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Accountants: Do you like your job?

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

  1. Saltricks

    Saltricks Senior member

    Messages:
    763
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Location:
    Walnut, CA
    A little background:

    I graduated from UCI with a degree in poli sci with a good GPA. Decided law school wasn't for me, so I started working in sales in the health care industry and am in the process of starting a consultancy business with some of my friends who have complementary knowledge on the health care industry. Now I've always felt that I wanted to go into administration/CFO/CEO positions but I feel underqualified as I have no real paper credentials besides my experience in the field. I have been taking classes at community college to fulfill the business/accounting units to get my CPA, after which I will probably get an MBA. Does this sound appropriate for someone wishing to go into a CFO position? Should I get experience at a big4 and would that even be possible if I was not a finance/business major?
     
  2. Harrymoto

    Harrymoto Member

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    Oct 2, 2011
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  3. timothycook

    timothycook New Member

    Messages:
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    Jun 22, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I've been reading up on corporate finance, and it sound awesome! Definately something I want to go into. Are any of you financial analysts/CFO's who can tell me the finer points about the job??
     
  4. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    

    So far so good. It's only a few weeks in so I'm still getting settled and learning my role day by day. Thus far it seems like a more relaxed pace. Im still getting used to being a very small cog in a very big machine - a far cry from taking a birds eye view to audit an entire company's year in 2 weeks. Ask me how I feel after year-end and it might be a different story.

    Also, for all the guys considering the profession or in it, check out this blog http://www.goingconcern.com - great tabloid style blog for accountants. Lots of other accountants all going through the same thing venting and sharing the inside track on things like firm salaries. It's daily reading for me now because it keeps me in tune.
     
  5. pokey07

    pokey07 Senior member

    Messages:
    464
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    Jan 7, 2008
    Yeah, I've been reading that blog a lot lately.

    I actually majored in economics and consider going back to school for accounting from time to time. It's been either dead end jobs or unemployment for me since graduation.
     
  6. Texasmade

    Texasmade Senior member

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    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    

    Financial analyst is a pretty vague title. You could be doing bank reconciliations and posting JE's all day to doing cash flow forecasts and other financial modeling. A lot of it depends on the company.
     
  7. mjro88

    mjro88 Member

    Messages:
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    Sep 29, 2009
    Location:
    NYC Metro Area
    

    I have run into very few accountants that care about anything but debits and credits.
     
  8. rossoz

    rossoz Senior member

    Messages:
    585
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    Jun 19, 2012
    I am a late starter as I graduated from Univ of AZ in 1980 at age 36. I'm a CPA in industry, not public accounting. I am the Treasurer and CFO for a small company (65 employees) in northern Virginia. I love my job. I have a staff of two full time and one part time employees. Occasionally I do it all and get to do almost all of it my way. I do report to the president and Bd of Dir, but they rarely ask anything of me that takes more than a few minutes to answer. I work 4 days a week and my commute is about 10 minutes on a good day, 15 to 20 on a bad day. I wear nice slacks, sport shirt, and loafers almost daily. On Friday we have a casual dress code and I sometimes wear jeans.

    I encourage young people to consider accounting as a profession because I find it satisfying and it pays well enough. If you can go directly from college to one of the big firms, you will most likely never hurt for a well paying job. The first few years can be boring, but once you get beyond the basics it can be fun and satisfying. As stated earlier, jumping from public accounting to industry is the way to go for most. Just be patient.

    My responsibilities include, without limitation: payroll, contracts, banking, investments, insurance, leases, taxes, Government reporting, invoicing, cost accounting, fringe benefits management, ESOP trustee, budgeting, and a lot of other stuff. Like I said I sometimes do it all myself. I am never bored.

    Cheers,

    This was not intended to be a resume. :<)
     
  9. Flame

    Flame Senior member

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    1° 22' 0" N / 103° 48' 0" E
    I'm graduating next spring with a bachelor's in accountancy. How are job/career prospects for the Big 4? Thanks in advance.
     
  10. Texasmade

    Texasmade Senior member

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    Houston, TX
    

    Good. Be prepared to work. A lot. You're going to be giving up weekends, parties, and if you're in audit that doesn't do Financial Services your New Year's Eve. You're going to be eating hours left and right.
     
  11. Flame

    Flame Senior member

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    1° 22' 0" N / 103° 48' 0" E
    ^Only for the first 3-4 years before becoming team manager, assuming I stay, or get my CPA and become a controller elsewhere?
     
