Why work for a boutique independent firm?

By Wayne Horwood


wayne horwood HNH Group Belfast

Wayne Horwood, HNH Group

As the HNH Group is about to embark upon expansion in both the Deal Advisory and Business Advisory & Restructuring teams, I asked myself the question: “Why would someone want to join a boutique locally owned firm such HNH as opposed to gaining experience in the more traditional big four accountancy firm environment?”

Rather than just brain dumping, I thought no better place to start than to ask the existing HNH team for their views. A sample of some of the responses I received are:

  • I like the variety of work that I get exposed to, how I am encouraged to pursue sectors of interest to me and how I get input in team strategy.
  • Personal interest is taken in staff to ensure they are happy in the workplace and are achieving their goals.
  • Less structure around workflow/requirements can be a good thing and bad thing, gives you more autonomy, but also can mean everyone is out of sync sometimes.
  • Less hoops to jump through, such as pre-engagement acceptance or preparation steps.
  • Directors are very approachable and flexible, regarding time etc.
  • Work life balance is excellent.
  • Based on how you work and results rather than micro-managed.
  • Client interaction (Don’t necessarily get in big four).
  • More holidays would be nice.
  • Discretionary bonus scheme for staff.
  • The only thing I miss from big four environment is access to support staff / junior staff to help with certain tasks.
  • Your opinion/ideas are always welcome, there is no ‘this is how we do things’ attitude.
  • There is a great sense of efficiency – come in, get your work done, enjoy life outside of work and no ‘face-timing’ like they do in the big 4!
  • Ability to operate independently.
  • Opportunities and autonomy afforded by senior management.
  • Constant focus on developing firm and enhancing brand.
  • Opportunities to develop contacts and network.
  • Not just a number like in a larger firm.

There were many more comments but based on the above, the key messages which emerge in relation to working in our boutique business are:

1: If you want autonomy, diversity and full exposure to all aspects of the business early in your career, HNH provides a good opportunity to do this.

2: Self-starters with initiative and passion have the opportunity to thrive in a boutique environment such as HNH.

3: HNH is a young, owner-managed business with pride in its culture of work hard, play hard and don’t be sitting around the office just to be seen in the office.

4: We might not give the best holidays in the market place but we are not bureaucratic and can be flexible where possible.

5: HNH is dynamic. No fresh ideas are dismissed and we encourage the team to opine on all aspects of the business as we need to continually improve what we do.

6: At HNH, we are proud of our brand and we want to continue to develop it, our service lines, geographical reach and fundamentally the quality of work we deliver to our clients.

7: At HNH, we are proud of our people and our team culture. We want people to develop, have fun and enjoy their careers.

Sarah Orange, HNH Human Capital

Sarah Orange, HNH Human Capital

8: HNH tries to incentivise each member of the team financially for team success.

So if you think a career in HNH could be for you and you are a newly or recently qualified chartered accountant, please get in touch with HNH Human Capital Managing Partner, Sarah Orange by email sarah@hnhhumancapital.com , phone 02890278155 or submit your CV online.