Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a senior-level job with a regulator that has jurisdiction over accounting firms. (Don’t want to say much more, because it would be self-identifying.)
I think my credentials may be good enough to land a partner-level job with a Big Four to help with compliance and whatnot. I’d like to pursue this some time over the next several years.
But how should I make the approach? Should I contact the firms directly at the appropriate time? Or go through a headhunter? If a headhunter, which ones have the best contacts for senior positions?
Thanks for your help.
–Fence-crosser (sorry, I couldn’t come up with a witty name)
Give yourself some credit – your nickname is wittier than most (and by most, I mean people usually sign their first and last names and add their Social Security number for good measure).
After a quick (and confidential) search for your background on LinkedIn, I have a much better understanding of your seniority and depth of experience in the regulatory space. Very impressive. Considering your educational background (for those of you playing at home – very strong undergrad and advanced degree programs), I have no doubt that you’ve made your mark within the inner circles of both your industry and your city (major US market).
Before we talk about how to go about pursuing opportunities within the Big 4, let’s talk about this so-called “partner-like” level where you’d like to land. Without a CPA you cannot be a partner, however principals are a non-certified equivalent and directors are nothing to slouch at, either. You’d most easily transition into either 1) a firm’s internal professional practice, helping decipher government regulation and how said firm’s practices are affected by changing laws or 2) a firm’s advisory group, aiding clients with the same issues. The upsides – both monetarily and network-wise – would be in advisory. But do not overlook being an internal expert; they are paid handsomely for their work.
When it comes to seeking out the Big 4’s interest in your particular skillset, I suggest starting with their in-house Experienced Hire recruiters. All of the firms are hot to hire people with your experience. Look into their publicly posted opportunities first; either you will find something in line with your background or at the very least find a name to contact. Check out last week’s post for links to each firm’s experienced hire pages. Your skillset would be an exceptional value added to a firm’s compliance/regulatory departments. Best of luck in transitioning.
Readers – are you familiar with this kind of transition? Have you made the move yourself? Email Caleb and he’ll connect you with Fence-crosser should you be able to help. Are you a recruiter at one of the Big 4? Do the same – contact Caleb and make this happen.