Industry vs Practice Accounting: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're a qualified accountant, or interested in getting started in the sector, you're probably wondering whether to work in industry or practice. Both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.

In this article, we'll discuss the key differences between industry and practice accounting, the benefits of each, and how to make the switch if you decide that a change is right for you.

What is working in Industry?

Industry accounting is when you work directly for a company, managing their finances and accounting needs. This could be in any sector, from retail to manufacturing to healthcare.

In an industry role, you'll be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Preparing financial statements.

  • Managing budgets and forecasts.

  • Conducting financial analysis.

  • Providing advice to management on financial matters.

  • Working with other departments to ensure that the company's financial goals are met.

Benefits of industry

  • Variety: Industry accountants have the opportunity to work in a wide range of industries and sectors, so there's something for everyone.

  • Stability: Industry roles are generally more stable than practice roles, as you're working for a single company.

  • Career progression: There are many opportunities for career progression in industry, and you can often move into more senior roles relatively quickly.

  • Work-life balance: Industry accountants typically have better work-life balance than practice accountants, as they don't have to deal with the same level of pressure and deadlines.

What is working in practice?

Practice accounting is when you work for an accounting firm, providing accounting and auditing services to clients. This could include businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to large multinationals.

In a practice role, you'll be responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Conducting audits.

  • Preparing tax returns.

  • Providing accounting and advisory services to clients.

  • Keeping up to date with the latest accounting and tax legislation.

Benefits of practice

  • Exposure: Practice accountants have the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients, gaining exposure to different industries and business models.

  • Challenge: Practice accounting can be challenging and rewarding, as you'll be working on complex projects and solving problems for your clients.

  • Learning and development: Practice accountants have access to excellent learning and development opportunities, as accounting firms invest heavily in their staff.

  • Earnings potential: Practice accountants can earn very good salaries, particularly if they progress to partner level.

Salary differences

There is generally a small difference in salary between industry and practice accountants, with industry accountants typically earning slightly more. However, this can vary depending on the specific role, company size, and location. According to the 2023 Salary Survey by AAT, non-practice roles across both private and public sector pay approximately £4000 more on average for qualified accountants. The report also shows that average salaries have increased by roughly 10% accross the board since 2021, making now a great time to consider a move.

Accountancy documents on a desk with a calculator, being used by an accountant

Should I change?

The decision of whether to swap from industry to practice, or vice versa, is a personal one. There are pros and cons to both types of roles, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual skills, interests, and career goals.

If you are looking for a more predictable work schedule and better work-life balance, then industry may be a good choice for you. If you are interested in gaining expertise in a particular industry or advancing to a senior management role, then industry may also be a good option.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a greater variety of work, the opportunity to work with a variety of industries, or the potential to earn higher earnings, then practice may be a better fit. If you are also interested in starting your own business, then practice may be the only way to go.

How to move

When you're thinking about making the switch from industry to practice (or vice versa), there are a few things you can do to make the process easier:

  • Network: Get to know people who work in the area you're interested in. This could be by attending industry events or connecting with relevant people on LinkedIn.

  • Update your CV and cover letter: Tailor your CV and cover letter to the specific roles you're applying for. Be sure to highlight your relevant skills and experience.

  • Prepare for interviews: Practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to talk about your skills and experience in detail.

  • Talk to a recruitment agency like Select Recruitment Specialists: We can help you find jobs in your desired field and give you advice on how to make the transition.

We have a team of experienced recruiters who specialize in the accounting industry, and we can help you find the right job for your skills and experience. We can also give you advice on how to write a strong CV, prepare for interviews, and negotiate salary.

Final Thoughts

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between industry and practice accounting. It's important to weigh up the pros and cons of each and decide which is the best fit for you.

When you're looking for a change to your working situation, don't hesitate to reach out to the team at Select Recruitment Specialists. We have a wide range of industry and practice accounting jobs available, and we can help you find the perfect role for your skills and experience.

Switching jobs can be a great way to boost your career and make a positive change to your working life. When you're ready to take the next step, reach out to our team today and we'll be happy to help.

Select Recruitment Specialists

At Select Recruitment Specialists, we have a team of experienced recruiters who can help you find the right accounting job, whether you're interested in working in industry or practice. We have a wide range of clients in a variety of industries, so we're sure to find the perfect job for you. Check out our latest accountancy and finance jobs. Alternatively, send us your CVand one of our expert consultants will be in touch.

Contact us

If you're interested in learning more about accounting jobs in industry or practice, then get the answers you need by contacting us today. We're happy to answer your questions and help you find the perfect job for your career goals.