December 14, 2018 at 10:28 am #2114154
Hi! I have 3 years of experience in corporate accounting (financial services industry). I would like to transition to public accounting because I feel like I need that experience for my future as a CPA. I have passed the CPA exam and should be licensed in early 2019. Most job openings I see in public accounting require prior public experience, or they are for students. Any tips on what my approach should be? Have others successfully entered public after working only in corporate? Thank you!(If it helps, I'm in Chattanooga Tn, so relocating is not an option and not all big 4's or regional firms have locations here.)December 14, 2018 at 10:37 am #2114172
Never worked in corporate before. However, I wanted to chime in and say that at least in my experience, I find it is easier to make moves from a non-traditional background to smaller firms. In my area, smaller firms routinely consider associates from a variety of backgrounds. The B4/other national firms have established recruiting programs where they pretty much extensively hire entry-level from universities. Most of their outside hires will be for “Senior” level positions or higher. Having the CPA license of course gives you a huge advantage over other candidates. Good luck.December 17, 2018 at 2:54 pm #2117478
Your experience in private accounting does not translate well into Big4 public audit or tax. Recruiters will treat you as a staff 1, or entry level. You may need an internship at Big4 before being considered for full time offer – that is just how it is these days, especially in competitive job markets. BTW, Big4 recruiters ask top 3 cities and relocating is always on the table – including a lot of travel. If you cant relocate, then your answer may be to get into a smaller accounting firm, which you should have no trouble at all. I recommend having a strong CV on reason for change, then you should be good to go.May 23, 2019 at 1:09 pm #2421792
I wanted to post an update to my original question since I know this has also been asked by others on this forum. In January I was offered a job from a regional CPA firm in my area. The lack of prior public accounting experience was a non-issue in my interview, however as others have pointed out, I have basically started at the bottom and been treated as a new college grad, despite my 3.5 years of corporate experience and CPA license. Given the choice I would still accept the job again since I have already learned more in my 4 months here than I did in over 3 years at my corporate job. I know all situations are different but I wanted to post this perspective for others who are wondering if public experience is something they should go for!May 24, 2019 at 3:51 am #2423088
I m also in corporate. It's great to read different experiences as it gives an insight into certain expectations. Personally dont know when I would make the move if I do. I know this might be a little personal, and if you wouldn't mind sharing , was the salary also more or less the same as your previous going into public. Or do they tend to offer the entry levels in general.
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