There are many benefits of working in one of the regional offices of the Big 4. You will work with high-performing teams, a range of diverse clients and will gain the same professional qualifications and experience as someone in the same service line in London. Here at Pro-Tax, we work closely with the regional offices of the Big 4 and our regional tax recruitment experts have provided key insights into the 5 key benefits of working in the regions.
1. Broad scope of work
Working in a regional office for one of the Big 4 can offer a broad scope of work. This is not to say that the quality of work will do down outside of the London offices - you will still work with massive clients but your scope of work is likely to be broader and you can expect to cover more aspects of tax, enabling you to build a broad and diverse portfolio.
However, specialist tax teams are now pushing out into the regions as opposed to simply staying within London. M&A teams, for example, are building out in regional offices including Reading and Cambridge, so if you are looking for experience in certain niche areas of tax this can also be found in some regional offices. Not only this but working at a smaller regional office will give you the chance to work directly with more senior members of the team. This, in turn, means you will learn a lot and gain valuable experience that you may not have had to chance to experience in a London office.
2. Work-life balance
Working in a regional office can offer a better work-life balance in some respects. You may find you have better working hours, and avoiding a 2-hour commute in and out of London will cut down your working day. Regional offices offer good car allowances and cutting out the London commute will also save you money, as will the lower cost of living outside of London. It is estimated that in areas outside of London the price of living costs up to 60% less - avoiding the high costs of London living can provide opportunities to get onto the property ladder and invest earlier on in your career.
Regional offices also tend to offer a more relaxed culture in comparison to the London offices of the Big 4. They often have flexible and agile working benefits, and opportunities for dress-down or ‘dress for your diary’ policies, all of which contribute towards a better work-life balance.
3. Clear scope for progression
Although there are more and more people choosing to work outside of London, the capital is still one of the top destinations for tax professionals seeking work. There are so many people in the London offices for the Big 4, which inevitably means more competition. In the regional offices, because teams tend to be smaller and less established than the larger London offices there are fewer people competing which therefore means a clearer scope for progression. There are still ample opportunities for promotion and the chance to build up a team in the region, but you most likely won’t find yourself in a situation where you are competing against ten other Managers for the Senior Manager position!
There is sometimes a perception that London is the ‘only place to be’ to get the experience to succeed in tax, but in reality, this could not be further from the truth. Yes, working in a London office does come with many positives when it comes to building up your experience, but so does working in the regions.
Many of the large companies coming over from the US place themselves outside of the M25 - Cambridge, for example, is the base for many large tech companies. This is due to the fact that there is more space, it is not as expensive and it is still incredibly easy to commute into London. This, in turn, means that working in the regional office of a Big 4 firm comes with exposure to these large companies and there is a continuous work-flow coming to the regional practices. One of the Big 4 has estimated that two-thirds of their clients are served by regional offices - you will have a lot of contact with these clients and gain more responsibility which will only benefit your career.
5. Help the regions grow
By moving to a regional office you’ll be using your knowledge and skills to improve towns and cities across the UK and grow communities of industry experts outside of London. You’ll be aiding clients nearby in growing and expanding their business, and business development is a large part of working in the regions. There is only so much expansion the London offices can achieve in terms of capacity, and you will play a big part in helping your regional office grow and expand.