After 7 long years in public accounting, I’m finally leaving

  • Creator
  • #3311587

    Title says all…it hasn’t fully hit me but I gave notice this week. The firm I work for was understaffed and we lost critical people before the tax season started. While it gave me the opportunity to start reviewing returns, assigning work to lower-level staff, train, etc, the hours were awful, the work was not distributed well, and it just made me realize that I can’t do this anymore. How in the hell people want to make a career out of this beats me. If you want a family or relationship, I don’t see how that is fully attainable once your fully into public (as in when you’re still it in your 30s).

    I just had enough of the time budgets, crap client PBCs, the whole works. I know it’s rare but I’ll be making a switch from 100% tax to private accounting with G/L work.

    Still have two parts of the CPA exam left, but I’m so worn out with the tax season just ending.

    For those of you who made the switch from tax to private, what did you think? Am I making a risky move?

    AUD - 76
    BEC - 78
    FAR - 78
    REG - 80
    "Be the change you want to be".

    "You want something? Go get it. Period."

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #3311593

    I have never worked in public accounting and I have really enjoyed my accounting career (first a position at a manufacturing company, then a position at a public insurance company). I think overtime seasons/periods go hand-in-hand with accounting; whether it be end-of-month closing, annual submissions for public companies, tax submissions, etc. My overtime season is Jan-Feb (because we’re a public company), and we’re expected to work 55 hours a week during that time. However, due to having very young children, I have never met the 55 hours/week requirement and my boss understands. I get my work done and that's what matters. Pleasant work environments do exist.

    Though I don’t need it, I do want to pursue the CPA – mostly to prove to myself that I can do it. It looks like you have completed 3 parts of the CPA exam. Finish FAR so you’ll have no regrets. You’ve worked too hard to just give it up. Having the CPA will open so many doors for you, even in private accounting.


    The lead auditor of the team that did my external audits when I was a comptroller quit her position at a top 10 nationally ranked CPA firm.

    I got a call on a Monday morning from a greenhorn on the team……he’d only just finished his CPA a few months before our most recent audit. Him and a partner called to let me know she had left the company. The way it was done made me think it was due to something serious like misconduct on her part. I asked them not to divulge detail, but if was there any wrongdoing that involved clients. They told me there wasnt and left it at that. Still sounded odd.

    I ended up bumping into her at a conference. She said she had worked 80+ average hours over a year and a half. Plus from seeing her at various places, I know she traveled a ton to conferences, conducted training seminars, and was a member of some in addition to being a member of various consortiums and boards.

    She said she was simply burned out. She had spoken to her managing director who promised to hire more people. She said she had all newbies and all of her old team had gone to different firms for either higher pay or for better hours. She said they wouldnt even replace the team she lost, let alone hire new people and since her team were all rookies, she had to spent a lot more time reviewing their work.

    She ended up going to a different firm with nearly the same salary and an actual 40 hour week, not a “40 hour week” that is actually 60 at a minimum.

    Another old boss of mine went into taxation for a local CPA firm. He usually remotes in and works at home.

    The market is hurting for people right now.
    There’s no need to sacrifice your personal time for an organization that wont think twice about cutting your position if they dont meet earnings projections.

    Ninja Albert


    I think you should for sure continue your CPA journey I also think that you must do what you think is good and what you enjoy. Doing the move from tax to private sometimes gives you more benefits, and if that means a salary change then why not!! As long as you have 2 exams cleared you should be prepared for anything that hits you in your new career. Good luck


    The move is fine. I did the same thing. Just know that enjoying “private” accounting – like a small firm is dependent on the office/company culture. If you place you work is toxic (meaning – the owners are grumpy jerks, high drama among admin staff, etc), you won't enjoy it.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 80
    FAR - 76
    REG - 92
    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review

    I left public accounting immediately after I received my license.

    The director intentionally did not sign off my experience and delayed it 2 days, but he signed it at the end.

    So when he asked me about the reason for leaving I told him straightaway I received my license so I don't need this place anymore.

    You did the right thing just focus on your last two papers and good luck.


    My wife and I both left public after being 100% tax and I have no regrets. Like Jeff mentioned each job depends on culture and your manager, but that was the same for me with public.

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.