Now that I am settled in at the Exeter office of Thomas Westcott, I thought I would write my next blog post on the difference between working at a big company and a smaller one like I am. Many of my peers are at one of the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms and by combining their thoughts with my own, I hope that this post can give you an idea of what path you would like to take.

Firstly, I will discuss the benefits I have gained from working at a small local firm. From the start, it was clear that I would be given a lot of responsibility at Thomas Westcott. This has enabled me to have a lot of client contact as well as gain experience of working with a wide variety of sectors and departments. This is highlighted by the fact that I have worked in the accounts, audit and tax sections of the business since being here whereas at a bigger firm you would be expected to specialise in one particular area. It has also been useful that every job at Thomas Westcott is different allowing you to learn something new every day. In the long term, working at a smaller company also gives you a greater level of autonomy and the opportunity to gain promotion quicker than you would at a large firm.

Despite these advantages, many graduates opt to join a big firm and it’s not just because of the larger salary! One of the main draws of working at the top level is the chance to benefit from the best training and technology on offer. If you want to reach the top of your profession, it is better to challenge yourself from an early stage. In addition, there are likely to be more perks if you work at a large company. Many of my friends have received additional holiday allowance or bonuses despite only starting a few months ago! There are also opportunities to meet more people as well as partake in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities.

Ultimately the decision is a personal preference and by doing an industrial placement you can find out what sort of company is best for you!