As an accounting professional, you know there are numerous factors to consider before deciding on your next career move. Among the many decisions you need to make, one of the most important is choosing whether or not to work for a larger or smaller company. While common belief is that larger organizations offer the best of everything, the truth is that both large and small companies each have their advantages.
“While we do encourage candidates to work for a larger company at some point in their career, the fact of the matter is that this isn’t the best option for everyone,” says Laura Gutierrez, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting / Finance Permanent division. “There are multiple benefits to working for either a smaller or larger company, and it’s something professionals should put a lot of consideration into before making a final decision.”
Not sure which career path to take? Here are 3 things to consider:
Larger companies generally have a more defined corporate structure compared to smaller firms, and as a result, could have a taller ladder to climb. This depth often allows more opportunities for mobility within the company throughout your career. For example, if you start off in an entry-level position, there might be more opportunity to move into more senior roles, and potentially a partnership position. Therefore, if you like stability and are interested in staying with one company for the long run, a larger company may be best for you. However, if you care more about working closely with upper management and seeing your direct impact, choosing a smaller company may be in your best interests.
“At a large company, you may find that you’ll have more growth opportunities, which can be attractive if you’re looking to plant roots within a company,” says Laura. “But, if you’re interested in having more exposure to executives and the ability to provide your input on decisions, a smaller firm will surely present more of those opportunities.”
For some people, having a diverse set of responsibilities is key to success and happiness within a specific role. For others, being able to focus on one specific task and/or area helps to create more productivity and satisfaction on the job. “Depending on your preference, this could help you decide whether or not to pursue an opportunity with a large or small company,” says Laura. “At a small company, you will have your hands in many different baskets, so if you like to multi-task, this could be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to dedicate yourself to one specific task, working in a large company is likely the most ideal situation for you and your strengths. “
Making the decision between working for a large or small company can come down to the type of work environment someone tends to thrive in.
“A company’s overall environment can affect your day-to-day job satisfaction more than you might expect,” says Laura. “That’s why we always try to identify the type of culture our candidates work best in and how this can differ depending on the size of the company.”
If you prefer a relaxed and team-oriented environment that encourages collaboration across different divisions, your best bet may be to pursue opportunities within smaller companies. However, if you strive to work in a more formal setting where there is definitive structure, opportunities with a larger company are likely going to be the best fit for you as you go through your career.