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Accountants: Do you like your job? - Page 2

post #16 of 273
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spatlese View Post
That's it. Again, I should let the accountants on the board weigh in, but many I know didn't have ambitions to advance in public practice. Once in a corporation, you can look into other areas of finance or beyond.
True, I think that's helpful for me. In a private firm, you'll literally be working next to people in various other positions, so if one fits you better, you can just work your way into it. I picture Public as everyone in the place doing the same job, so you can't see the other positions in Finance, etc. as easily. Would you still recommend going for a big Public firm to start, just for the experience?
post #17 of 273
What spatlese is saying is exactly what my dad does. He works on Pfizers various budgets and invests in new projects, having an accounting background certainly hasn't hurt him.
post #18 of 273
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by randallr View Post
What spatlese is saying is exactly what my dad does. He works on Pfizers various budgets and invests in new projects, having an accounting background certainly hasn't hurt him.
Thanks, sounds like a nice variety of tasks. Could someone go straight into a similar position, or do you have to go Big4 first? Sounds like the public Big4 is the worst part...is that the point, if you make it through that, you'll make it through anything? Shoot, my gf's friend is an accountant for Volcom, gets free clothes and stuff all the time. If he makes a living salary, I'd be happy with that at this point.
post #19 of 273
The people that work for him mostly have some accounting experience but not always big 4, just some accounting background. Not sure what all his tasks are he doesnt talk about it much.
post #20 of 273
I am a CPA in a large midsize public accounting firm as an auditor. I won't say I hate my job but I certainly don't love it. I've been working at my job for a little over 2 years with the past several months as a senior associate.

As a senior audit associate, I don't deal with the numbers as much as my staff do. I usually teach my staff have to audit and focus on audit issues. I can see why a lot of people don't like being an auditor at a public accounting firm since in order to be good at your job you have to be a jerk to your clients from time to time. For the most part if you start in public accounting, your starting salary is pretty good, but as you start working you really become underpaid until you make it to partner.

Most people leave public accounting after their 2nd and fourth year for a 20-30% pay increase and a large reduction in hours/stress. At my school, Texas Tech, most of the finance students got crappy jobs while the accounting majors usually went to Big 4.
post #21 of 273
Accounting isn't the most exciting thing by any means. However, if you enjoy it (and some people definitely do), then it can be pretty good for you, as it's a fairly predictable and safe/steady job. It's up to you to figure out if it's something you will enjoy doing.

Experience at a Big Four can be pretty solid and open up other doors, but most of those doors will be in accounting-related areas. Making the switch from accounting to private equity or hedge funds will be extremely difficult. You just have to do your research and have an idea of what it is you think you want to do and base your decision off that.

My general advice is this: if you want to join a Big Four and/or be a CPA, major in accounting (you need the credits to sit for the exam). If not, major in finance and minor in accounting. A solid accounting background will be very helpful in any finance role. Whatever you do, make sure you get that GPA up, otherwise any job will be tough to get.
post #22 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by longskate88 View Post
Suppose I switch it up and major and Finance right now (Hell, I'm going to be there forever anyways..), what kind of fields are out there for someone from a state college with a 3.0?

To do your job, would someone with an accounting degree and finance minor (or vice versa) be qualified?

PLUS, these days, would a finance degree be a smart move, with all the layoffs? I won't be an iBanker or anything, but I wouldn't mind something like a financial advisor.

Well, again, I'm not an accountant, so I really am speaking in generalities here.

Many of my colleagues from my MBA program did finance or accounting as undergrads and their jobs in corporate (pre-MBA) looked roughly identical to each other. The ones that had CPAs after undergrad usually worked big 4 and then jumped ship for an MBA, with plans to switch careers. Yet, there were plenty of finance people coming back for an MBA in accounting. Grass is always greener.

They were all faster than me with spreadsheets. . . . until it came time to do statistics.
post #23 of 273
a lot of my friends are CFO's who started out as acountants. if you don't love accounting, then you might not want to do it, on the other hand, there aren't that many unemployed accountants - its a good way to get a job and leverage it to something that you might like more.
post #24 of 273
I am in the same predicament as you longskate, and I am scared of making a mistake at such a critical point in my life. Personally speaking, I think Big 4 really is what you make of it. I have done a lot of research and spoke to many accountants. There are people who hate it and say it's boring, and there are people who absolutely love it. You really need to immerse yourself and look at it as a learning experience instead of just another job. I think all of these accounting threads have come to the same conclusion: Big 4 is GOLD on a resume. Can it suck? Definitely. But you need to pay your dues in public auditing, and absorb as much as you can. Make connections so it is easier to transition into something else.

I have read a lot about getting a job in finance too. From what I have gathered, they are not very concerned about your major, although a business major would probably be preferred, but more about your way of thinking and solving problems. So in theory, if you majored in coconut husking and you have a good resume that can land you an interview, an offer might come your way. I could be wrong though. Maybe someone more qualified in finance can chime in.

