It’s springtime and you’ve made the decision to look for a new position. Now you need a plan. First, narrow down what you want to do next by answering these four basic questions: What kind of work do you want to do? Stay in public accounting, but at a firm that is: larger and you’re […]
We’re in a weird space these days. The country is remarkably polarized when it comes to politics, and it’s said personal relationships have a lower chance of succeeding if the parties aren’t on the same political page. Yikes. So how do you navigate this landscape in the workplace, especially if your views are in the […]
There’s never been a better job market for CPAs… literally. You are in high demand. But finding a job is a challenge. Are the best opportunities on job boards? How do you network without sending a signal to your employer that you’re looking? We know a thing or two about how to get this done! […]
Whatever the reason you’ve decided to relocate, once you decide to move, it is important that you check out the area: housing, culture, schools, public transportation, commute times—and job opportunities. Because of the storied talent shortage, most accountants will have a relatively easy time finding employment in their new city. Still, having a roadmap for […]
It’s true! You can get a great job without using a headhunter. And you should consider doing it. Here’s why: The thousands of dollars in recruiting fees your employer pays could affect your starting salary, bonus and promotion potential. There’s some motivation for you! Not so many years ago, there were two really good ways to connect […]
As we tumble through the post-busy season spring, an untold number of recruiters are on the hunt for accounting professionals whose asses can fill the empty seats of their clients. Recruiters use a number of different tactics when pursuing talented accountants but one of the trickiest parts of this cat and mouse game has to be […]
In a few weeks, many of you plugging along through busy season will decide to call those incessant recruiters back and test the job market. Last week's report by Robert Half and published in the Journal of Accountancy miiiiight rain on your parade, at least in the short term. Ninety-one percent of CFOs said they don’t expect […]
From the mailbag:
I have been working as a Accounts Payable for 3 years. I don’t want to waste your time of explaining my disadvantages. One of my advantages is money. I have a large savings. I would like to give $30,000 to anyone who get me a job in Big 4. I am not talking about [a] bribe. I wish to know how to use advantages [sic].
Just don’t sit there, give the man some suggestions. All options are on the table. Bonus points for creativity.
If you have a career related question that also involves the CPA exam (like “should I take it before I try to get this awesome job at x firm?” or “Will I still get hired if I have a CPA and therefore scare the crap out of recruiters who want me to be as moldable to their whims as possible?”), please email me directly. Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org will just mean you getting trapped in Caleb’s inbox for weeks.
Now then, today’s reader question comes from a finance world immigrant looking to elbow his way into public accounting:
I graduated in 2005 with a Finance degree, I spent one year as a Staff Accountant then moved onto to become a Corporate Financial Analyst for the past 4 years. I am interested in making the change to public accounting and began the MSA program last year to get the requisite hours, I’ll be eligible for the CPA at the end of the Spring Semester but won’t quite be finished with the MSA program. There is the background…
…now my question is would I be better off staying in my current position and finishing the master’s program before I take the CPA and find a new job? Or would it be more beneficial for me to attempt to find a lower level job at a firm during the spring semester to start getting some experience, then attempting to take the CPA next fall? I’m eager for a change, but I would like to know what the best course of action might be and if it’s realistic to think I could find a CPA firm job before I have finished the master’s program or taken the CPA exam. Thanks for your help.
Here’s the obvious disclaimer: I am heavily biased towards the CPA designation for many reasons.
Firstly, having one obviously makes you more employable because it shows a level of dedication that employers salivate over. Forget all that junk about a CPA showing that you know your stuff, getting one shows that you have the ability to grind through months or even years of studying your ass off, which employers are into because it means that you might just show the same sort of dedication to ticking and tying.
Secondly, having a CPA allows access to a professional network that cannot quite be accessed from the fringes (read: unlicensed fringes) and puts you in a different caliber. For someone trying to break into public accounting, having a CPA (or being darn close minus the work experience) right off the bat can put you on the fast track to career advancement that might otherwise be out of reach were you to both come from another industry and lack a CPA. Just my 2¢.
