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With so many of ACCA’s UK SMP member firms serving the thousands of SME clients the length and breadth of the country, there is an opportunity here for graduates to not only shape their own careers, but also to shape the development of growing small businesses. Our own research shows that finance professionals play a pivotal role in the growth and development of small businesses. SMEs need qualified finance professionals more than ever, for accessing advice on finance, exports, business planning, pension provision and employment issues. Therefore graduates who work with SMEs can gain a plethora of skills in these areas
—Sarah Hathaway, head of ACCA UK

48 per cent of smaller practices planning to recruit

Graduates interested in a career in finance can play a major role in driving small business growth by pursuing a career in smaller accountancy practices, says global accountancy body ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). This comes after research showed that almost half of small and medium sized accountancy practices (SMPs) were looking to recruit. 

With SMPs traditionally serving small and medium-sized business clients in the UK, ACCA points out that its graduates have a critical role to play in driving the UK’s on-going SME growth. 

Sarah Hathaway, head of ACCA UK, said: 'Graduates are very likely to play a bigger role sooner in their careers in a smaller practice and with the practice’s SME business clients. There’s nothing wrong with starting a career within a large accountancy practice or a major company, but there is sometimes a sense of being a tiny fish in an enormous pond. For graduates who want to be in the thick of it, sometimes working in a smaller practice can lead to a more visible and prominent role early on in their career. 

'With so many of ACCA’s UK SMP member firms serving the thousands of SME clients the length and breadth of the country, there is an opportunity here for graduates to not only shape their own careers, but also to shape the development of growing small businesses. Our own research shows that finance professionals play a pivotal role in the growth and development of small businesses. SMEs need qualified finance professionals more than ever, for accessing advice on finance, exports, business planning, pension provision and employment issues. Therefore graduates who work with SMEs can gain a plethora of skills in these areas. 

'Sometimes, graduates might not even consider looking at small practices as the place to begin their career, but it can be an essential part of their development. Graduates who secure a job in a smaller practice are likely to have a much more hands on role with more responsibility. They will also be able to see how the practice operates more clearly, as well as really get to grips with what makes a growing business succeed.' 

Statistics from BDRC SME Finance Monitor, which were analysed by ACCA, show that in the UK, 17.4% of SMEs with regular management reporting, a formal written business plan and financially trained staff, grew more than 30%. Just 7.5 % of SMEs without this financial expertise and support grew 30%. ACCA believes that the role of an accountant in business is becoming more strategic in nature, and in turn vital to a business’ future. 

ACCA Advantage 

ACCA’s UK members have said they plan to expand their teams, with 48% planning to add between one and four new recruits in the next six months, with most respondents in the ACCA survey consisting of firms with one to six principles. 

ACCA is holding a special, free, online event on 23-24 September 2014 for graduates as part of its ACCA Advantage programme, which aims to help graduates meet with potential employers, many of which attending the event will be smaller accountancy practices. Employers already signed up to offer advice to job seekers include Baker Tilly, Boots, Capita UK, Deloitte, Lloyds, Talk Talk and Zurich, recruiters also have more than 60 jobs to advertise. 

Register now for the ACCA Advantage FREE online event via the 'Related Links' section, left of this article.

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For more information, please contact:

Ray Allger, ACCA UK Newsroom
+ 44 (0)20 7059 5788
+44 (0) 7540 919 819
ray.allger@accaglobal.com

Notes to Editors

  1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 
  2. We support our 170,000 members and 436,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 
  3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.