Not sure where to go from here.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 51 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #184618
    Loxjox
    Member

    Hi guys,

    I am currently in decompression mode after passing the CPA exam. I passed at an Interesting time, right in the middle of busy season for taxes. I got my last score on March 7, a pass on AUD at 76. I would be looking for a job right now, but no firm will talk to me while they're in the middle of doing taxes. This gives me some well needed downtime and a chance to think about what I want to do with my CPA.

    My question for anyone who can answer it, is given my career goals, what path should I take in accounting to get there? I would definitely like to hang my own shingle one day and practice solo. Then perhaps grow and hire staff, or partner with other CPA's. That is my highest goal.

    Work life balance is of tantamount importance to me as I am a married man and a father of a six-month old baby girl. My career in accounting is there to support my family. Being present for my family is more important to me than anything in my career be it money or prestige. I just want to make that clear.

    So I have the choice to make, where do I start my career? And how will what I choose affect my goal of opening my own practice one day?

    Big 4

    or

    Mid size firm

    or

    Small firm

    or

    Government

    or

    Non-Profit

    Please give me some tips, it would be greatly appreciated from people who are already working.

    #540755
    san4596
    Member

    I would suggest going to a small/mid-size firm. Going B4 you will be specialized in a single area from what I've been hearing. You want the Heinz 57 of the accounting industry if your goal is to open a practice or become partner. Opening your own practice is a very difficult route, and I do not suggest it given your situation. Go in to a firm with the clear statment that you aspire to become partner/junior partner within 10 years. This will give you the opportunity to get to know your clients, and build their confidence in you. Let's face it, people leave when a partner retires/dies.

    On the other hand, you could go B4 after discussing the type of sacrific you will need to make over the next few years. Stay for a few years until you reach Senior/Manager, and jump ship to private industry with no limits to your carreer.

    Going NFP/Government do not pay as well, and really limit you to those fields. I worked at a Credit Union, which was NFP. Pay sucked and advancment opportunities were not there.

    #540790
    san4596
    Member

    I would suggest going to a small/mid-size firm. Going B4 you will be specialized in a single area from what I've been hearing. You want the Heinz 57 of the accounting industry if your goal is to open a practice or become partner. Opening your own practice is a very difficult route, and I do not suggest it given your situation. Go in to a firm with the clear statment that you aspire to become partner/junior partner within 10 years. This will give you the opportunity to get to know your clients, and build their confidence in you. Let's face it, people leave when a partner retires/dies.

    On the other hand, you could go B4 after discussing the type of sacrific you will need to make over the next few years. Stay for a few years until you reach Senior/Manager, and jump ship to private industry with no limits to your carreer.

    Going NFP/Government do not pay as well, and really limit you to those fields. I worked at a Credit Union, which was NFP. Pay sucked and advancment opportunities were not there.

    #540757
    Mayo
    Participant

    “Being present for my family is more important to me than anything in my career be it money or prestige. I just want to make that clear.”

    Big 4 – Hmmm, I'd say base on the above statement Big 4 “might” be out. I'd have to dig through my emails, but I think my firm floated the idea of having essentially “part time” workers who would book only 40 hours at a reduced salary. Again, not sure what the salary would be, if it's for new hires or current employees only, and if it only applies to audit, tax, or another service line. Let me know if you want more details and we can try and get in touch via email.

    As far as career options, it's hard for me to say since I'm not in tax. It also depends on what type of clients you now service, what types you'd ideally want to service, and how hard or easy it is to pick which types you'd ideally want to service as I said, I'm not tax).

    So, I guess my questions for you are:

    1. Do you have prior work experience? If so, can you provide more detail?

    2. Define work life balance. What are we talking here? 40 hours per week all year round? 55-70 hours during tax season(s)? Also, do you want time with family AND time for recreation? A lot of big 4s and Midsize firms will work you hard but will give flexibility to high performers.

    As an example, this can mean something to the effect of waking up early to work, then shutting down to drop off kids, getting to work a bit late due to kids, working (possibly through lunch a few times) till having to pick up kids, pick up kids go home do kids stuff, put them to bed, and power on for a few hours.

