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Top tips on working overseas

June 2016: Many chartered accountants will consider working abroad at some point in their career, perhaps straight after qualifying, to experience the world before settling down, or maybe later on in their career to provide a new challenge or a change of scenery.


Younger Members London (YML) recently hosted a successful event detailing the pros and cons of working overseas, attended by 70 younger ICAEW members and students. Attendees were treated to an in-depth discussion between four panellists: Susan Gregory (Talent Mobility, Grant Thornton), Abbie Thompson (KPMG Cayman Islands) and Sheereen Pakroo and Jatinder Singh, both younger members who have international work experience in France and Bermuda respectively.


These discussions were led by Peter Simmons, who has himself worked in the Cayman Islands, and presented the realities, practicalities, positives and pitfalls of working abroad from both the employee and employer perspective.

Following the panel discussion, attendees participated in a highly engaging and interactive Q&A session. Overall, advice was provided on roles in Australia, working in a ski resort in France and island living in the tax havens of the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, to name but a few.

It was particularly useful to receive professional advice from KPMG Cayman Islands, the event sponsors, and Grant Thornton who both have significant experience in the assignment of young professionals on short-term and long-term placements abroad.

Further opportunities were also presented by Accounting for International Development, which provides volunteering opportunities for members to travel to one of over 50 countries, to provide accountancy support and advice to often under-resourced communities. These placements can be as short as two weeks, providing a great opportunity to gain some international work experience without committing to a more substantial time period away from home.

Some top tips for overseas working were provided by Susan Gregory of Younger Members London to take away. Some key ones to note are:


Decide why you want to work overseas and build a business case to sell the idea to the host organisation. It is never because you like to travel… no organisation wants to employ a tourist.


Plan in advance to improve your selection chances, consider your competition from both UK and international applicants. Can you get some experience first that will improve your chances of making that move abroad?


‘Family’ means different things in different countries. Do not assume your unmarried or same sex partner will be able to accompany you to the new country. Ask your employer for advice and do your research!

What’s next?

Are you looking to make it a permanent move or just gain some international experience before moving back to the UK? It is particularly important to plan this from an immigration perspective as well as having career options for when you return. It is always better to have a plan that changes than have no plans at all.

For further details on upcoming YML events, please join our LinkedIn group; search ‘Younger Members London’.

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