The entry level can suck in finance too, unless you can land a sick internship that puts you ahead of all the others in the rat race. Do you really want to try to enter the finance field given the current financial crisis?
post #25 of 273
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny_5 View Post
I am in the same predicament as you longskate, and I am scared of making a mistake at such a critical point in my life. Personally speaking, I think Big 4 really is what you make of it. I have done a lot of research and spoke to many accountants. There are people who hate it and say it's boring, and there are people who absolutely love it. You really need to immerse yourself and look at it as a learning experience instead of just another job. I think all of these accounting threads have come to the same conclusion: Big 4 is GOLD on a resume. Can it suck? Definitely. But you need to pay your dues in public auditing, and absorb as much as you can. Make connections so it is easier to transition into something else.

I have read a lot about getting a job in finance too. From what I have gathered, they are not very concerned about your major, although a business major would probably be preferred, but more about your way of thinking and solving problems. So in theory, if you majored in coconut husking and you have a good resume that can land you an interview, an offer might come your way. I could be wrong though. Maybe someone more qualified in finance can chime in.

The entry level can suck in finance too, unless you can land a sick internship that puts you ahead of all the others in the rat race. Do you really want to try to enter the finance field given the current financial crisis?

My Dad's work has a financial dept. that has a co-op program. I applied last year but didn't take it seriously, this time I'm going to have him hand in my resume and talk to some people personally. It's a government job, so I think it will be pretty secure, and they pay for most your school and then offer you a job when you graduate, assuming they like you of course. He's retiring in a couple years though, so gotta get on it .

Otherwise, I'll prolly stick with the accounting major (I start taking the 6 unit serious accounting classes this coming semester). If I HATE that, I might try finance and hope the co-op comes through for me.

Otherwise, I'll just get out with either degree, and go work at Costco or something, or just be a private accountant for a little company and move up internally...though it would still be accounting

Do you know anything about the CMA test/ career? Management accounting, I need to research it, but sounds like it might be a little more variety of duties.
post #26 of 273
I've been a CA student for a few months now and I enjoy what I do. I've heard the CPA exam is easy and plan on working towards it after I finish writing the UFE but before I get my CA designation. It isn't for everyone. In my position I spend alot of time interacting with people (I'm not sure if this is normal as I've kind of been fast-tracked by my senior managers - I do NOT do/attend Y/E meeting but the other stuff). To me, the numbers issue is a wash. I don't need to do many (well, what I would call) complex calculations. I mostly build an argument using caseware and reference materials. What I've learned so far is as a student you must be able to pay attention to detail, communicate effectively, listen effectively, and be willing to put in the hours to get stuff done. For what it is worth, most of the students are significantly older than me where I work so the standards I've been exposed to in terms of skills required may be different from the big4 since they hire younger students who typically don't already have the skills (I'm 22, the 1 other student hired with me is 28 and other students hired years before are around 27-28 with the exception of a girl who is 23 hired last year). Apparently, no one has ever failed the UFE at the firm. I work at a smaller firm. Pay is significantly higher but the responsibilities are greater as well. ATM I've got 11 NTRs and 2 audits in review and 4 NTRs in process. My friends in the big4 (who started in the summer so have 2x the work experience as I do) have maybe 1-3 files to work on at a time. They also get no overtime. Public Practise = working at an accounting firm that provides services for clients Moving into industry = you work for a firm as a CFO/Controller/Manager/etc preparing the companies FS/consulting/etc for them inhouse. You literally move into a non-accounting firm.
post #27 of 273
I love my job- I wonder if my coworker who loves this board will read this?hahaha
post #28 of 273
Accounting can have a wide range of positions, so be sure to choose carefully. If you don't want dry/boring typical accounting, then stay away from corporate reporting and regulatory reporting positions.
post #29 of 273
Quote:
Originally Posted by longskate88 View Post
For the accounting folks on here, do you like what you do? Particularly if you're a CPA, though Private opinions would be helpful too.

For the record, I haven't had enough real world experience, besides basic intro classes, to know whether I like "numbers" or not (LOL, everyone always asks, "well, do you like numbers??" as if that's the magic answer)

I'm trying to add to my wintertime, out-of-school desperation at the bleakness of the future.

Thanks!

Yes, I took some Accounting classes in my MBA program but couldn't stand them! Too cookie-cutter and boring, IMO.
post #30 of 273
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by millionaire75 View Post
Accounting can have a wide range of positions, so be sure to choose carefully. If you don't want dry/boring typical accounting, then stay away from corporate reporting and regulatory reporting positions.


Isn't any private accountant basically a 'corporate reporter', or is that a specialized position? I picture most accounting jobs as generating reports based on past figures.

I think the CMA sounds more interesting, since it seems to encompass some economics, budgeting, strategy, and investment planning (at least the test does, whether the actual job does)
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