Working in Audit and Accounts in a Reading-based accountancy practice can offer many benefits. While large London firms are often top of the list for finance professionals considering a career move, there are many ways in which working more locally for a regional accountancy firm can offer the same, if not better, benefits as a large firm in the city.
Type of Work & Responsibility:
With big-city firms, you will often find that your clients are scattered across the UK or even internationally. So, if you are looking for travel and overnight stays with your role you would be well-suited to working in the city. However, if this is not at the top of your list, working in audit in a local practice means you will work with local clients. Firms in the Top 10, Top 20, Top 50 and Big 4 have offices in Reading, so you still get the chance to work with big clients on important and market-leading work, just more locally.
Working Hours & Work-Life Balance:
Accountancy firms based in Reading tend to have two types of core hours, either 9-5 or 8-4, and the hours are very flexible. Rather than being based in the city where your hours can be based on client pressures, you will often find that working outside of the city of London means not working as late and fewer client pressures that affect your day-to-day working hours.
Working close to home means you cut the London commute! You will save the time spent travelling to and from the city, which in turn allows for a better work-life balance as you have more time to spend on your personal life outside of work. The average cost of a monthly travelcard is around 58% lower in Reading compared to London, meaning that you will not only save lots of time on your commute, but also money.
A good work-life balance comes with the flexibility of working for a local practice, as opposed to a corporate city firm that might not be able to offer the same degree of flexible or agile working. Working in a regional practice might be well-suited to people with other commitments such as part-time carers or return-to-work parents. A role in a local firm can be perfect when it comes to arranging your work schedule around responsibilities like school runs, with many practices offering on-site parking to make it easier for parents. Local accountancy firms can offer flexible working arrangements, with perhaps 3 or 4 days in the office alongside agile working from home, or a working pattern that suits your personal situation.
Salary & Benefits:
On top of saving the monthly cost of the commute into London, audit and finance roles based in Reading accountancy firms offer similar salaries to those in the city and bonuses often match those offered in London firms. As well as this, rent in Reading is typically 30-40% lower compared to London, and buying property can be over 50% cheaper than London, meaning your money can go further.
When it comes to benefits, packages are largely dependent on the sector and business. Reading-based accountancy firms typically offer excellent policies regarding Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) which is not quite as common in city firms. In general, local practices offer excellent benefits which match those offered in London-based firms, including good study support and registered trainers who can train you within your practice, high pensions, medical care, holiday allowance and more often than not, the same benefits you would receive working in a corporate city firm.
Progression & Ease of Finding a New Opportunity:
Regional accountancy firms still offer plenty of opportunities to progress and develop, all the way up to Partner if that is your end goal. Working in a London-based Big 4 office you can face a long path to Partner, whereas a smaller local practice can almost offer a fast-track route to Partnership.
A role in a regional firm can be positive in several different ways when it comes to new opportunities. Not only can they offer excellent progression routes if you stay with that one firm, but they can also be a good stepping stone into a larger city firm or Big 4 office in London. Or, working locally in Reading might be a good option for you if you have already worked in the city and you are looking for a firm that offers more flexibility, less of a commute, and better suits your lifestyle.
Here at Pro-Finance, we work closely with many Big 4, Top 10, Top 20, and boutique accountancy firms based in Reading who are looking for auditors of all levels to join their successful and close-knit teams. As impartial consultants with a wealth of experience, we are well positioned to advise on your next move, so should you wish to discuss how best to structure your next career step, please do get in touch.