Small Accountancy practices. Advice needed.

#1

I’m coming to the end of my 2nd year at University and I’m starting to think about where I’d like to work after I graduate. I intend to apply to Pwc and some other top 10 Accountanct firms; however I think it would be prudent to have some contingency plans.

With that in mind I have begun compiling a list of all small Accountancy practices within a 10 mile radius of where I live, and theres 5. Some of which offer graduate schemes.

Getting to my question now:

I would like to know about peoples experiences within small accountancy practices, and what their salaries are like pre qualification and post. And also whats a realistic avergae maximum an accountant qualifying through a small accountancy practice could earn in the future.

My dream is to someday be on a 100k a year job and if anyone could offer any advice on some type of career route via starting off at a small accountancy practice I would be very greatful. I have a few friends who are training to be accountants too, and in 10 years we would like to make our own practice, but this may turn out just to be a pipe dream.

Any advice or experiences would be much appreciated!

Cheers

#2

I cannot comment on the salary other than to say it will be a lot less. I do know many people who started off “life” with small local firms and upon qualifying moved to big 4 etc. One friend is now CEO of a small plc earning circa £450k.
Don’t write off small firms. You will not be auditing big FTSE companies but you will learn a lot of accountancy, accounts preparation and probably get exposure to all disciplines eg audit, tax , assisting with accounts systems maybe even some corporate finance if they are helping clients to sell, expand etc.
You need to look into what they are going to offer you for your ACA training. For sure the big 4 make sure you get good training and certainly have their finger on the pulse for quality control over the delivery of training since they are putting hundreds of students through Kaplan, BPP etc.
An accountant qualified througha small firm should be able to sign up with any accountancy recruiter and command the going salary for newly qualifieds. However, yes, there will be some employers who are looking for big 4 backgrounds but not always.
Hope this helps.