**** The most CONFUSED 40 YR OLD in AMERICA ****

This topic contains 11 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  jeff 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    CPA Elf

    So life basically sucks (at least in my mind)

    I just turned 40 and realized that I have been sitting in OIL & GAS too long.
    I have worked for my megacorp in Texas for 8 years and currently make more money than a mid-level CPA
    The problem is that I really like accounting and forensic accounting.
    So I decided to go back to school and complete all my CPA Requirements (got done in August 2018)

    I am currently applying to two separate genres of jobs
    a) CPA FIRMS Accounting jobs -I am not having much luck with those since they either want a CPA or a fresh graduate
    b) Accounting jobs in OIL & GAS (I am having luck with those since I know the job inside out).

    I am currently studying for my FAR and AUD but every time I think about it, I feel extremely discouraged because I KNOW if I get that next Accounting job in Oil & Gas – I will be stuck in that never-ending Oil & Gas cycle and never get out of it to make it to a CPA firm. It just makes me depressed and want to throw away my CPA books in a corner. I didn't want to be an accountant when I was 22, I was too busy with chasing my dream of being a Compliance Officer at an intl. bank and after that was done, I hopped onto the Oil & Gas train and now I cant get off it. I AM VERY THANKFUL FOR A JOB AND PLAN TO KEEP IT BY GOD'S GRACE -but I just feel depressed thinking about how I am going to try to get to becoming a CPA, let alone trying to get my foot in the door.

    Has anyone here got their foot into an accounting firm? I cant seem to even get a call back! Am I just too old and should just stick to making money in Oil & Gas?

    My approach to this issue – Keep applying to jobs in both genres and keep studying for the CPA and pray…the path will lead where Its meant to lead…. when the time comes…..(this approach is extremely difficult to practice by the way, because its like just hanging on and praying)

    Semi depressed and confused and discouraged in Texas



    Why do you want to leave your current company? It sounds from the first part of your post that you want to be more rounded professionally speaking but then say later you are looking for other jobs in oil and gas. Are you unable to get your experience sign off on?

    As far as public accounting, do you have a College network you can utilize? Even if you are an alum you can still go to meet the firms. You will be staff level more than likely.

    Have you looked into Big 4 consulting roles in oil and gas. You may actually be able to get a more senior role with your experience and also have experience working under a cpa.

    Almost always from my phone... please excuse my typos!

    All 4 passed - 2016

    CA CPA



    I've been there. I, too, would like to go into public but I make too much money now and have a family. Oddly enough, my second choice would be getting a job in a large O&G megacorp but they appear to have very specific hiring requirements as well. I currently work in a mid-sized private company pulling triple duty as a regional controller, global financial reporting manager, and as unofficial director of FP&A. But because I don't have 2 years public experience I am dog meat. Oh well.

    Since the two options above are out, I have decided I will either become a bigger fish in a smaller pond or will go and try to get lost in some other non-O&G megecorp. I see pros and cons of both. All I am waiting for is finishing my CPA, and waiting to get some experience on the implementation and being Admin for a new OneStream application we will be rolling out 1H19.

    At this point it is what it is. I made my bed back when I did not get into public when I had a chance right out of college.

    AUD - 82
    BEC - 75
    FAR - 81
    REG - NINJA in Training


    A friend of mine had a similar predicament. She ended up taking a part-time gig with a CPA firm in the evenings in order to to get her feet wet and actually decided that she liked industry better. She quit the CPA firm gig after a few months and realized she was better off where she was.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 81
    FAR - 84
    REG - 78
    Becker Self Study supplemented with Ninja MCQ's for BEC and REG.

    Licensed CPA in Louisiana.



    Elf – I'm in a similar situation. I'm over 40, I've been in industry my whole life, mostly O&G pipeline manufacturing. I would never want to go to a Big 4 firm from here. It would be a huge step back. Instead I'm close to finishing my CPA, I have my MBA and CFA as well, and I've worked up to a Controller role at a mid sized division of an international public corp. Even though we are still subject to the ups and downs of the oil industry, its not a bad gig. If you get into the right role, they aren't going to lay you off in a downturn, and the hours, culture, and paycheck of industry certainly beats that of the audit firms, unless you are the fractional % who make partner – and that's not going to happen starting out at our age.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 90
    FAR - 90
    REG - 92
    CFA charterholder (2009)


    @CPA elf – your initiative to go back to school AND take the CPA exams represents a strong commitment to accounting/audit. You can definitely get a job with an accounting firm. Make sure you explain that in a CV to accompany your resume. In your case, a CV is necessary to substantiate your reason for change. You should be able to get interviews with your renewed interest in CPA. Do you have a CV?

