userna-me*
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Unfortunately I will have to leave after failing a resit of the professional level exam despite mitigating circumstances. I'm pretty upset about this since it took me years to get a proper job after graduation.

Background:
5/6 certificate exams passed. Passed FAR only.

I have considered a few options and if anyone is working in this industry or knows someone who has been in my position I would appreciate some insight

1. Join a smaller firm as part qualified experienced hire. Not sure how easy this will be since trainees at these firms will have done the audit from planning to completion, whereas I have only done sections on a large client. Also not sure if I have done enough exams to be eligible?
2. Join a company that supports ACA. These companies mostly want people with commercial experience and/or support ACCA/CIMA. This seems hard
3. find anything until next cycle of graduate schemes of big 4 for april start next year . This sounds crazy but is really my last resort. I am also concerned about the section where it will ask if I have failed and if so has my employment been terminated from this? I dont know if this will mean an automatic rejection or if they just want some information.

As you can see I am in a tricky situation. If neither of the above will pull through then j will have to change career unfortunately.
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accno1
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(Original post by userna-me*)
Unfortunately I will have to leave after failing a resit of the professional level exam despite mitigating circumstances. I'm pretty upset about this since it took me years to get a proper job after graduation.

Background:
5/6 certificate exams passed. Passed FAR only.

I have considered a few options and if anyone is working in this industry or knows someone who has been in my position I would appreciate some insight

1. Join a smaller firm as part qualified experienced hire. Not sure how easy this will be since trainees at these firms will have done the audit from planning to completion, whereas I have only done sections on a large client. Also not sure if I have done enough exams to be eligible?
2. Join a company that supports ACA. These companies mostly want people with commercial experience and/or support ACCA/CIMA. This seems hard
3. find anything until next cycle of graduate schemes of big 4 for april start next year . This sounds crazy but is really my last resort. I am also concerned about the section where it will ask if I have failed and if so has my employment been terminated from this? I dont know if this will mean an automatic rejection or if they just want some information.

As you can see I am in a tricky situation. If neither of the above will pull through then j will have to change career unfortunately.
Firstly, sorry to hear about this. It's never easy failing these exams and at the big4, they play the numbers game and it's in their model to release x% of each intake.

Number one, do you actually enjoy accountancy/studying? You've failed numerous exams so consider if it is for you. Have a deep think about whether you're in it for the money rather than actually liking it?

If your answer is yes, you do like it. I'd consider a smaller practice to complete your training. Get in touch with recruiters and don't be picky about where you end up. In practice, there is a huge small firm v big4 vibe, lots of smaller firms simply won't like taking you on. I was at a small firm and we'd laugh at how a sacked big4 grab would be wanting almost more money than a manager of 5 years post qual xp. You need to really adjust your expectations, the big4 do pay a fair chunk more at unqualified level but that's so they can easily fill their numbers.

If you do land interviews at smaller firms, make sure you're humble in your salary expectations. You can always qualify and move back to big4 after or head to industry for more money, your goal needs to be qualification at this stage.

Don't sit around for Big4 next year, it's not worth wasting your time, just get on with qualifying. You're in effect an experienced hire now and big4 generally look at grad level/qualified level for intakes, not part quals.

Good luck! And remember, you've got this, just keep your head up but have a good think about your direction!

All the best

You can also consider industry but will this be good for you? You'll need to learn a new job and also undertake exams. In the meantime, I'd privately sit your professional papers and make sure you pass them! ACA simplified helped me bucket loads on this.
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ajj2000
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How long have you worked in the big 4? Which department?
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userna-me*
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(Original post by accno1)
Firstly, sorry to hear about this. It's never easy failing these exams and at the big4, they play the numbers game and it's in their model to release x% of each intake.

Number one, do you actually enjoy accountancy/studying? You've failed numerous exams so consider if it is for you. Have a deep think about whether you're in it for the money rather than actually liking it?

If your answer is yes, you do like it. I'd consider a smaller practice to complete your training. Get in touch with recruiters and don't be picky about where you end up. In practice, there is a huge small firm v big4 vibe, lots of smaller firms simply won't like taking you on. I was at a small firm and we'd laugh at how a sacked big4 grab would be wanting almost more money than a manager of 5 years post qual xp. You need to really adjust your expectations, the big4 do pay a fair chunk more at unqualified level but that's so they can easily fill their numbers.

If you do land interviews at smaller firms, make sure you're humble in your salary expectations. You can always qualify and move back to big4 after or head to industry for more money, your goal needs to be qualification at this stage.