  12. longskate88

    longskate88 Senior member

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    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    I've been in public audit at a regional firm for about 1.5 years now...first thing to do is get your CPA (especially if the firm pays for Becker and they give you a bonus for passing). I don't think the hours lighten up for a long time, as a new Staff you're sheltered under the "veil of ignorance" so to speak, but after a few years and being promoted to Senior they expect more responsibility for keeping jobs moving, finalizing binders, etc. Everyone I work with says Senior (years 2/3-5/6) is the hardest work and longest hours.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  13. Texasmade

    Texasmade Senior member

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    No, managers work a shit load. They just don't charge all of the hours. Also, years 3-5 you're a senior associate in the big 4 not a team manager unless you're at PwC then its years 3-6 as senior. I've also never seen anyone become a controller after only 3-4 years in public unless they had prior experience as an industry accountant.
     
  14. Ebichuman

    Ebichuman Senior member

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    North and East from the centre
    ^ This. I spent a looong time at a Big 4 firm and can vouch for that. If you're dreaming of a partner track, work never ends. If you're thinking of going to industry after a few years, you'll get a reprieve, somewhat.
     
  15. Wade

    Wade Senior member

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    May 15, 2012
    ^Any of you guys have tips on how to land an internship at a Big 4? What do the interviewer look for aside from good grades? I'm going to be a sophomore in the fall. Hoping to get an internship for summer of 2013 (this doesn't have to be a big name firm) but I'd like to have a Big 4 or some other well known accounting firm as an internship in the summer after my junior year. Currently GPA is 3.38 but planning on getting that 3.5+ hopefully. Is it going to be a problem if I haven't really taken any accounting classes? By the end of spring semester 2013, I would be done with an intro accounting class but my school doesn't let us take any higher courses until junior year so I feel like that might put me behind others.
     
  16. Ebichuman

    Ebichuman Senior member

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    Jun 22, 2011
    Location:
    North and East from the centre
    Wade, if you hadn't taken any accounting classes, why would you want to intern at Big 4? For the accounting/audit stream you'd be at a disadvantage, for consulting/advisory it might be easier. If you get through the initial sort and start talking to recruiters, do that - a lot, attend school sessions, presentations etc and network. Reach out to any school alumni that might come to represent the employer. I think there were a few other threads with similar discussions - search for them. And good luck!
     
  17. SJ0323

    SJ0323 Member

    Messages:
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    Jul 20, 2012
    Hey wade, I would definitely reccommend checking with some professors in the Accounting Dept at your school on when students typically do internships because in most cases theres almost a path students take. I am a rising senior and our school has a 5-year Undergrad/MAcc Program and the students here tend to internships during the Spring Semester of their senior year, which gives students plenty of time to take the basic Intermediate Accounting and Auditing/Tax Classes.

    As for tips on landing Big 4 internship I definitely would reccommend looking into the Summer Leadership Conferences some of the firms host. I'm a pretty similar student compared to you and did local leadership conferences with three Big 4 firms and got offers from all three before Campus recruiting has even begun.

    As long as you try and network with the recruiters, have decent GPA, have some extracurriculars (Ones w/ leadership position helps), and appear to be a decent guy to work with you shouldnt have much trouble getting an internship. If you have any other questions shoot me a message though.
     
  18. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    

    Thought I'd update this thread since I've been working the new job in industry for 9 months now (previously a senior associate at a big4 firm) - you could probably see from my posting history i was pretty miserable at one point. Now I'm settled in my new role - it's not a thrill-ride everyday because it is accounting, but I do enjoy the balance. Part of my time is pretty straight-forward review of monthly JE's and reconciliations - the other part of the time is tackling issues for our department. Overtime is minimal, compensation is good - I'm fairly happy at the moment. :)
     
  19. longskate88

    longskate88 Senior member

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    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego
    Fidel,

    Thanks for sharing...I'm about 1.5 years into Public but an exit route is always on my mind. How long did you spend in public before leaving? One of our clients mentioned the other day that he enjoys private more since you actually make operational decisions that really affect the company...like how you're going to make payroll next month, acquisition decisions, etc. If you have any other thoughts on public vs. private I'd be interested to hear. Thanks,
     
  20. FidelCashflow

    FidelCashflow Senior member

    Messages:
    4,328
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    I left about 4 years into my career - really anytime after you get your designation you can go into industry - everyone is open to hiring a newly minted CPA. About a year after people get their designation is usually when they start thinking about whether they want to make manager or go elsewhere. The advice I give to all my friends at the firm is don't be in a hurry to leave - if you are with a good firm, you will get plenty of job offers. I know people who were just so desperate to get out they took the first job that came their way and they regretted it because their thinking was "it can't be any worse than my current job" - not "I want this job."

    As an auditor I was pretty single minded - make sure the client follows GAAP - I didn't really care how they get there as long as they get there and I wasn't interested in anything else involved in their job. Now that I'm in industry I am starting to appreciate those other things - looking at GAAP is maybe 20% of my job - I have to be cognizant of how each decision affects the bottom line earnings which affect share prices, how each decision is impacted by our regulatory environment, how it affects customers and project managers as well as how it affects my team's workload. There are really alot more dimensions to how we do things beyond just following GAAP.
     
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