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Size Isn’t Everything

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As a newly-qualified accountant, there are a number of options open to you with your skills much sought after by employers. We recently looked at the dilemma of choosing industry or practice and the roles involved, but it’s equally important to consider the type of organisation you want to work for should you be interested in a career taking a commercial route.

There are a number of pros and cons to consider when faced with the options of SME’s, fast-track businesses or large corporates as employers. You may have the same job title and be doing the same work, but the contrasting working environments and structures at businesses of different sizes and styles means your career path could be very different at each.


At multinationals or very large companies, there will be a defined, steady career path. Blue-chip companies understandably have better resources and so may well offer structured mentoring programmes, higher compensation and better benefits. Your role and development should be clearly laid out, but on the flip side, your progress could be slow. While the finance function will give you some access to senior management,  many of those executives will be longstanding senior figures who could be in place for some time, limiting your opportunities. That said, an international firm could provide the chance to travel or even work abroad at some point while you are progressing, as well as put an impressive name on your CV.


By comparison, a smaller business will have a more entrepreneurial feel where you will have genuine access to senior management. While mentoring and development may not be as clearly defined as in a corporate environment, the hands-on nature of working alongside more senior staff should have the same positive impact. The finance function will also be at the influential heart of the business, giving you a more rounded view of the whole company and tangible results of your own input. If you’re a proactive, ambitious employee who doesn’t want to wait as long, then SME’s typically offer an accelerated career path. However, one negative can be that moving sideways into a large corporate later can be difficult.

Fast Track

Similar to the environment within an SME, fast track companies are likely to be smaller and often in their infancy of terms of growth, making your role in the finance function crucial. They also offer a further dynamic to consider in that the business should go through accelerated change and growth, with your help, so you will be afforded real-time insight and a hands-on role in that process. Due to its potential, the company may also offer equity as one of its benefits, which can be an attractive option.

If you need any advice on potential employers, or are looking for a new role in commerce, call us today.