    3. What's your ideal practice? How much do you make? What type of clients do you serve and what type of work do you do?

    #540792
    Mayo
    Participant

    “Being present for my family is more important to me than anything in my career be it money or prestige. I just want to make that clear.”

    Big 4 – Hmmm, I'd say base on the above statement Big 4 “might” be out. I'd have to dig through my emails, but I think my firm floated the idea of having essentially “part time” workers who would book only 40 hours at a reduced salary. Again, not sure what the salary would be, if it's for new hires or current employees only, and if it only applies to audit, tax, or another service line. Let me know if you want more details and we can try and get in touch via email.

    As far as career options, it's hard for me to say since I'm not in tax. It also depends on what type of clients you now service, what types you'd ideally want to service, and how hard or easy it is to pick which types you'd ideally want to service as I said, I'm not tax).

    So, I guess my questions for you are:

    1. Do you have prior work experience? If so, can you provide more detail?

    2. Define work life balance. What are we talking here? 40 hours per week all year round? 55-70 hours during tax season(s)? Also, do you want time with family AND time for recreation? A lot of big 4s and Midsize firms will work you hard but will give flexibility to high performers.

    As an example, this can mean something to the effect of waking up early to work, then shutting down to drop off kids, getting to work a bit late due to kids, working (possibly through lunch a few times) till having to pick up kids, pick up kids go home do kids stuff, put them to bed, and power on for a few hours.

    3. What's your ideal practice? How much do you make? What type of clients do you serve and what type of work do you do?

    #540759
    Study Monk
    Member

    I am assuming that Big 4 clients are for the most part unreachable by a start up firm. I also picture the tax work being totally different at a Big 4 firm. I imagine that they don't knock out as many tax returns as small and mid size firms, but instead have to do a lot of extra work with the tax departments. Maybe a Big 4 tax person can confirm this.

    I think working with a small or medium size firm is the way to go. I am actually planning to open up a tax office myself in 10 years or so, and I am planning not to take a Big 4 job unless I have to. My reasoning is that I want experience working with the size clients that I will try to pursue down the road. I currently have the impression that Big 4 tax experience is better suited for people who want experience with larger corporations and tax departments. Am I wrong?

    #540794
    Study Monk
    Member

    I am assuming that Big 4 clients are for the most part unreachable by a start up firm. I also picture the tax work being totally different at a Big 4 firm. I imagine that they don't knock out as many tax returns as small and mid size firms, but instead have to do a lot of extra work with the tax departments. Maybe a Big 4 tax person can confirm this.

    I think working with a small or medium size firm is the way to go. I am actually planning to open up a tax office myself in 10 years or so, and I am planning not to take a Big 4 job unless I have to. My reasoning is that I want experience working with the size clients that I will try to pursue down the road. I currently have the impression that Big 4 tax experience is better suited for people who want experience with larger corporations and tax departments. Am I wrong?

    #540761

    If you ultimately want to have your own tax practice, then you will want to consider working for a small firm.

    That's how I got my start – had about 15 or so small business clients…did their monthly writeups/tax compiance/quarterlies and then of course, a mountain of tax returns during busy season.

    There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week for a self-employed person – at least when you're getting started.

     
    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review
    #540796

    If you ultimately want to have your own tax practice, then you will want to consider working for a small firm.

    That's how I got my start – had about 15 or so small business clients…did their monthly writeups/tax compiance/quarterlies and then of course, a mountain of tax returns during busy season.

    There is no such thing as a 40 hour work week for a self-employed person – at least when you're getting started.

     
    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review
    #540763
    fuzyfro89
    Participant

    You are contradicting yourself. Work balance is of “tantamount” importance, but you'd like to have your own business some day? Not. Gonna. Happen. There is no business on the planet that will give you work balance. Maaaaybe after a few years if you hire mismanagement to run things mostly for you, but this will obviously est into your profits AND there'd no guarantee of that.

