Trainee Accountants Seeking Roles With Smaller Firms

Trainee accountants across the UK are shunning the Big Four accountancy firms in favour of working for smaller practices, new research has revealed.

A survey conducted by recruitment firm Marks Sattin found that many trainee accountants believe that small to medium-size companies will provide them with wider experience and more freedom early in their career .

Of the 450 UK accountants surveyed, just 40 per cent of those with less than three years’ experience said it was important to work for a big firm, compared to an average of 67 per cent for all respondents.

The survey also showed that newly qualified accountants are more willing to work longer hours than more those with more experience.

Laura Wilson, associate director of the professional services division at Marks Sattin, said: “We are entering a new era in financial services CV building, in which candidates want to sell themselves not by reeling off lists of FTSE 100 clients, but on their experience on smaller accounts providing higher levels of responsibility.”

She added: “Whether it’s true or not, candidates think they’ll be doing work that is more involved at an early stage in their careers by joining a smaller firm.”

“The perception is counting against the Big Four because candidates think that smaller firms offer more variety and more autonomy – and candidates are increasingly willing to sacrifice exposure to the FTSE 100 to get it.”

Jack Easton, recruitment partner at UHY Hacker Young, the UK’s 18th biggestaccountancy firm, said the company’s younger recruits are always interested in the variety of work offered by medium-sized firms, such as “the opportunity to work with lots of businesses that differ in scale, profile and sector”.