'I used to be an accountant, but ...'

You may be professionally qualified, but soon disillusionment sets in - then your eyes are opened to another, lucrative world. Roger Trapp reports

Many people train in accountancy with no intention of making a career of it. In the words of Terry Benson, chief executive of recruitment consultants Michael Page, they see it as the best professional training on offer. As soon as they qualify they go to people like him, looking to do something else.

Others take rather longer to make the move. Andrea Woodhead, for instance, worked with a number of companies after training as a certified accountant in Birmingham. While working as an accountant in the sales and marketing department of onefirm, her eyes were opened to another world, she says. "I became more and more disillusioned with accountancy. I didn't believe it was the right career for me."

As a result, she handed in her notice without having a job to go to and went to see the recruiting consultants Accountancy Personnel, whom she had come to know through her previous job moves. When she said that she enjoyed the sales and marketing environment, the manager asked if she had ever considered going into consulting.

She joined the Worcester office in February 1994 and, although she was initially concerned about being a sales person after training as an accountant, she now wishes she had made the move years ago.

Mr Benson is one of many people who did. He points out that just about everybody at his company - including Lord Wakeham, the recently appointed chairman - is a qualified accountant.

Nor is his company unique.Most companies that recruit people for financial positions in a specialised manner seek to employ accountants as consultants, for the obvious reason that they are more likely to have an empathy with the candidate and be able to convince the client company that they know the issues involved.

Robert Walters Associates, for instance, tends to seek its consultants from the sectors they will be serving. It also has a policy of not recruiting from other consultancies. Jeremy Tipper, manager of the banking operations division, joined the company after three years in the banking and finance sector. This in turn came after a degree in the subject.

"It makes a lot of sense to have a lot of accountants," he says. "An understanding of your market leads to greater credibility."

But not just any accountant will do. According to Mr Benson, successful candidates will be "reasonably commercially aware, ambitious, probably not interested in working nine to five and probably more money-motivated than the rest of their peer group". In short, he adds, possessing all the attributes that US companies tend to talk about but often do not deliver.

As Ms Woodhead attests, the hours can be long - and not just at certain times of the year as is common with, say, auditors. "You've got to enjoy doing it because it's hard work," she says.

Which is why, adds Mr Benson, recruitment consultants tend to be paid that little bit better.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: HR Benefits Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

    Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

    £30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

    Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

    £250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

    Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

    £230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

    Day In a Page

    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower