New public accounting job

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    I was just wanting to get some perspective on my current situation. I’ve worked for a small CPA firm for the last three years. In that time, I went back and got my MAcc and CPA certificate. I was pretty happy with my current job until recently when I received my yearly raise. I thought I was waiting for a payday after I got my certificate and MAcc degree in the same year, but I was a little disappointed. Mind you, I know it’s been a rough year for everybody and after a time to think, I sure was happy to just have a job. Anyway, I started job hunting a little bit, nothing too serious, and out of the blue, a recruiter called me about a senior tax position at a firm about an hour away. I researched the firm and apparently, they’re consistently voted a top employer to work for in my state.

    To make a long story short, they offered me a job, but it’s just an associate level position. However, the job is a $12,500 a year raise over my current position. I first, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t more, but after thinking about it, I guess I’m trying to be positive about it. I guess it’s just human nature to want more, but here’s the pros I’ve come up with:

    1) Way more pay (25% raise starting) as basically an entry level associate. Benefits are pretty identical otherwise.

    2) It’s a larger local firm (50 vs 10 employees), so more potential for mobility.

    3) My current employer is 35 minutes away. Potential firm is an hour, but will be offering work at home opportunities. So, that’s kind of a wash.

    4) Offer greater ability to grow professional because they work with a wider range of clients.

    5) Hours aren’t terrible. 55-60 hours for a few weeks during peak, but 38 hour weeks 8 months out of the year.

    I guess it’s just hard because, well, change is hard. Best I can tell, people stay there for a while, so I don’t think it’s toxic. I’ve also asked some former workers and they said the people there were nice to work with. I guess I’m also stuck a little because it was initial a senior position, but the offer was for an associate level job. But this also could be good, because it’ll be less stressful learning the firm’s ways and working with new clients/industries. Sorry for the long post, just wanting to get some thoughts/perspective on my situation.


    First: Congrats on your MAcc and CPA! Those are great achievements. You are now well-educated, credentialed, and experienced!
    It does sound like you have gone as far as you can with your current employer.
    You applied for a senior but offered an associate position? Did they say why?
    It leaves room for growth but I would ask them what their path to senior will be before you leap. The risk is you spend another year or two as an associate and you can demonstrate no career progression on your resume.
    As for the commute, two hours a day is a long time and eats away at that raise, your fitness, and quality of life. Who knows how often you will actually work remote. An hour after a very long day is difficult and a little risky. Is the city where they are located worth moving to? More opportunities?
    If this is your first chance for change perhaps it is not your only. You have options if you are willing to accept this position. You can accept flat out or tell your current employers you have an offer and see if you are offered additional money and a promotion where you are and consider staying while looking for something more ideal. If they don’t counter, then move on.
    Or keep looking. Don’t sell yourself short and don’t jump at something that is less than what you want. You have positioned yourself for excellent opportunities. These are strange times but people are progressing nonetheless. Go with your gut.

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    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all first try! 2016
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    State of Colorado June 2020 - AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.

    Jesus! Take the job and stop whining! Seems money is what you want anyway and they are paying you more than your current employer. Who cares about titles anyway.

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    Chat Shit Get Banged

    My 2 cents. 2 hours a day in a car is going to get old very quick.
    If you make the leap I would plan on trying to get a place closer to the new if possible.
    35 minutes each way is okay, but still not ideal.

    It's kind of a slap in the face to get licensed and the Macc, and not get a decent pay bump, but those things alone don't necessarily make you more valuable. In theory once you have the CPA your billable rate should increase. I don't think your current employer sees your value and if you don't take this job, you should continue looking.

    A hire as an associate with a significant pay increase is not the worth thing in the world. You won't be thrown into situations where you are in over your head. Hopefully get some on the ground training to get your up to speed with the firms culture and norms. Impress them and you can fast track to a promotion and another raise.

    It is always possible to negotiate. You can inquire about the senior position you were originally contacted about, and find out what changed. And you can try and hold out for more $$, and if that doesn't work you can pass.

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

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    I'll tell you my opinion since it sounds like you're in a similar position as I was a couple years ago. The only difference is I work in industry. I was with previous employer for 3 years. During that time they paid for my MAcc degree along with Becker study materials. After those three years of good performance reviews, getting a graduate degree and getting my CPA license, I was told that I wouldn't be getting a promotion for some time. Meanwhile, some of my coworkers with less qualifications were getting promotions.

    I started looking elsewhere and got a job offer that was about an hour away but they offered $15k more than I was being paid. They were also rated as a good employer to work for. I decided to take it. The hour drive each way can suck sometimes, but the work I've done with my current employer has been much more enjoyable. After another year with them I got a promotion and a raise. Before the pandemic I was able to work from home once a week, which was nice. Right now I've been working from home full time. My manager and I have discussed that after this is all over we will only go into the office twice a week at most. So sometimes the gamble pays off.

    I will also say that how you travel makes a difference. I'm able to take some back roads to my office, which cuts down on a lot of stress compared to driving on a major highway the whole way.

    My best advice would be to go with your gut. It sounds like you want to accept the offer. However you could always try to negotiate. Explain that you're concerned about the commute and either ask for more money or for assurance that you can work from home some.

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    Kill it

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