Does size of firm matter when working in tax?

David Tuohy 06.07.2015

A lot of tax professionals thinking of making a move from their current role often wonder is there much point moving from one practice to another, are they not all the same? Will there be a difference in the type of work, environment and career progression?

I would say yes there are differences and these differences can exist due to the size of the firm alone.  Of course regardless of size, each practice is different and it can come down to the individual and indeed the partner you may be working with but there are notable differences based on size which is worth bearing in mind if you are considering your options. 

Differences generally occur in the types of work you will be involved in, career progression opportunities, salary and working hours. 

  • In smaller accountancy firms you are exposed to a broader range of tasks whereas in bigger firms you will be specialized in a specific field only
  • Larger firms allow you to become real specialists in an area making you a valuable asset
  • You will gain a much greater insight into the business you are working for in a smaller firm
  • You will have larger clients and more networking opportunities at a larger firm and that may help you advance in your career
  • Big firms equal big clients.  Small firms equal small clients
  • Working for a big global accountancy firm can be a great stepping stone for people who want to eventually work in-house 
  • Big firms offer secondments which are amazing opportunities to learn new skills, especially abroad
  • The working hours of smaller accountancy firms are generally less than those in bigger firms providing a better work life balance (excusing the busy tax return filing season)
  • There are more opportunities for swifter progression in larger firms and more room for role creation for the right candidate
  • Progression in a smaller firm can be quick and based on merit rather than having to go through the process of promotion in a larger firm 
  • The larger firms can usually afford to pay employees a higher basic salary with regular pay reviews, bonuses and excellent benefits
  • Some smaller firms offer overtime pay and TOIL for the extra hours undertaken during compliance season.


The tax market is very busy at the moment so please do get in touch with me if you would like to discuss your next move! 

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