Switching from Public Accounting to Traditional Accounting

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    I’ve worked at a public accounting firm (Top 10) for almost a year and a half. I’m in the advisory practice, and most of my work is around internal audits and SOX testing. I really don’t like working in public accounting for a variety of reasons, but a big one is the client work. I don’t really care about the business of any of the clients I work with, and I don’t like that we spend a few weeks learning very little about the client before moving onto the next one. I don’t think I’ve truly learned much about any one company, which makes it difficult to know which industry I would want to specialize in. Another issue I have is that I just don’t care for the work in general. We come in, as the internal auditors or advisors, request a bunch of work and documentation that other people have produced, and then let them know how they did and where they could improve. There isn’t much that we really produce or create on our own, except for work papers and reports, obviously. But a lot of the job is just marking up the documents you’ve been given and then saying whether the control has passed or failed. It doesn’t really spark my interest and I get almost no fulfillment from the work day-to-day.

    Since I have my CPA license now, I am looking for jobs in traditional accounting roles, like staff and senior positions. My background has consisted of only internal audit and advisory experience, which is why I’m curious about what an accounting job would be like. I’ve heard people say that accounting is “monotonous, tedious, it’s the same month-to-month, public accounting provides so much more variety…” and so on. I get that, but I also have experienced so much boredom and monotony in my current job that I want to see for myself what accounting would be like. I know that accounting, advisory, auditing, etc. will never be my passion; however, I enjoy solving puzzles and analyzing data to find patterns and anomalies that may exist. There isn’t much “puzzle solving” in advisory, at least in what I’ve been doing, so I figure I should give accounting a try and see how I like it while it’s still early in my career.

    Has anyone else been through a similar transition, and if so, what was your experience like? What are some pros and cons of working as an accountant, either in a corporate setting or a smaller business?

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