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Welcome to the cancel-your-holiday-in-Libya edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, another Fall 2011 Big 4 associate would like to nail down a certification in addition to the CPA before starting work. Can I keep my head from exploding long enough to formulate a coherent response?
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Back to our overachiever du jour:
I am about to pass the CPA exam and have 8 months until I begin at one of the “Big Four” firms in Florida. I am excited to start at the firm as it was my first choice however, I am not certain I will be in public accounting for the long run (like most people). My question is, being uncertain about my career path, what other certification should I obtain before I start in 8 months?
I have considered the CISA, CFE, CMA, CFA, Six Sigma but, I am not sure as I am not certain of my long term path. I want something that will give me an edge if I leave the firm and/or switch careers.
What certification would you recommend?
Any suggestions are helpful.
Dear Overachiever Du Jour,
After murdering the remainder of Stranahan’s in the house, I’m better prepared to answer your query.
I appreciate your ambition and we definitely think that obtaining additional certifications is a good idea for those that move on from public accounting but I fail to see how this benefits you now before you have an inkling of what kind of career you want. HOWEVER, I’m here to help sort you out as best I can, so I’ve put aside my judgments for two.
Based on your “considerations” listed, you seem to have a case of accounting certification ADHD which is fine but there’s no clear pattern as to what your interests are. I’m not going to recommend you do something just because it may be a hot area (forensics) or in-demand (information systems) but I am going to recommend you rank these certifications based on your level interest. Want to eventually be a CFO? Then go for the CMA. Want to pile up the financial reporting bodies? Get the CFE. You get the point. The important thing is to pursue a certification you find interesting rather than one that will just puts a few letters behind your name that may (but probably not) impress someone.
But really, do you want to spend the summer prior to starting work studying for a test? Get the band back together, take a trip, something.
Welcome to the one-week-of-mall-madness-left edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a new hire is ready quit her Big 4 gig after three months on the job. Is there a nice way to do this during busy season?
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Back to fed up in Big 4:
I’m a recent new hire at a big 4 firm in LA, and I’ve been working for the firm since October. I’m hating the job and already want to quit. I’m currently looking for jobs as we speak. Is it inappropriate to quit during busy season? How do I do so in a “polite” way?
Thanks for the advice,
Your dilemma is not uncommon but we are curious as why you would accept a job that, at least semi-consciously, you already hated before you started. You essentially took a job from someone else that probably would sacrifice an appendage for the opportunity you have.
Now that we have sufficiently guilt-tripped you, we’ll address your problem. Way back in February, we addressed this very issue and here are a few thoughts we had then:
All the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with, despite all of them having multiple “F— THIS!” moments, pull it together because they have a job to do. Why the hell didn’t you quit prior to busy season? You really felt like sticking it to everyone?
Fine. Perhaps your desire for sweet, sweet revenge against your senior/manager/partner/firm is more powerful than any shred of integrity you may have but for crissakes, that makes you a very bitter person. More so than the average accountant.
We’re not sure what has happened in the last 10-ish months but we’ve mellowed on this position. That being said, we’re putting you on notice, regardless of whether you quit now (pre-busy season) or in mid-February, people will be JUDGING YOUR ASS. We’re not talking Chief Justice judging, we’re talking the WRATH OF THE ALMIGHTY judging (if your an atheist, think of it this way – science will get medieval on you with Lou Gehrig’s or something else sufficiently terrible). Hopefully you’re okay with that because your ears will be burning.
Accordingly, there’s no reason for you to worry about being polite about it. In fact, you’re better off admitting that you hate the job (feel free to get specific) and it isn’t for you. That involves you admitting that you made a mistake but hey, we all make them. It may save you a little face with some of your colleagues.
The good news is, your recruiter – if you’re using one – is going to be able to help you more during busy season because they won’t have a backlog of people burning up their phones with, “For the love of GOD, get me out of this job!” If you’re not using a recruiter, we suggest you find one and level with them about your situation. You’re not desperate but you want out ASAP. The process takes a little bit of time and you’ll be ahead of the people that choose to battle out busy season.
So, if you’re fed up. Fine. Nothing you can do to change that. If you’re looking, that’s good; you’ll have a leg up on the new associates that decide to leave after busy season. Good luck.