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Accountants: Do you like your job?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by longskate88, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. Ringo

    Ringo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Aug 17, 2007
    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.
     
  2. Milhouse

    Milhouse Well-Known Member

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    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. [​IMG]
     
  3. globetrotter

    globetrotter Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  4. Johnny_5

    Johnny_5 Well-Known Member

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    In the woods
    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?
     
  5. longskate88

    longskate88 Well-Known Member

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    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 [​IMG] .

    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 [​IMG]

    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.
     
  6. Viktri

    Viktri Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    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.
     
  7. leonuk

    leonuk Active Member

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    May 21, 2008
    Location:
    Oxford, England
    I love my job- I wonder if my coworker who loves this board will read this?hahaha
     
  8. millionaire75

    millionaire75 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  9. mkarim

    mkarim Well-Known Member

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    Sep 24, 2008
    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. [​IMG]

    Thanks! [​IMG]


    Yes, I took some Accounting classes in my MBA program but couldn't stand them! Too cookie-cutter and boring, IMO.
     
  10. longskate88

    longskate88 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    San Diego
    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)
     
  11. Texasmade

    Texasmade Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    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)


    If you decide to go accounting, get your CPA first. That's the first designation any accountant should get if you want to be taken seriously as an accountant.
     
  12. millionaire75

    millionaire75 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 14, 2007
    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)


    A lot depends on the size of the company. If you work for a huge company, each department and line of business will have its own reporting functions. Most of the time, these all roll up (or sent their numbers to) into corporate reporting which produces 10k's, annual statements, regulatory reports, etc.
     
  13. longskate88

    longskate88 Well-Known Member

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    San Diego
    A lot depends on the size of the company. If you work for a huge company, each department and line of business will have its own reporting functions. Most of the time, these all roll up (or sent their numbers to) into corporate reporting which produces 10k's, annual statements, regulatory reports, etc.

    Thanks, makes sense. What do you think would be the most interesting job title to hold with an accounting degree? I'm not too far in, I could still go Finance, but I'm at a state school without an exemplary GPA, so a position like an iBanker is out, plus I'm looking for LESS hours, not 90 a week [​IMG]

    To clarify, is there any position in accounting that doesn't solely involve reporting things that have already happened to people who probably won't use your reports anyway? Would that be Finance? Sounds very Office Space to me...
     
  14. Serg

    Serg Well-Known Member

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    Working in audit opens you to a lot more experiences then one would think, however the overall enjoyability of it depends on the your teams. So no one can say working for a Big 4, Mid-tier or small firm will be good or bad because it is 50% your attitude 50% who you get stuck working with.

    I really enjoy it (big4).
     
  15. millionaire75

    millionaire75 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, makes sense. What do you think would be the most interesting job title to hold with an accounting degree? I'm not too far in, I could still go Finance, but I'm at a state school without an exemplary GPA, so a position like an iBanker is out, plus I'm looking for LESS hours, not 90 a week [​IMG]

    To clarify, is there any position in accounting that doesn't solely involve reporting things that have already happened to people who probably won't use your reports anyway? Would that be Finance? Sounds very Office Space to me...


    If you can get in, Big Four experience is very important. As others have said, it opens up a lot of doors. My advice is to find an industry you like (consumer, retail, banking, real estate, etc) and try to work on those clients before you jump ship. Unfortunately, a lot of accounting is very dry and most jobs report on what has happened in the "past". You can get jobs in planning and analysis type groups that combine reporting with forecasting. Try to go for jobs that have "forecasting" in the job description. I've seen a lot of my colleagues jump to vastly different jobs. It depends on your motivation.
     
  16. Clown Shoes

    Clown Shoes Member

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    NYC
    I did a tad over 2.5 years with Deloitte and then another year with BDO Seidman before leaving public. The part I enjoyed was dealing with the clients on engagements thats about it. Hours were long and there were only a few slow weeks throughout the year as they pack your schedule tight (the firm doesnt make money if you arent billing for a specific job) Traveling sucked and you actually worked harder on travel clients due to the limited time to finish the field work. Most meals were expensed with Deloitte (BDO was a rarity), they both had cool parties but in the end I was over worked and underpaid with a not so great quality of life.
    I went to BDO as a CPA with the hopes that a smaller firm would be better. The hours were a tad less but the grass wasnt greener by any means. Now Im out of accounting all together aside from doing personal taxes on the side for a small list of people but Im loving life. The Deloitte experience carries a lot of weight on a resume and if you leave public as a senior and jump to private they will love your big 4 experience as much smaller firms dont allow you access to the size and types of clients that utilize the larger firms. The government even recognized Deloitte as a house hold name which made interviews a bit easier.
     
  17. SWiFt08

    SWiFt08 Member

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    Dec 28, 2008
    My dad is a CFO for the UN, 15 years and counting. I guess he likes it lol.
     
  18. longskate88

    longskate88 Well-Known Member

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    I did a tad over 2.5 years with Deloitte and then another year with BDO Seidman before leaving public. The part I enjoyed was dealing with the clients on engagements thats about it. Hours were long and there were only a few slow weeks throughout the year as they pack your schedule tight (the firm doesnt make money if you arent billing for a specific job) Traveling sucked and you actually worked harder on travel clients due to the limited time to finish the field work. Most meals were expensed with Deloitte (BDO was a rarity), they both had cool parties but in the end I was over worked and underpaid with a not so great quality of life.
    I went to BDO as a CPA with the hopes that a smaller firm would be better. The hours were a tad less but the grass wasnt greener by any means. Now Im out of accounting all together aside from doing personal taxes on the side for a small list of people but Im loving life. The Deloitte experience carries a lot of weight on a resume and if you leave public as a senior and jump to private they will love your big 4 experience as much smaller firms dont allow you access to the size and types of clients that utilize the larger firms. The government even recognized Deloitte as a house hold name which made interviews a bit easier.


    Thanks for the info. What are you doing now? Do you think hours would be fewer at a private firm? [​IMG]
     
  19. stylinnn

    stylinnn Member

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    Oct 23, 2008
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    New York
    My sister is an accountant, and I work in Finance. It seems like you should stick with accounting and go work for a Big-4 firm. A big 4 job is the gold standard in accounting. If you went for finance, only i-banking will give you the options a big-4 job will give you when you're done.

    My sister doesn't like her job, but it's bearable. She'll probably leave after she has 3 years experience, but she'll have a lifetime of a big-4 on her resume.
     
  20. longskate88

    longskate88 Well-Known Member

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    My sister is an accountant, and I work in Finance. It seems like you should stick with accounting and go work for a Big-4 firm. A big 4 job is the gold standard in accounting. If you went for finance, only i-banking will give you the options a big-4 job will give you when you're done.

    My sister doesn't like her job, but it's bearable. She'll probably leave after she has 3 years experience, but she'll have a lifetime of a big-4 on her resume.


    Thanks! Only question, what will she do after leaving the Big4 if she doesn't like accounting? [​IMG]
     

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