With many of the top accountancy firms boasting a global presence, newly qualified accountants are increasingly looking to find international placements upon qualification. Not only can this provide a stimulating environment for your work, it could also be a fast track into one of the top 20 firms.

If you’re currently scouring the recruitment pages for finance jobs, here’s our handy guide to finding an overseas placement.

Why go abroad?

There are several benefits to an international secondment, such as:

  • The chance to experience a different culture and undertake travel alongside your career development.
  • International experience that’s respected and often sought after amongst future employers.
  • A possible fast track route to responsibility in some of the world’s biggest accountancy firms.
  • Typically, flexible contracts.

What skills do I need?                       

You’ll probably find that most secondments are in external audit, with some opportunities also cropping up in corporate recovery and corporate finance. The exact skills and knowledge required can of course vary between placements but, in general, you’ll need:

  • A track record of strong academic achievement.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • The large financial centres, like Hong Kong, may ask for some proven experience in banking or financial services audit.
  • Smaller island locations (like Bermuda or Barbados) may put more emphasis on your soft skills -such as relationship building and communication etc. to ensure you’ll thrive in the close-knit community environment.
  • The relevant language fluency where necessary.

What should I expect from the interview?

There’s no set pattern to how an interview process will work, as they’ll vary from organisation to organisation. Many will start the process with a telephone interview, while others may send representatives to the UK at certain times in the year to conduct interviews. In some cases, firms may ask specialist recruitment officers to carry out the interview in an area most local to you. Of course, some firms may require you to fly out to their destination.

Normally, full relocation and sponsorship costs will be paid for by the employer.

For more information about progressing your finance career internationally, please get in touch with the experts at Michael Page Finance.