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Career doctor

Accountancy  Magazine

I am an ACCA currently working in a large plc and I am keen to move to an SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) where I can have a more hands-on role. What other benefits will I find in moving to an SME and how easy is the transition?

Teresa Thorrington-Allen, National Director at Hays Senior Finance, comments:

There are benefits to both but it is really about what you want from the role. When you work for a plc the scope of your role can be limited and many professionals find that there is a lot of red tape to deal with. However, working for a larger, high-profile company can expand your skill set, looks great on your CV, and often opens up more opportunities for progression.

At an SME you will find that your role is significantly more hands-on and parts of the job, which you may previously have left with other employees to deal with in a plc, will now fall under your remit. Typically, the role will offer more diversity and you could become involved in all aspects of the business such as IT, health & safety, marketing and HR. It is easier to see the impact of your decisions and many people gain more job satisfaction as a result. Working at an SME is an excellent way of improving your communication skills; you will need to build strong relationships with other parts of the business and must be comfortable liaising with suppliers, customers and financiers.

The transition is usually fairly straightforward. With a strong background at a large plc you will be sought after by an SME for your market knowledge, initiative and ideas. However, there will be those employers who need convincing of your ability to be hands-on when required; remember to demonstrate the skills you acquired in your previous role which are relevant to your new position at a smaller sized firm. It is important to assure a potential employer of the reasons behind your move and alleviate any concerns they might have about the transition. A future employer will want to be confident that you are interested in committing to the company and want to make your mark on the business.