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Career path for newly-qualified accountants

Our accounting & finance recruitment team has been managing the careers of newly-qualified accountants for over 15 years. So we're well placed to offer you the help you need.

Most CA (SA)  start out in public practice as trainees and set out to achieve the CA qualification within three years.  During this time a CA (SA) will gain knowledge and experience as well as take on responsibilities, including managing junior staff members and client accounts.

Firms may offer trainees the opportunity for a secondment to another division, possibility overseas, to broaden their knowledge and have the chance to gain international experience. Trainees normally remain with the same employer throughout the training contract.

Your career path

The CA (SA) qualification can lead to many different career paths. Staying in public practice offers the chance for secondments or transfers to different areas of practice (e.g. tax, corporate finance or management consultancy) or, alternatively, a move to a different-sized firm. In the large global organisations, international secondments are also an option.

Today's market

Jasmine Araujo Senior Manager at Robert Walters South Africa says, "The current job market for newly-qualified accountants is extremely competitive and organisations are very specific about who they recruit and what type of person they are looking for. Newly-qualified accountants need to build towards an end goal and, to avoid disappointment, not expect to land their dream job as soon as they have completed their articles."

Below are some tips from the specialist accounting & finance recruitment team at Robert Walters to help newly-qualified accountants achieve their career goals:

  • Focus on building and growing your career - Starting in an entry level position such as internal auditing, learning the business, developing the necessary skill sets and moving up the career ladder from there is recommended to help you achieve your end goal more quickly.
  • Be patient - Be prepared to wait as competition is fierce and vacancies are limited. The recruitment process can also be lengthy as organisations look for candidates who are not only high calibre but also have the right cultural fit.
  • Be open to opportunities - If the role isn't exactly what you were planning, look at the long -term career prospects the organisation can offer - it's not only about the short-term and a role that can start you on your career path is one to consider. Not only will you learn from the role but you will build on your skill set.


Progression to partnership level is often very competitive but is achievable, normally between anywhere between eight and fifteen years after qualification. Career progression may be quicker if you are working for a smaller company.


Career progression

A CA (SA) could become a manager two years after qualification and a senior manager three years after that. Progression to partnership level is often very competitive but is achievable, normally between anywhere between eight and fifteen years after qualification. Career progression may be quicker if you are working for a smaller company.

Depending on individual aspirations and abilities, it is possible to progress to finance director of a major company within ten to fifteen years of qualification. The qualification also opens doors to general business management careers or creates the opportunity to set up independently as a sole practitioner.

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