What to do at the end of your training contract – Accountants & Tax Professionals

*This blog contains minor game of thrones season 7 spoilers*

I read an interesting article last week with Game of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen where he spoke about the ‘potent’ loss of finishing up with the series. I found it personally interesting for two reasons. Firstly that fellow Irish actor Michael McElhatton had accidentally tipped him off to show runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff’s modus operandi when it comes to informing cast members of their imminent departure. Secondly I found it striking that he had no visibility on the arc of the character and was so disappointed to see it come to an end. You don’t often think of actors and the shows they are in as regular jobs but it’s clear that to the individuals themselves it’s a normal day to day like 9-5 in the office is for others.

It got me thinking about how accountants and tax professionals approach the end of their contracts with so much more visibility and yet many find themselves one step away from their final week with nothing yet lined up.  If you are due to come out of your training contract in the next few months, if you haven’t already started, now is the time to start looking at your options.

The accountancy and tax markets are extremely busy with options across practice, industry and financial services. It is a good time to be looking.

What to do first?

The key thing to decide is what field you would like to work in and what style of company. This will dictate your next move. It might be the case that you can move straight into your desired longer term role or it might be that you need to make a sideways move to get the requisite experience first. For example, candidates trained in smaller firms would should consider gaining some large firm experience if they would like to move into a multinational longer term.  Or if you are trained in financial services audit but would like to move into industry it might be an idea to take an industry contract role initially. This will then bridge the sector gap when you start looking further down the line for a more permanent role.


The next thing to do is to write down what is most important to you. Is it earning potential, work life balance, job satisfaction, prestige, career progression, location? Whatever it is this should be taken into consideration when assessing prospective paths. Often to get a better work life balance salary can be affected and vica versa. It is critical to be honest with yourself and this point as it will help you avoid ending up in a situation you didn’t want.


Once you have decided where you want to end up it is a good idea to get some advice at this point.

  • Speak to a recruiter who specialises in the area
  • Utilise LinkedIn to research the profiles of people who are doing the job you want to be doing and see what type of career moves they made.
  • By this stage you should have been able to zero in on a few opportunities which will provide you with what you are looking for. Start drafting your cv and tailor it to these specific roles.
  • Now apply

Having something lined up in plenty of time significantly reduces the stress otherwise associated with reaching the end of your contract. A brief glance at Aidan Gillen’s IMDB profile suggests that he followed similar advice and has a number of projects in pre production. With a bit of luck some of these will prove as blog worthy content in the near future!

For a further conversation on this topic please do not hesitate to contact me on 01 531 2424 or email to ross@amicus.ie