All that being said (possibly in more words than were necessary), yes you can find a job with a CPA firm before you have passed the exam but the best avenue to take is always to tackle the exam as early as you can before you get involved in life, work, family… you know, all that stuff that will turn into excuses for not having time to study later. Even your best-laid plans don’t always turn out as well as they appeared on paper, so that low level gig at a firm (if you can get one) might turn into a longer-term position that you can’t or won’t walk away from. Ask anyone who has studied for the CPA exam while grinding out their first year in public accounting if you need more clarification on just how large a pain in the ass that plan can be. You know, if you’re planning on having a life.
My suggestion: take the CPA exam as soon as possible and put your feelers out in the job market. Don’t bank on a CPA firm position landing in your lap but if you find one, it will be best to have as much of the exam done as you can get before you actually start. Good luck!
BP Completes Cementing Macondo Oil Well From Top [Bloomberg]
“BP Plc completed a cement plug at the top of its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, sealing off the source of millions of gallons of oil spewed into the sea after a drilling rig exploded in April.
The procedure completes the so-called t stage for BP is to finish a relief well to inject cement at the bottom and ensure there’s no leakage inside the 13,000-foot-long (3,962 meters) well bore beneath the seabed, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said yesterday.”
Ten Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job: The Finance Edition [FINS]
Check yourself for some of these symptoms: “You’ve been holding back from voicing your grievances.”; “You have no clue where the company is headed.”; “You start to believe you can’t do better.”
And that’s just in the first five listed.
Altus completes PricewaterhouseCoopers deal [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
PwC sells their real estate appraisal management for, what we can only assume to be, a decent chunk of change.
H&R, Jackson Hewitt shares fall on new IRS rule [Reuters]
“Shares of top two U.S. tax preparers H&R Block Inc (HRB.N) and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc (JTX.N) fell Thursday on the Internal Revenue Service’s decision to eliminate debt indicator for tax-refund loans.
On Thursday, the IRS said starting with next year’s tax filing season it will no longer provide tax preparers and associated financial institutions with ‘debt indicator,’ which is used to facilitate refund anticipation loans (RALs).”
Two UHY LLP Partners Recently Named to Prominent Standard-Setting Implementation Groups [Market Wire]
“The national CPA firm of UHY LLP announced today the recent appointment of Houston-based partner Ana Denena to the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) Small and Medium-sized Entities Implementation Group. In a separate appointment, the firm announced that Maryland-based partner Jennine Anderson was named to the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) resource group on non-profit entities.”
PCAOB Adopts New Risk Assess. Stds; Issues Release on Failure to Supervise [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
As we mentioned yesterday, the PCAOB has been busy. Francine McKenna guest-blogged over at FEI and gives the rundown.
Fannie Quarterly Loss Is Smallest Since 2007 [WSJ]
FTW? “Fannie Mae posted a $1.2 billion net loss for the second quarter, the smallest loss in three years, amid signs that the massive wave of souring loans that brought down the mortgage-finance giant may be easing. But Fannie still asked the U.S. government for an additional $1.5 billion.”
District Court Issues Order in Snipes Case [TaxProf Blog]
Just when you thought it was over.
If you’re not getting cloud computing you’re a loser [AccMan]
That is, you’ve got almost nothing to lose by going for it.
Deloitte leadership race reduced to two hopefuls [Accountancy Age]
“he contest to replace John Connolly as leader of Deloitte in the UK will involve just two members of the firm’s board.
The contenders vieing for the top job are Martin Eadon, head of audit, and David Sproul, head of tax. Sproul joined Deloitte when the firm acquired Andersen in the UK on the back of the Enron crisis
Both candidates gave presentations at the firm’s partner conference on 6 July but no further campaigning is expected.”
Liberty Tax CEO Floats Combining With H&R Block [AP]
John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax, is hinting that maybe he’d like to merge with H&RB, “John Hewitt, founder and CEO of Liberty Tax Service, said Monday he is trying to contact departing board member Thomas Bloch to discuss the potential for combining his privately held company with Kansas City, Mo.-based H&R Block.
‘With my leadership and the name and backing of the Bloch family, we could put a great company going back in the right direction,’ said Hewitt.”
We didn’t say it was a subtle hint.