FAQ – Should you leave Audit and Accounting before finishing your qualification?

In these FAQ posts, we answer the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients and readers making their career moves out of Accounting & Audit, what else you need to be mindful of and hints & tips to ensure you give yourself the best possible chances of securing that next dream role.


In this FAQ, we’re covering should you leave Audit and Accounting before finishing your qualification and what impact it could have on your career.


Are you wondering:

  • Should I leave Audit or Accounting before completing my accounting qualification?
  • Will it look bad on my Resume / CV if I leave Audit and Accounting before finishing my qualification?
  • What exit opportunities are there for me if I leave now?


Let’s get to it…


Should I leave audit or accounting before completing my accounting qualification?


If you’ve started Audit or Accounting and already want to quit before you’re a few months in, know that you’re not alone and that’s a perfectly acceptable attitude to have.


Nowadays people change careers all the time and at any point throughout their lives.


The predicament you might feel now is a commitment to completing the qualification to avoid exam fees from your employer, prevent a career change appearing on your Resume / CV or because of a fear of missing out on that sought after accounting qualification.


Ultimately, if Audit and Accounting is not for you, then you should probably pivot out of an Audit and Accounting career into something more suitable.


If you decide to leave now try not to count your time so far as a sunk cost, but rather an experience within a role and type of firm which you now better understand.


If you leave before you’ve completed your qualification, then you will also save yourself:

  1. Doing some tough and stressful exams
  2. A few years of doing something you really dislike
  3. Difficult conversations with future employers or recruiters who might only consider you for traditional accounting roles after qualifying


What about the exam fees?

The exam fees are nothing in the grand scheme of your potential earnings lost working in Audit or Accounting during your qualification years. You are paid notoriously small amounts, especially at the Big 4, for the number of hours you work and study.


As you might know, the reason for this is because your firm is paying for your qualification, but also they know you get their brand on your Resume / CV and you’re willing to sacrifice your salary for it.


If you are planning on leaving your contract early it’s also worth digging around through the employment contract you signed when you first joined (assuming you didn’t sign any revisions since then) and checking for any mention of fees chargeable to you. 


If your contract doesn’t say anything about paying fees then you never signed up to it and you should mention that this doesn’t apply to you. 


If your contract does say you need to repay fees then you can likely get your next employer to pay these, just mention it in your salary & benefit negotiations (remember that these exam fees are nothing compared to the recruiter fees they’ve already spent trying to find and obtain you and they will be happy to do this in most cases!)


Does it look bad on my Resume / CV if I leave Audit and Accounting before qualifying?


You have already been hired by a reputable company which will make recruiters and employers comfortable you are a good quality candidate. In fact, some other company has already done these checks and vetting (as far as this new employer is concerned) which makes their life that little bit easier when searching for good candidates.


The fact that you changed your mind can also show strong decision-making abilities – you’re sure of what you DON’T WANT TO DO. It’s your job to make sure they also believe YOU’RE SURE OF WHAT YOU DO WANT TO DO next. They want to know you’re not a “flight risk” and that you’re not just going to also leave them very soon after they’ve just invested time & money into getting you on-boarded to their team, like you are planning on doing now.


Convince them of the above and you will be just fine.


What exit opportunities are there for me if I leave now?


Not finishing your time and obtaining your qualification can of course impact your chances of securing more strategic and commercial careers after Audit and Accounting that would have otherwise been available to you.


Having said that, there are different ways to obtain your qualification than the most sought after traditional Audit or Big 4 routes. There are also a multitude of careers in strategic and commercial finance that lead to C-suite positions and that don’t necessarily require an accounting qualification.  


If you still think you want some involvement in the finance world but aren’t sure what’s out there, where you think you’re most suited to and what those careers look like, then check out our Exit Options guide which details all of this and more.


This FAQ-series intended to give you a quick and dirty overview to some of the most frequently asked questions about making career moves after Accounting & Audit. This particular post covered should you quit Audit and Accounting before finishing your qualification, with other articles coming soon!


Exit Options | Mapping the post-accounting & audit landscape

A lot of the clients we coach ask about moving into more strategic & commercial roles after spending time in traditional accounting & audit, but don’t know where to start or even what opportunities exist …so-much-so that we’ve put together a map of the landscape of accounting exit opportunities, which I encourage you to check out!


Want to land (and master) more strategic and commercial roles?

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Spice up your CV/Resume for the post-accounting & audit world

We’ve created a digital guide specifically to help those of you applying for more commercial & strategic roles. Our straight-talking CV/Resume advice for Accountants/Auditors is the only guide that is highly-specific to the traditional accounting & audit background: we give you real-life good & bad examples for showcasing your experience for strategic roles, the best structure & content to win over recruiters, a strategy for distributing your CV/Resume, interview advice, and more!


Want personalised advice from one of our Co-Founders?

We’ve been where you are and can help you forge your swift exit. Click here to Get Coached.



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