Don't sit around for Big4 next year, it's not worth wasting your time, just get on with qualifying. You're in effect an experienced hire now and big4 generally look at grad level/qualified level for intakes, not part quals.

Good luck! And remember, you've got this, just keep your head up but have a good think about your direction!

All the best

You can also consider industry but will this be good for you? You'll need to learn a new job and also undertake exams. In the meantime, I'd privately sit your professional papers and make sure you pass them! ACA simplified helped me bucket loads on this.
Noted.

I only failed one, have not sat the others yet.
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userna-me*
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(Original post by ajj2000)
How long have you worked in the big 4? Which department?
Audit - 1yrs+
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ajj2000
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(Original post by userna-me*)
Audit - 1yrs+
Thats good new - better than I was expecting. You have some decent experience to sell in the marketplace. Where are you based/ looking for work?

This is really not as bad a position as you seem to think. You've got a year + experience and some exam passes so have something useful for employers. You are not back in the position of being another 'bog standard graduate'.

There have been similar threads in the past on these forums. Given that its raining I'd spend some time looking through the F+A section and seeing what people have experienced previously. I would also PM people who have been in your position. You get both their experiences and advice, plus they are more likely to have kept in contact with others who left in similar circumstances.

Looking at your original post:

1. Join a smaller firm as part qualified experienced hire. Not sure how easy this will be since trainees at these firms will have done the audit from planning to completion, whereas I have only done sections on a large client. Also not sure if I have done enough exams to be eligible?

That seems to be a pretty common route. Is that something that attracts you?

2. Join a company that supports ACA. These companies mostly want people with commercial experience and/or support ACCA/CIMA. This seems hard

My guess would be that joining a company (as opposed to an accounting firm) that offers ACA is a tough ask:

- there are not many of them, and most are large organisations which will have ponderous recruitment methods
- many want their own raw grads, and will be put off by exam failures.

That being said, one member on this forum did leave a big 4 training contract to join a company offering ACA.

You would be better placed considering if working in industry and studying ACCA or CIMA would be a better option. Check out how many exemptions you would get. Not particularly hard to get a job in most parts of the country, and presumably you have a decent idea of what industry job are like as you've been working in audit.


3. find anything until next cycle of graduate schemes of big 4 for april start next year . This sounds crazy but is really my last resort. I am also concerned about the section where it will ask if I have failed and if so has my employment been terminated from this? I dont know if this will mean an automatic rejection or if they just want some information.


Far too long a long shot. Big 4 - and the next tier of accounting firms - are really not going to recruit someone with exam failures until qualified level recruitment. If you really want to get back to the big 4 you would need to join a smaller audit firm, clear the rest of the exams and qualify then apply as a newly qualified.

Really, your best options are to think about whether you would like to work in a smaller firm or some type of industry position. For industry it can be worth looking for a temporary contract and clearing some ACCA/ CIMA exams in your own time then applying for proper part qualified positions in industry. Its often quicker and easier to pick up temporary work (say maternity cover) and it gives you time to think and reflect.
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Toriar
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Assuming you definitely still want to continue down the Aca route, most people I’ve known in a similar situation have gone down the smaller firm route. As previously mentioned you will have to accept a temporary cut in salary but once you finally become qualified so many doors will open for you.
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ICAEW Careers
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(Original post by userna-me*)
Unfortunately I will have to leave after failing a resit of the professional level exam despite mitigating circumstances. I'm pretty upset about this since it took me years to get a proper job after graduation.

Background:
5/6 certificate exams passed. Passed FAR only.

I have considered a few options and if anyone is working in this industry or knows someone who has been in my position I would appreciate some insight

1. Join a smaller firm as part qualified experienced hire. Not sure how easy this will be since trainees at these firms will have done the audit from planning to completion, whereas I have only done sections on a large client. Also not sure if I have done enough exams to be eligible?
2. Join a company that supports ACA. These companies mostly want people with commercial experience and/or support ACCA/CIMA. This seems hard
3. find anything until next cycle of graduate schemes of big 4 for april start next year . This sounds crazy but is really my last resort. I am also concerned about the section where it will ask if I have failed and if so has my employment been terminated from this? I dont know if this will mean an automatic rejection or if they just want some information.

As you can see I am in a tricky situation. If neither of the above will pull through then j will have to change career unfortunately.
Hi userna-me*,

Firstly, don't panic. We are here to help and support you.

There are plenty of options open to you and we can talk through each of these with you. Absolutely no need to change your career.

Please contact our Student Support team on [email protected] or call us on +44 (0)1908 248 250.

Thanks.
ICAEW
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