Quantico Specific

What it is really like working in finance for a start-up

Post by
Dan Hully
What it is really like working in finance for a start-up

Accounting at the cutting-edge

It sometimes seems like accounting and start-ups are at opposite ends of a spectrum. Accounting is an ancient profession, steeped in tradition and slow to adapt. Start-ups are the champions of innovation, embracing technology and change every day.

So what do you find when you look at the intersection of those two groups?

It’s an incredibly exciting group of people. Analytical and fiercely intelligent, they combine the rigour of accountancy training with the optimism of start-ups.

We surveyed this group because they provide a window on the future direction of the accounting profession. What these early adopters know and experience today, will be the mainstream reality for everyone else tomorrow.


What did we find?

1. The start-up career path is growing in importance for finance professionals, just as it is for the wider economy.

No fewer than 85% of our respondents had come to start-ups via working in large corporates, SMEs or financial institutions.

A new generation is coming through that values variety, impact and fulfilment far higher than job stability and pay, and they are overwhelmingly finding it in start-ups. 84% of our respondents reported higher overall job satisfaction in start-ups.

2. This new generation is encountering new breed of challenge in their working lives.

When we asked them what skills they most needed to develop the top answers all revolved around software and technology.

There is clearly a big gap between these skills and the material currently being taught in the traditional accountancy exams. The exam syllabus for the best known training providers still features T accounting and books of prime entry, but using software is barely mentioned, let alone coding.

Read the full survey results here.


So what does this mean?

Our survey painted a portrait of a small, highly innovative group, succeeding in spite of the training they received, rather than because of it.

From speaking with Founders and CFOs it’s clear that the accounting sector is not considered innovative and is not expected to change.

At Quantico we talk a lot about the concept of FinOps providing a much needed fresh start. It’s short for Finance Operations and sits at the intersection of finance and technology, aimed squarely at the new breed of problems uncovered by our survey.

Start-ups and accounting shouldn’t be at opposite ends of the spectrum. They should be working together to create sustainable innovation.

We are looking to change this by building a School of FinOps to give accountants the skills they really need.