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Public Sector Audit to Consultancy

#1 Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
13/03/2008 12:37


Hi Guys,

I work for a certain public sector organisation that does a combination of financial audit and performance reports on central government. In a few months a I will be a qualified chartered accountant.

Just over half of my workload is financial audit, with the rest of the time spent looking at the efficiency and effectiveness of various aspects of central government, including organisational performance.

I have worked on a few projects with private consultancy forms, commissioned to do work for us.

I was wondering how easy it would be for me to move to a consultancy firm, and which firms would be best?

p.s. pleas excuse my ignorance, I know little about the consultancy industry, but find the work fascinating.

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#2 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
13/03/2008 14:48

Tez to Rasputin (#1)

The main issue is what transferable skills you have. Being an accountant/auditor, I presume you have financial and anlytical skilss, which can help as a consultant, but are not the be all and end all. You have to remember that if the client wanted someone with that level of financial skills then they would just go get an accountant.

secondly, you work in the public sector, where objectives can be very different to when dealing with private sector clients.

You could always try consultancy firms that have a strong public sector client base like PA.

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#3 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
13/03/2008 15:01

no worries to Tez (#2)

If you a qualified accountant from the NAO you'll get snapped up by one of the public sector practices at any of the decent consulting firms. If you go to flexibility one, where you can build a network outside of the Public Sector practice you can then look to expand the kind of work you do.

Bear in mind, even McKinsey does a lot of work in the public sector so if you've got the right skills and background there are plenty of opportunities.

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#4 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
14/03/2008 09:28

Rasputin to no worries (#3)

Thanks guys, that sounds quite promising.

Ideally I'd like to work with private sector clients, as I've already done the public sector thing. However, if to get into a consultancy firm means I have to do a mix of private as well as public sector then I'd be happy with this.

Tez, from what your saying there may be a risk that I'm already too specialised, even though I have yet to qualify (will do in a few months). I feel that although auditing is mainly finance based there are broad similarities to consultancy. We look at all aspects of risk both internal and external and how it affects the organisation, and also suggest ways of improving processes to make them more efficient. We are constantly on the move, having to deal with multiple clients, often having to relay bad news in a diplomatic manner.

Thanks for the pointers regarding PA and McKinsey, if anyone knows of other consultancies where clients are public as well as private sector It's be much appreciated.


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#5 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
14/03/2008 10:41

Casio to Rasputin (#4)

Interesting responses. I'm currently holding audit offers from a similar govt body as Rasputin and a big four professional services firm. I am still hoping to secure a consultancy offer... a couple of final interviews pending.

Are you guys saying govt audit would be a better route in to consultancy than big four? Both result in being chartered but I assumed the brand name would be better.

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#6 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
14/03/2008 11:31

go for big 4 to Casio (#5)

I would strongly recommend doing you chartered accountancy training at a big 4. NAO might have moved on from CIPFA but the public sector still does not account for things on a commercial basis. An ACA from a big 4 firm has loads of potential exit routes: IB, consulting, PE, Industry...

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#7 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
14/03/2008 11:56

Rasputin to go for big 4 (#6)

Having almost completed the ACA myself, and also having friends at pwc, kpmg and deloitte, I’m in a very good position to make comment on potential prospects after qualification. Being extremely fair, I’d say nao would only disadvantage your post qualification options (for accountancy roles) if you wanted a position in industry (and then only very slightly). I’ve seen, and personally know many people whi have left nao and gone on to a number of covetable positions. Two of my colleagues started with UBS just last month, and another man investments (just to name a few).

Depending on what your post qualification ambitions are, nao could even be a better prospect. For example if you’ve been auditing treasury, and looking into governments bonds, and debt management (and now northern rock), this is unique experience that you can bring to an IB. If you want to go into tax, having HMRC as one of your clients also helps. The other positive is that you get plenty of support whilst studying, and you rarely work longer than 8:30-6, and never work weekends.

I’m not sure about the prospects of going into consultancy, but that’s what I’m hoping to find out. However, I did just find an article from the guardian which says that the government is the private consulting sector’s largest client.

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#8 RE: Public Sector Audit to Consultancy
14/03/2008 14:03

Tez to deleted (#0)

Private sector/Big for over public sector; all day, every day, any day.

If government are so good, why can't hey produce the results in house. Why do they have to pay consultants so much to solve problems they should be sorting out themselves.

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