Back to Practice; a good move for treasurers?

by India Stock

A trend we find unique, or certainly more common, within the treasury market is that candidates will start their careers within practice, move out into industry and then return back to practice again. Whether you decide to move back into a Big 4 role or opt to grow your career within the corporate world, both will have a decisive impact on the route your career takes. The decision to return to practice shouldn’t be taken lightly and we would advise our candidates to think carefully about their long-term professional objectives. Read on to discover the positive and negatives of each option.

Returning to Practice

Pros

You get a variety of experience from being sent out on a range of projects – this allows the scope of the role to become larger and more diverse.

There is a wide support network amongst the Big 4 and you often find a mentor/mentee relationship developing with those that are your senior, allowing you to benefit from their wealth of experience.

There is a degree of freedom when it comes to which projects you will be assigned or you will at least have the opportunity to give your input. This means that you will get to work on roles that you find genuinely interesting.

It is a well known fact that having one of the Big 4 on your CV looks good. Carl Sharman, Head of the Treasury Technology Advisory team at Deloitte, told us that a role within the Big 4 can often be too great an opportunity to turn down. They are established and reputable businesses, so from a recruitment perspective having a role in practice can only enhance your future prospects.

Cons

Working within a Big 4 can sometimes be ruthless. You are surrounded by people who wish to progress along the same path as you, with a limited number of places at the top. This combination inevitably leads to an extremely competitive environment. This doesn’t suit everyone and many of our candidates who wish to leave, or have left practice, claim internal company politics as a reason for departure.

The workload within practice is typically heavier and more intense than a corporate role. Those consulting on projects often have to be good at multitasking and coping with a variety of issues at one time.

Staying in Industry 

Pros

As a corporate treasurer you are exposed to certain situations e.g. debt financing experience, that you wouldn’t be in a Big 4 role. Carl Sharman of Deloitte highlighted that although you learn the theory of the likes of debt financing within the Big 4, you won’t get to have any hands-on involvement. If your long-term career goal is to end up in a senior corporate position this practical experience is invaluable and so going back to practice could limit your future opportunities.

Career progression within corporate treasury is typically accelerated in comparison to practice. Each time you move between companies and roles, you will be stepping up; both in seniority and salary. It is, therefore, easier to earn more as clients battle to win and retain the top talent within the market. In comparison, there is a risk that you plateau at a certain level within practice.

Cons

A worry of corporate treasurers is that you will become stuck in a role that lacks variety and is the same day in day out. This is far more likely to occur within a big corporation as you role will most likely have a focus on a specific area and you risk becoming pigeonholed.

If you would like some further advice from our Treasury team or are looking for your next opportunity, please get in touch with Amy or Colin now at info@communicate-rs.com or call us on 020 3617 9730.