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Feel stuck in your audit role?

23/05/2018

When I speak with my candidates, about 50% of them are looking for “a way out” of audit.  Why do they want to leave audit compared to a number of candidates who love their role as an auditor and don’t seem to have any urgency in moving out of their specialism?

Instead of listing all the reasons why you’re considering a move away from audit, let’s take a positive approach and discuss what you can do to change your situation.

The first instinctive response would be to leave audit all together. “This isn’t for me!”, you’re screaming on another late night at a client’s site. But maybe think back to why you started your career in audit in the first place? What’s in this role that you really enjoy?

If you can look past your frustration, here’s why it’s worth staying in audit:
  • Salary - simply put, auditors are being paid well.
  • Progression - you usually get a promotion once a year, persevering in a sparse candidate market can enhance this.
  • Further development - building your skills, getting better at the job itself and also working on transferable skills for your future roles (i.e. client management)
  • The role of the auditor is already being influenced by technology, taking the strain of the most mundane tasks and potentially at some point in the future, leaving just the “art” part up to you.

In case you hadn’t already considered it, maybe it’s time to also think about your environment. Is there any chance that it’s not the role or the clients but simply your current environment that’s putting the strain on you? How about a change of scene then?

What you can do to make your work, work?
  • Make a list of all the things that frustrate you with your current situation. Talk to your friends and partner. Is there anything you can change from the inside - speaking to your manager / introducing some new processes and procedures. Or changing a team? Changing the industry you focus on? (How about the movie industry?) If not, be honest with yourself and... 
  • Consider changing firm. You may say “the grass is always greener on the other side”. But think about it. Some of my candidates love their jobs and teams. There must be something better out there then! It never hurts to check what’s available. Once you’re clear on what you’re after, it’s easier to actually make it happen. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss your potential options.
  • If you’re struggling with work-life balance, you may benefit from moving out of the City. You will save loads of time on the commute, and live at a slightly slower pace. This may have a tremendously positive effect on you and your stress levels! No need to worry about your salary though. Contrary to common beliefs, the packages can be comparable to the ones in London (not to mention how much you’ll be saving on your rent and travel costs!). Take a look at some vacancies I’m working on currently and see which look tempting.
  • Find a role that offers a broader scope of responsibilities. It’s more common in smaller firms that have these roles in places. It may be 60/40 audit and accounts, sometimes audit and tax. You may think of that position as a stepping stone to grow your way out of audit in the long term, while still building up on your valuable previous experience. See this Tunbridge Wells vacancy as an example. 

All in all, my main advice is to be honest with yourself and try a proactive approach to change your situation rather than specialism. As some people claim, we spend ⅓ of our lives at work (I bet it probably feels like a lot more at times!) so it’s worth making sure that you’re enjoying it as much as possible while you’re working towards achieving your potential, in the environment that supports you best.

Link to the author's profile: Alex Baxter Smith.

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