When you're scanning the jobs listings for your next accountancy job, it's worth remembering that these adverts are generally not wholly representative of the role itself. Carry out a quick audit of the jobs pages, and you'll find the same uninspiring phrases and standard write-ups.
In fact, what your informal jobs listing audit will show is that in terms of careers and progression, these specs are often tantamount to a red herring, so don't be overly swayed by them. Most will be a task-list rather than an assessment of what the role and the employer are like.
Of course, it is very difficult to represent the day-to-day reality of any job in a single job spec. This means that for careers planning you have to be prepared to think more broadly, and read between the lines. Ask yourself a series of questions to try to pin down the information that you want to know.
For example, if the role is for an internal audit manager, what is the level of control and how much independence does it seem to have?
Are there a number of roles being advertised or just the one? Ample careers opportunities in accounting, finance, insurance or audit are excellent, but only if the company is growing rather than constantly dealing with high rates of attrition.
Can you get a sense of how success in the job is measured? How key is the department within the organisation, do you think? For example, an audit team within a regulated Financial Services company will be very important, whereas a finance team within a large manufacturer may be less of a focus and affect your careers options accordingly within the company.
How possible it is, do you think, for this role to achieve its goals given the company hiring and the role of the team within it?
What is the organisational structure? You can look online to find out more about this. Equally, try to find out a little about the CEO's reputation and background. Again, a good Google search will often raise interesting content. Look at the news search as well as the web general search.
Ask what the business's competitive position is within its market places, and whether those markets are growing or contracting.
As you can see, it's necessary to really dig deeply and ask yourself important questions when analysing a potential role. So get your detective's hat on, scour social media sites, forums, websites and publications and speak to other people to find out what you need to know.