Large firm vs Boutique John Hindley
May 9, 2019

I recently moved from a large firm to a boutique and the difference has been massive!

In my previous role it was very much a large firm mentality, with the job opportunities and sectors each consultant was working on being very specific and repetitive. I became quite bored sourcing the same role over and over, and began to wonder if recruitment could be different elsewhere. The focus was on working a vast number of jobs and having a very transactional relationship with a wide array of clients. I was one of seventy consultants, most of whom were in their early twenties, in an overly sales driven environment with more structure than was needed.

Since joining Carnegie I have continued to recruit finance positions, but in a wider variety of areas such as fund accounting, management and financial accounting, across a number of sectors such as Private Equity, Asset Management and Hedge Funds. The focus here is working with less clients on a lower volume of opportunities, but having a closer and more strategic partnership with clients. The culture has also been a big change; I came into a more mature, eight person business where everyone works their own areas with autonomy. My work life balance and enjoyment of my role have improved greatly as a result.

There’s a clear comparison between my experience and how an accountant’s role changes by moving to a boutique firm. Transitioning to a smaller company and working under a hugely experienced finance recruiter has given me the broad exposure to become a better consultant. In the same way, we frequently hear the same from accountants who have moved from large firms to leaner finance functions in smaller businesses. Working more closely with FD’s and FC’s allows these individuals to learn directly from highly experienced finance professionals. They often progress more quickly, enjoying greater exposure to the wider business as well as having the chance to influence the company beyond just the finance function.

Of course, everyone is different. Many people enjoy working for larger firms and those companies couldn’t be large if that wasn’t the case. I guess the real target audience for this is those currently in larger firms who may be curious, as I was, if their career could be different in a more boutique environment. In my humble opinion, it certainly can!

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