As with any finance related profession, the accounting sector is often associated with the novelty and glamour of ‘city life’. Canary Wharf, Wall Street and other emerging city centres are focal points for the Big 4 accounting firms, as well as some of the other emerging contenders that sit just outside the champion’s league places of accounting. But what if the hustle and bustle isn’t for you? Enter… Rural accountants.
A niche market, operating practically anywhere and everywhere (especially rural locations, hint it’s in the name), these low-key hipster variant of accountants are taking the game by storm. Imagine for a second, you’re shadowing a rural accountant for a day. You turn up in your freshly pressed shirt, suit trousers and briefcase to look the part. To your surprise you are greeted by a man donning a trench coat and farmer’s boots. The puzzled expression on your face is met with a familiar chuckle, as the rural accountant is used to this reaction.
See, in stark contrast to what you might expect, the client base for rural accountants are still big firms, just operating in a different sector. Throw away the idea of a comprehensive audit in a high street bank and think more of putting those boots to use by counting sheep and milking cows. Okay so maybe not the milking cow’s part, but auditing a farm is exactly the type of work rural accountant’s conduct.
To perfectly balance this argument, we shall look at the perspective of an employee and a client of the firm. Primarily we step into the shoes of a young and hungry accountant prospect. Since year 1 at university, the concept of the Big 4 has been pushed down their throat. But this idealistic employee does not conform to social norms, and instead has weighed up all the options. At a Big 4 firm, there is easily scope to be just another payroll number. The sheer size and nature of these firms means that the best and the brightest are congregated, and the opportunity to be a shining star is slim. Factor in that whilst these firms typically pay for the accounting qualifications that allow you hold the esteemed status of chartered, you have to combat this with an intensive work load. A rural accountant may not necessarily be any easier in terms of work load, but you have a much better chance of being recognised for the work that you put in.
As a client, the argument is dictated more by the nature of the work required. Do I make a call to my KPMG executive buddy to do my tax returns for the foregone financial year, or would I be better suited walking into my local family accountants. The latter seems the more feasible option. Depending on the type of work you operate in, and the scale of scope of your business, tips the scales of accounting choices in the most favourable way.
Rural accountants are on the rise … and they are just as accounting savvy as the corporate ones you find in the fancy places… even if they are turning up to work in farming gear.