    Start making moves now as US stock markets indicate sell off and slowing economic growth. Companies may stop hiring soon to see what happens in the markets.



    Too many people place WAY too much emphasis on public. If you like following the herd, and want to be an “all-star accountant” (sarcastic tone), then by all means public is way. I know I'm not the only one in thinking that some of these accounting firms (especially the big4) try to overuse their leverage over prospective employees by acting like you must jump through every hoop for them in order to find success in life. This is not true, unless you want to be an “all-star accountant”. You can separate yourself from the herd by paving your own path in life. Don't let anyone try to sell you a pipe dream, only to leave you disappointed years later while slapping on a fake face and telling everyone that your “experience was worth it”. This is America! You can start your own business, work anywhere in private for the most part and be just fine. In my market, CPA is preferred but most don't say they require public experience. Some do, and you know what, who cares. If they NEED public experience, it's their loss. I can find 10 other employers that don't give a damn about Public experience.

    In my opinion, public accounting recruiters at the larger firms, want em young, inexperienced and thirsty. Leave it for the young tadpoles that eat it all up. You can always find your own way.

    2015: Becker Review

    FAR - 84

    BEC/AUD/REG - Let life get in the way...

    2018/2019: RogerCPA / Ninja

    BEC - 80

    FAR - 77 (Pretty sure Ninja audio saved me!)

    AUD -

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    THE MOST CONFUSED 40 YR OLD IN AMERICA starring Steve Carell? lol

    I would not be so focused on going into public. Accounting is big, just find a niche and get good at it. We are all in accounting to make a buck, as long as you are doing that you should be happy. Unless you don't like the work environment or something. Accounting is just a job, private or public all pretty much the same won't find much happiness from either.

    AUD - 89
    BEC - 99
    FAR - 77
    REG - 91




    SMH…people whining about public not being all that are the same people crying about not being able to move up..Take the easy way in life (industry) and you platueau early..

    Public is hard and not worth the stress later in life..as if youre over 40 its probably not going to advance your career as much as it would if you were under 30..

    Im a CPA ad SR associate at a firm in Chicago..and there are plenty of idiots in public accounting..mostly non cpas..that said they still kow 1000x more then people that work in industry..thats why public is so valuable..you run all sorts ofd different businesses..as opposed to tying numbers to a ledger and doing year end closes…

    If youre in private..stay in private and look to move into higher private roles..controller etc..Just my opinion..but you will have to start over at a staff level 1 if you switch from private to public..because thats what you are…the CPA is nice..but ITS CALLED CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT for a reason.


    Adam, aren't you a 33 year old senior making 80k in a HCOL area? You talk a lot of nonsense for someone who is waaayyyyy behind everyone else.

    AUD - 75
    BEC - 77
    FAR - 77
    REG - 76
    Licensed in VA


    I agree with 12tang. Public (esp Big 4) is a great career-booster if you are fresh out of school at 22 years old and don't have much of a life (kids, spouse, etc.), but it's not the only way to succeed in life, even as an accountant. Unless you just REALLY love tax or audit and insist on completely changing careers, I would stick to industry. The CPA is still valuable in industry and having knowledge in a big industry like oil and gas is super valuable for moving up to Controller, CFO, etc.

    Adam – I'm slightly confused on your outlook that industry is the “easy way”. Yes, there is better work-life balance in industry (generally), so maybe that's what you mean? But why would you want to make things harder for yourself if you can succeed and still have a life? I went straight into industry out of school other than a short tax internship and have increased my salary almost 100% in less than 5 years in a lower COL area. And guess what? I didn't have to work 80-hour weeks to do it. I consider that a win, but to each their own I guess. You continue doing it the “hard way” lol.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 82
    FAR - NINJA in Training
    REG - 86
    3 down, 1 to go!


    FYI – the OP posted this one post and that was it. Not sure if their circumstances have changed, but they haven't posted in 6 months.

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