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Working Abroad: My Journey

On the day before my departure, I wanted to speak a little towards my move across the pond. Since this is a personal blog I’m not jumping TOO deep into my job or the logistics of my secondment but here’s a little background!

I’m a CPA and work in an accounting firm. My company is an independent member firm of a large international accounting service organization and because of this a lot of my clients are U.S. subsidiaries of international companies. In auditing terms, this means I’m working more and more with international standards and audit instructions prepared by firms in Europe. It also translates to amazing international relationships amongst my firm because our work is so global. This results in a web of work abroad opportunities, or secondments as we call them, for other members of my firm. And now that includes me!

My journey to the UK has been long and full of hang ups; I started working with HR two years ago to make this happen! The biggest part of coordinating a temporary move to London is our similar busy seasons. Secondments work great with places like South Africa and Australia because their audit busy seasons do not line up with ours. Sending a senior abroad in July isn’t as impactful on the office because things generally are a bit slower during the summer and early fall. But because London is busy at the same time as US auditors (typically January to March) there was a fair amount of planning necessary to ensure there wouldn’t be a huge hole in our scheduling with me out of the country.

I didn’t just decide I wanted to go to London and they sent over the paperwork. I went through the process of submitting a resume and summary of my work experience within the firm. The UK office evaluated their staffing levels and determined if there was an opportunity for me and I then interviewed with management over in London before I received an official secondment offer.

Even after things were signed and approved there was still a lot to figure out. Would I stay on the US payroll or switch to a UK salary? I needed housing for my 6 months in London and had to coordinate managing my home in Chicago. And dear god, how would I pack for 6 months?!

I’m such a planner and love to know what I am walking into, so getting from secondment interest to my first day in London has been a tad bit stressful on me to say the least. My professional career has been built on four years at the same firm with the same people; there’s a fair amount of unknowns with switching to a job within a different office not to mention in another country! But with those unknowns comes excitement. I’m really looking forward to growing not only as a young professional but also personally.