Career Change ?

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    I have two years of experience in public accounting (audit) and I am starting to consider a career switch. The two most common job openings appear to be for internal auditors and staff accountants. Which position would be a better career move over the long-term? Additionally, has anyone left public accounting and then regretted it? I am at a top 100 firm and will most certainly make partner if I stick it out. However, I am not sure that it is worth it.

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    If you want my advice. I wouldn't leave public accounting unless you're going to a very large company with a large accounting/finance department. I work for one of the largest companies in the world, and our accounting department rocks. So many positions to move around to and move up in. I worked at a smaller company before and there was very little room to grow. They also value furthering education and hard work.

    I have a friend who has worked for one of the big four for 11 years now and he's been able to move around a lot within that company, he's not even doing auditing work anymore, more on the consulting side (which is a lot more fun I think). Granted he's with one of the big four so again, lots of opportunities to move around.

    This isn't a slight at smaller companies but they need to treat their accountants better, make them feel valued instead of an inconvenience they have to deal with.

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    I have no desire to be a public accountant but my company wants me to be a CPA so...

    I guess it depends on what your goals are long-term. I know in my area currently public accounting is hemorrhaging employees so there are a lot of opportunities available.

    I left public and went to a multi-family office and I kind of regret the decision. It's a smaller company, but they seem to be growing faster than they are really planning for, so there's not much work to spread around. I spend a lot of time bored and begging other accountants for work (I'm the newest in this department – 6 months in). I am actually interviewing with a public accounting firm this week and I am almost excited at the prospect of going back. I thought my job would be more fun and diverse, but it's not turning out that way.

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    Ethics - 95
    Licensed in IL & MO

    There's a big overlap with CPA firms and law firms. As such, public accounting attracts a lot of psychos and villainous cut throats. After two years I bailed out of public after getting my license and got into governmental finance work. I cant tell you how nice it is to work with normal people.

    In public, you exercise “professional skepticism” towards your own firm more than the clients. You always have a target on your back, especially if you dont kiss ass.


    These are highly personal questions that only you can answer, especially in terms of whether partner is “worth it”, or whether you should do public/private.

    My only advice would be that internal audit, and audit in general, is increasingly changing with automation…and if you want to stay in that area, I'd recommend taking some IT courses/certs.

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    Aaron and always remember, YMMV

    I profit from your CPE frustration. You're welcome.

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