngest articled clerk, wore morning dress to the office and literally died in situ. Now are we not better off on a meandering career path? We develop ourselves better, we offer more t the people we work with, become more complete people and have a life outside of work. Variety is the spice of life, and we should hold to that.
I employ people who started out from university thinking they wanted this career or that career but have ended up doing the opposite. My logistics director set out to be a lawyer and I believe it was the late lamented Lord Denning who once said that the law was devoid of all logistical thinking.


Well I am sure not doing the job I thought I would. I am now on the board of a PLC as a qualified FCMA and share the financial responsibility with my cohort who is an FCA. Did I think this was my future? Never. I set out in life studying for a divinity degree and thought that I would become an Anglican priest but God and others had a different idea. On finishing the degree the selection board for ministry told me to think if I could do anything else and serve the church as a unpaid minister (NSM). How kind they were. I had accountancy running in my blood as my father and brother were both FDs. I trained as an accountant, which as I have said was not my first idea and now I have a great job and am a minister who takes no money from the church but is able to serve in a fulfilling way.
The change of projected activity has served me well and I do advise people to take time to think about where they are going when they have a degree.