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Hate audit. Shall I start again?

 
#1 Hate audit. Shall I start again?
14/01/2014 12:55

KeenBeans1450

I joined audit three years ago, Big Four London.

At the time, it made sense. Horrible recession and I didn't want to join somewhere more exciting, only to be made redundant or something a few months later because there was no work.

Atleast with audit + ACA I could ride out the economic storm and then switch to something else.

Three years in, and I really hate it. I know people say that all that time, but I am really not suited for the Audit/Finance career track. Colleagues (and clients) tell me that my skills are wasted in audit.

I only have one exam left then I have finished the ACA. I am very tempted to just start again by applying for a consulting graduate scheme role. If I start in October 2014, I would only be 24, so still very young.

Is it worth starting again? I know I have no desire to be a Finance Director, or work in any Finance department. And because I am still young I feel it is better to start from scratch when I still have the opportunity to do so, without any commitments tying me down.

Is this a foolish move??

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#2 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
14/01/2014 13:01

Dan! Dan! Dan! to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Colleagues (and clients) tell me that my skills are wasted in audit.

Which skills exactly?

The unparralleled fluffiness you manage to achieve in your soufflés?

Your ability to nail the low notes in Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World'?

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#3 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
14/01/2014 14:48

a07 to Dan! Dan! Dan! (#2)

Finish your ACA then consider a career change.

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#4 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
14/01/2014 23:04

MikeTC to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

What precisely is it that you hate about audit? Think hard about that, because I imagine it can be similar in many ways to consulting (or most other service based roles). If it's something like the mundane work or the lack of innovation - fair enough. If it's your hatred of shitty clients and unrealistic deadlines - perhaps consider something entirely different.

Anyway, 50%+ of people in audit will want to move straight after qualification and not all will want finance roles. Don't feel pigeon-holed by it, try and use it to your advantage!

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#5 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
15/01/2014 09:08

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to MikeTC (#4)

Serious question - what makes a client a "shitty" one?

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#6 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
15/01/2014 10:36

marsday to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

Welcome to the world of work.

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#7 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
15/01/2014 11:21

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#6)

LOL mars, so true... I find honest comments like that incredibly motivational... it makes me feel less like I'm alone in thinking "Has it come to this?" :)

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#8 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
15/01/2014 23:54

MikeTC to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

Serious question - what makes a client a "shitty" one?

I sense that you are being rather flippant with the word "serious".

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#9 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
16/01/2014 08:00

Freezing to a07 (#3)

Agree with staying until you have finished your final exam.

I have a few friends that work in Audit and it seems to appeal to a specific personality type (don't ask which!) so I can see that if you don't have that mindset it wouldn't be the best.

I would focus on the transferable skills you have which you would take to another role....that is at least a starting point to see what other pathways are there. If none appeal...might mean you need to start afresh.

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#10 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
16/01/2014 09:14

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to MikeTC (#8)

Serious question - what makes a client a "shitty" one?

I sense that you are being rather flippant with the word "serious".

No, it's a genuine question... :) I have my own preconceived notions of the types of clients I can't stand, but I'd be interested to hear other people's perspectives too...

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#11 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
17/01/2014 06:25

finance money to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

KeanBeans,

I have a similar background (Big4, ACA) and moved out.

I don't think you're questioning it, but finish your ACA. If you want to do consulting, it will add credibility. It is still regarded as the backbone of British finance, and respected beyond its financial bias.

Secondly, a reality check. Audit is dull, soul destroying and makes you feel unappreciated like few other professions. This doesn't necessarily mean you won't enjoy other finance roles in industry/consultancy. When in audit, they make you believe you're interacting with the main players in the finance department of the company and that what everyone cares about are those silly little reconciliations the FC's mignons do. This is not the case (aside from the round of golf the audit partner and CFO have).

I joined a fast growing company in a sector i liked (fundamental point), there was no structure, no templates, nothing, no brain-dulling hoops, doing a mix of new venture analysis, corporate finance and financial projections for the company strategy. I loved the randomness and freedom, but also enjoyed the rigour of Finance whilst expecting to hate it. I discovered that I'd learnt a lot from the previous 3 years (i thought they'd been a waste of time).

You're also under selling yourself. You wouldn't need to start from a grad scheme, find something lateral that will appreciate the finance background. If you go back to a grad scheme in a wishy washy role, you will have a lot of years ahead of bull'hitting (which you'll hate), until you develop a niche / sector knowledge. Lastly, there's a good chance you'll not like the grad scheme (roll your memory back to your first day at your current place and your peers)?!

I did around 15 interview for top consultancies straight out of uni, but got offered one role in TS. An accountant, I'd failed. I came round to it, I only liked the ACA a year after I finished it, not because I will ever be a bean counter but because of the mindset it leaves in the back of your head.

I'll likely move onto something even less finance related over time (5yrs in industry now), but I don't for one sec regret having done this path.

Hope that helps

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#12 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
17/01/2014 10:35

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to finance money (#11)

Wise advice

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#13 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
25/01/2014 23:36

dlong to KeenBeans1450 (#1)

I'm at a Big 4 firm in London, and loads of the consultants completed their ACA in audit and then applied to move across to consulting once they'd finished. A few have said it took 6 months of networking, planning and so on. If yours doesn't work like that, then one of the others will. ACA seems to be a massive asset for a consultant.

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#14 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
29/01/2014 12:53

KeenBeans1450 to dlong (#13)

Thanks so much for all the advice. Genuinely.

I hadn't logged on to this forum after my initial post because I thought my thread would just be dismissed as someone having a rant, but it's nice to see some people offered lots of advice.

I will admit to feeling so very desperate to leave audit, so some of this has given me ideas or strengthened existing ones I had in terms of making that move...

Thanks

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#15 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
29/01/2014 13:02

marsday to KeenBeans1450 (#14)

Keep this in your mind KeenBeans - the ACA is probably the most useful business qualification you can achieve - more so than an MBA.

Forget the audit horror - that will be a matter of history soon enough, you'll leave Audit with the ACA and after that you will be astonished at the opportunities which open up for you.

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#16 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
29/01/2014 15:58

KeenBeans1450 to marsday (#15)

Genuine question: if someone is not interested in becoming a Financial Controller, or Finance Director, or anything down that Finance route, is the ACA worth that much?

I guess it sends a good signal to the market, having the ACA, but does it have that value if you don't want to go down the Finance career stream?

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#17 RE: Hate audit. Shall I start again?
29/01/2014 16:07

marsday to KeenBeans1450 (#16)

Yes it remains a premier qualification regardless of whether you want to pursue a financial management position.

Quite a few management consultants hold the ACA for example. As do specialists in areas like restructuring and turnaround (even where you might be focusing directly on operational issues). As CEO of a start up, let along a major enterprise, having the ACA under your belt would not only ensure you could see both financial and commercial aspects, but would give assurance to potential investors that you knew how to handle your fiscal responsibilities. And that's before you add in the intellectual rigour, proven commitment to complete an arduous qualification etc etc etc.

Stop thinking what the ACA will do for you - ask yourself what you will do with the ACA.

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