Key things to consider before taking that new job

You’ve landed the job offer and the salary looks tempting, but is it really the job for you? We met with experts to figure this out.

Look beyond the salary offer

“When accepting a new job, employees should consider more than just salary,” says Lee Owen, Director at recruitment agency, Hays Accountancy & Finance.Take a step back and look at how the role might benefit your career.”

Important considerations might include values which resonate with your own, opportunities to learn new skills, and a company culture that you think you would fit in well with.

Sam Sullivan, Consultant at the Sellick Partnership, advises that candidates seeking their first Finance and Accountancy role need to make sure it’s the right route for them.

How far will you have to travel, and what are the costs involved? What are the perks and benefits attached to the package? Can you work remotely from time to time? All these are important considerations in addition to the actual role and the proposed salary.

Key takeaways:

  • there’s more to a job than salary
  • make sure you’ll have upskilling opportunities to continue growing
  • consider your future career path when choosing a sector to work in
  • think about practicalities like travel time and costs, perks, maternity/paternity leave.

Check your facts

Companies are often guilty of ‘over selling the dream’ to get the best candidates and this can end up jeopardising your career, says Claire Crompton, Director of marketing company, The Audit Lab.

“What’s promised in an interview can be very different when you are working there day-to-day. Take everything with a small pinch of salt, and if you are lucky enough to know an ex or current employee make sure you drill them with questions before accepting a job role.”

Key takeaway: make sure the job matches the sales pitch you got in the interview.

You need to keep growing

“The most in-demand skills are constantly changing with technology, so if you want to keep progressing your career you need to keep your skills up to date,” says Lee Owen, Director at Hays Accountancy & Finance.

“Make sure your next move gives you opportunity to upskill for it to truly benefit your career.”

According to the Hays Salary and Recruiting Trends 2019 guide, only 15% of accountancy and finance staff think career development is important when considering a new role.

Lee believes more of us need to think long-term: “Workers should prioritise working somewhere where lifelong learning is embedded in the culture of the organisation so they can expand their skill set,” he says.

Key takeaway: Lee Owen, director of Hays recruitment agency, urges you to prioritise lifelong learning.

Can they offer you a progression plan?

If you’re moving jobs to progress your career, it’s essential you discuss what opportunities there are with your new employer.

“Many firms we work with have set criteria and a progression plan that they will be able to send you,” says Sam Sullivan, consultant at the Sellick Partnership. “It is also important however to do your own research to form your decision. Look at their company website and sites such as Glassdoor to get a feel of what other employees say about the career opportunities.”

Shishir Khadka, Founder and CEO of Boost Accounting, agrees, advising that you should find out if there will be in-house training or if the employer will support you by sending you on courses to cover your accounting knowledge gap.Are you going to be confined to doing compliance work only in-house or will you have an opportunity to develop your speaking skills to prospects and clients?” he says.

Key takeaway: if you’re looking to progress in your career, discuss your options with your new employer to avoid making a bad decision.

Why do people change jobs?

“Our research shows that the most common reason for accounting and finance staff to move job last year was that their salary was too low (18%), with 40% saying that this would tempt them to move from their current job,” says Lee Owen.

The AAT Salary Survey 2019 shows a clear link between job satisfaction and salary; those who received a pay rise in the past year reported higher levels of job satisfaction and are therefore less likely to leave.

Lee goes on to say: “As well as salary, benefit offerings which align with your needs should be an important consideration for accountancy and finance staff making their next job move, if they want to strike the right work-life balance and feel supported by their workplace.”

Lifelong learning is more important today than it ever has been, he says.

Key takeaway: the most common reason for a job change was low salary in 2018, but be wary of undervaluing the other benefits of your current role.

Before you accept the offer 

  • Prepare a list of questions that you forgot to ask in the interview.
  • Research the company again, now from the view of an employee instead of a prospective employee.
  • Read the online, candid reviews of the employer by former and existing employees.
  • Ask whether they will offer you training, mentoring and a career development plan.
  • How far will you have to travel?
  • Will you have support if you need time off to study or go to college?
  • What are the perks and benefits in addition to base salary?
  • Is the role in an area which really enthuses and excites you?

For more on moving jobs:

Marianne Curphey is an award-winning financial writer and columnist, and author of the book How Money Works. She worked as City Editor at The Guardian, deputy editor of Guardian online, and has worked for The Times, Telegraph and BBC.

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