June 11, 2019 at 9:10 pm #2471388
I am in my 40s and getting my CPA. I can stay in private industry but more jobs are asking for public experience or MBA. Public accounting means taking a pay cut but might be worth it for 1-2 years, especially for the training I will receive.
Question: do I apply as a “fresh graduate” or an “experienced hire”. Trying to find an accounting-firm recruiter to speak to. All suggestions help, thanksJune 12, 2019 at 6:13 am #2471859Jimmy DuganParticipant
I was a career changer and had my masters in accounting finished when I was 34-ish. Nobody in big public would touch me. I even tried to get on with a mid-sized regional firm and they all but told me I was too old. I'm not saying you can't get hired, but that's what you are up against. You might have more luck getting on with a small public firm. I cut my teeth for a few months with a tiny public firm and was glad to get the experience, but it was small business bookkeeping and tax work. It was certainly nothing like the experience people get with Big 4, auditing publicly traded companies and the like. When people/job ads say they want public experience, IMO they really mean they want someone with experience in big public. That's going to be tough to come by in your mid-40's and not having the CPA yet. If I were you, I'd focus on a career track in private. I know some jobs want someone with public experience, but most of the ones I see say something like “MBA or CPA preferred”. But good luck to you if you go the public route.June 12, 2019 at 6:21 am #2471862
Thanks for the advice Jimmy. I guess I am going to try both the public and private route & see which one takes. Getting the training in a Big 4 would be great, but I know there can be several headaches. With private, I am finding it hard to even get a callback from a reply to an advert, so that's another issue.June 12, 2019 at 6:30 am #2471877Jimmy DuganParticipant
Sounds like a plan. I thought you were already doing accounting in a private setting. For sure, your best bet at getting some experience is small public. They need people bad during busy season. It may not turn into anything permanent and you'll be doing some grunt work, but at least you will be getting some experience to add to your resume, as well as the requirement for getting the CPA license.June 12, 2019 at 7:20 am #2471946
True. I am doing private accounting, the challenge has been getting even an interview with public accounting firm. Everyone says “networking”, so I am using LinkedIn to try and meet their recruiters, we will see how far that takes me.June 12, 2019 at 8:56 am #2472039MaLoTuParticipant
If you don’t have public experience you will have to apply for a staff position and not experienced staff (although I have seen people start as exp staff with industry exp).
With most firms the new slots are basically reserved for college grads. However, depending on your market you may have a better shot (or worse). In the SF Bay Area there is an extraordinary amount of hiring going on.
Also, yes try to talk to a recruiter. If that fails (likely they suck), try to contact a manager, Senior, or even staff in your desired service line. Do not tell them that you just want the experience to buffer your resume. Try to frame it as you have always wanted your CPA and now you have committed to pursuing it. Public experience is invaluable and you want to see where that road leads, etc.
I started in public in my 30s and it was fine.June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am #2472042
Thanks MaLoTu. I am trying, probably just having a dry spell. I will start applying as staff. Not sure if an “internship” is the same thing because it always seems to change from company to companyJune 12, 2019 at 10:47 am #2472204Jeff Elliott, CPAKeymaster
Welcome back, MaLoTu – I just saw your name and thought “that's a blast from the past” … looks like you've been posting for awhile and I just didn't realize it 🙂June 12, 2019 at 5:14 pm #2473314MaLoTuParticipant
Thanks Jeff. I post when I have something relevant to add! Haha. These days it is more job type stuff.