Chris Daems is the director of Principal Financial Solutions, a small financial planning practice based in the city of London. During his career, Chris worked for a number of large financial institutions before setting up his own business. Chris’s experience is working with both medium sized businesses and high net worth individual clients.
Let’s assume you’re looking for your next opportunity to develop your career and feel that you can’t fully utilise your skills in your current role. Let’s also assume you have two opportunities on the table, one with a large corporate organisation and another with a medium sized niche practice. A natural assumption is that the opportunities, potential career progression and scope of work within the corporate environment would be greater due to the size of the organisation. Whilst on many occasions these assumptions are correct, is it worth considering looking at the smaller business?
Personally, I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I now run a small financial planning business but have worked for large corporate organisations for the majority of my career.
How does the corporate environment compare with working within a SME practice environment?
Well, I don’t believe I would have launched my business without having the training, development and supportive environment of a large business. I also think that if you are at the early stages of your career, a larger corporate environment tends to provide more support in helping develop your skills than a smaller niche professional practice can.
However, and I’m sure it depends on the culture of the business you work in, I reached a stage in my career when I wanted to broaden my portfolio of skills, build my own long term professional relationships and start to develop my own systems and practices. In my experience, taking this element of control can be particularly tough in a corporate environment and it tends to be easier to develop as a professional (once a certain level of competence has been achieved) in a smaller niche practice.
Within my business we encourage our staff to share ideas, take on new projects, develop new business opportunities and suggest changes to our systems to make the way we work more efficient. This culture was developed based on my frustration of working within a large corporate where sometimes that creativity was stifled. Therefore the question I believe you need to ask yourself is, does the opportunity you are considering offer the opportunities, flexibility and scope to build as a professional?
Are you looking for a new opportunity in accounting or know someone who is? Have you worked with an SME or a Corporate and want to share your thoughts and experience? Got a question for Chris?
Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.
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