    If, on the other hand, you are willing to put in 2-5 years of harder for more balance for the rest of your life, is that something you'd be interested in? If not, then don't do accounting. Honestly I don't know many accountants, in any field audit/tax/corporate accounting/corp tax, etc, that don't out in heavy hours at some point of the year (some more than others). Are you hoping for no heavy work hours EVER or is that what you'd like to achieve given potentially a few years of harder work?

    Regardless, if you want to do your own practice then you need to work at a small/mid size firm and work on taxes/compliance/payroll for the client size you plan to serve in your own practice.

    #540798
    fuzyfro89
    Participant

    You are contradicting yourself. Work balance is of “tantamount” importance, but you'd like to have your own business some day? Not. Gonna. Happen. There is no business on the planet that will give you work balance. Maaaaybe after a few years if you hire mismanagement to run things mostly for you, but this will obviously est into your profits AND there'd no guarantee of that.

    If, on the other hand, you are willing to put in 2-5 years of harder for more balance for the rest of your life, is that something you'd be interested in? If not, then don't do accounting. Honestly I don't know many accountants, in any field audit/tax/corporate accounting/corp tax, etc, that don't out in heavy hours at some point of the year (some more than others). Are you hoping for no heavy work hours EVER or is that what you'd like to achieve given potentially a few years of harder work?

    Regardless, if you want to do your own practice then you need to work at a small/mid size firm and work on taxes/compliance/payroll for the client size you plan to serve in your own practice.

    #540765
    Mayo
    Participant

    “I am assuming that Big 4 clients are for the most part unreachable by a start up firm.”

    For the most part I would assume the same. But, unless I'm mistaken, the Big 4 do have a client base that are made up of wealthy individuals, which could give you exposure to all kinds of complex problems but also are grounded enough that would apply to less complicated returns. Like I said, I'm not tax, so I'm just talking out of my butt.

    However, like Jeff said,

    “If you ultimately want to have your own tax practice, then you will want to consider working for a small firm.”

    , and it that makes more sense to me.

    Like fuzy mentioned tho, owning your own business and putting in a lot of hours? Yah, probably not realistic if you want to make it your main source of income.

    #540800
    Mayo
    Participant

    “I am assuming that Big 4 clients are for the most part unreachable by a start up firm.”

    For the most part I would assume the same. But, unless I'm mistaken, the Big 4 do have a client base that are made up of wealthy individuals, which could give you exposure to all kinds of complex problems but also are grounded enough that would apply to less complicated returns. Like I said, I'm not tax, so I'm just talking out of my butt.

    However, like Jeff said,

    “If you ultimately want to have your own tax practice, then you will want to consider working for a small firm.”

    , and it that makes more sense to me.

    Like fuzy mentioned tho, owning your own business and putting in a lot of hours? Yah, probably not realistic if you want to make it your main source of income.

    #540767
    Study Monk
    Member

    Obviously working hard is required to open your own firm, but I worked at a firm that didn't have many clients and the partners were able to work less than 45 hours while driving BMW's. I think its possible to have a smaller number of good paying clients and not have to work extremely hard while running your own business.

    It might be easier to get a work life balance by building a strong relationship with a tax firm and only working seasonally or negotiating a part-time schedule on the slow months. If you become a tax beast I can see this being possible. Maybe in later years working from home could be an option. In either scenario you will be working long hours during tax season.

    IRS is another option for good pay and life balance.

    #540802
    Study Monk
    Member

    Obviously working hard is required to open your own firm, but I worked at a firm that didn't have many clients and the partners were able to work less than 45 hours while driving BMW's. I think its possible to have a smaller number of good paying clients and not have to work extremely hard while running your own business.

    It might be easier to get a work life balance by building a strong relationship with a tax firm and only working seasonally or negotiating a part-time schedule on the slow months. If you become a tax beast I can see this being possible. Maybe in later years working from home could be an option. In either scenario you will be working long hours during tax season.

    IRS is another option for good pay and life balance.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 51 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.