Most accounting professionals eventually leave public accounting. Now is the time to see what’s happening in the market and to consider your options. Not sure you’re ready to move? It still makes good sense to learn about the opportunities available for accounting professionals coming out of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. There are some especially exciting and lucrative prospects for Big 4 professionals. Here are the top 10 reasons to consider a change now:
1. Take the time after busy season to consider other opportunities. While it may seem that there is never a good time to leave public accounting, once busy season ends, take time to do research, start networking and go on interviews. And the sooner you start, the better poised you’ll be to land a new job. As the months go on, your competition will get more intense.
2. There are opportunities for every level. Private companies are hungry to hire public accounting professionals, with experience ranging from two to ten years. Coming out of a Big Four (or Regional or even smaller) accounting firm, chances are there are multiple positions for you to consider. WinterWyman is helping some of our best clients find audit professionals in the areas of:
- Senior Accounting
- Financial Reporting
- Financial Analysis
- Internal Audit – both non travel and travel
3. There are a wide range of industry opportunities. Cutting edge bio/pharma companies, explosive growth technology companies, worldwide medical device manufacturers, top retailers – all of these industries are targeting professionals from Big Four firms. For example, a hot technology company with double digit growth is hiring its first ever Director of SEC Reporting. It’s a great company and the newly created role will allow you to put your stamp on the position. Whatever your area of specialty, you can review a range of job descriptions in the industries that interest you. You are a hot commodity and the choices are yours.
4. You are in high demand. Public accounting is a fantastic training ground, and because of that, you are highly sought after. You can grasp the technical issues, you have solid presentation skills, you can think on your feet and you have a stellar work ethic. Finance departments desperately want and need what you have to offer. Now is a great time to take what you’ve learned in public accounting and apply it in a new way. The grass may in fact, be greener.
5. Your quality of life will improve. You can have more of your life back. While you may still be managing month-end, quarter-end and year-end work, the hours are nothing like what you’ve experienced in public accounting. There are so many unique, exciting and challenging opportunities where you don’t have to kill yourself with hours. If you have interests outside of work, are thinking of starting a family, or just want more time away from the office, now is the time to explore opportunities that will give you back some quality of life.
6. You don’t want to stay too long. Compared to private industry accounting, if you stay in public accounting for more than eight years, it becomes more and more difficult to leave. In some ways, a straight public background can be a disadvantage because you are competing professionally with folks who have that much sought-after combination of public/private experience. If you know public accounting is not for you in the long run, don’t wait too long to get out.
7. The transition will be smooth. Some people think there is a big transition moving from public accounting to private industry. Yes, it is different. In most cases, you are doing the work versus reviewing it. Your valuable skills and experience will enable you to learn quickly. In my experience, professionals making the transition from public to private hit very few bumps. And you’ll be exposed to new and interesting job components like operations, forecasting, systems issues and more.
8. You will only have one “client.” Many accounting professionals coming out of public accounting firms say they are tired of having so many clients with the expectation of being technical experts in a variety of industries. By making the move to private industry, you will be responsible for one company in one industry. You’ll know where you are going every day, you’ll be deeply involved in the industry and you’ll know your business inside and out. You will be an expert at everything related to your job.
9. The compensation may be better than you think. You do not necessarily have to take a step back in compensation when you make the move from public to private accounting. Between generous salaries, stock options/RSUs, strong bonus programs and highly coveted benefits packages, going private can be good for you and your family.
10. It never hurts to look. By investigating opportunities in private industry, you’ll educate yourself as to the types of positions available. Perhaps you’re thinking of an accounting management role, a financial reporting position, or even a position in internal audit or Analytics. With a public accounting foundation, you have many options.
There are so many exciting and growing companies that are looking aggressively for Big Four talent – job descriptions indicate “Big Four Required” or “Big Four Preferred.” Start investigating the options, talk to one of our recruiters and learn what’s going on in the accounting job market. Now may be the perfect time for you take advantage of your Big Four background and make a change that will benefit every aspect of your life.
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