External (SEC) Reporting with No Big 4 or Public Accounting Experience

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  • #2942928 Reply
    FutureCPA2020
    Participant

    Originally in college, I was an accounting major and had completed 2 internships with PwC. However, instead of going into public accounting I changed my major to Business Mgt and decided to become a teacher. I taught Jr. High and High school for about 5 years, before I made the switch BACK into accounting.
    By the time I made the career change, I was married and had a child and chose not to go into public accounting, let alone Big 4. I just didn't feel like I wanted to put in those hours, while going back to school to obtain the hours I needed to sit for the CPA exam and raise a small child.

    Since that time, by the grace of God, I've been able to move into a Corp Accounting/External (SEC) Reporting role. I realized when I was offered the position how lucky/blessed I was to obtain it, given that I had no audit, let alone Big 4 experience, nor was I a CPA.

    Now that I have been with my company a few years and I have one exam to go, I am wanting more. I am wanting to move into a more senior level SEC Reporting role, but most companies want Big 4 experience. It seems kind of silly to me (or maybe I'm a bit jaded) because not everyone that goes Big 4 is intellectually superior. I mean, some people stay a year and leave and what have you REALLY learned within a year at Big 4? (You may have learned more at a smaller firm).

    I say all of that to say, would it be stupid of me to leave industry and do 1-2 years in Big 4 audit, JUST to have it on my resume? I'm sure there are somethings that I could learn, especially in regards to more technical accounting/research, but I'm wondering if it's necessary, in order for me to move into a more Sr. Level or even managerial SEC reporting role?

    AUD: 68, 74, 83

    BEC: 68, 70, 80

    FAR: 77

    REG: 74, 78 (lost credit),  83

    #2942976 Reply
    vbmer
    Participant

    How big is the company? How long have you worked there and what is your rank currently? You could probably get into Big 4 Audit, but if it's a big company (at least F500), you could even get into something like Accounting Advisory, especially if you have compliance or FP&A experience, which would be more interesting and diversify your experience when you return to industry.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 88
    FAR - 89
    REG - 80
    Manager, Big 4 Corporate Finance, CPA (WA)
    #2943006 Reply
    FutureCPA2020
    Participant

    Current company is small (70 ppl) public company. Been here 2 years and I'm currently a Level II (out of III, before you can hit Sr.). I recently interviewed for a F250 company but probably won't hear back for another week.

    AUD: 68, 74, 83

    BEC: 68, 70, 80

    FAR: 77

    REG: 74, 78 (lost credit),  83

    #2943423 Reply
    DDylan
    Participant

    ” because not everyone that goes Big 4 is intellectually superior” — true, but from employers perspective, they do not have the time/patient to find out the qualified candidates without b4 experience. They just need someone to finish the work. In addition, having the intelligence does not necessarily mean you have the experience.

    the benefits of b4 experience is you will get a LOT of exposure of different types of engagements and issues. I regret I did not manage to get into big firms in my first job.

    think about how many ppl with 1-3 years experience at b4 and tier 2 firms want to jump the ship, and you will realize how competitive SEC reporting is.

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