Author Topic: Another accountant with questions  (Read 2698 times)

SpendyMcSpend

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
Another accountant with questions
« on: June 11, 2014, 03:12:22 PM »
I have two CPA exams that I still need to pass and about to be promoted to audit senior at my big 4 firm.  I really dislike the work at this point (not sure if it will get better after this year) and I hate being at work.  Previously, I had a job I really enjoyed but it's not as flexible as far as living in a smaller town one day.  I have a lot of corporate finance, writing, research etc. experience.  At this point, I just want to retire right now because I hate it so much but I have liked jobs in the past and know that it's probably just where I am right now that is the problem.  Any former big 4 people have some advice?  I really want to leave like now but it will be a few months till I'm promoted and can research and apply for a new job.

Cheddar Stacker

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3714
  • Age: 41
  • Location: USA
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 03:20:35 PM »
Never big 4, or big 5, or whatever it used to be. I've been doing the CPA gig for nearly 15 years now. I feel your pain. It can be a grind sometimes.

What are your alternatives? Do you have enough savings to RE? If so, get out now. If not, start figuring out what the next job should be. You sound like you're absolutely done. I haven't reached that point, and I'm in a much higher position within the firm, so I'm in it until FI.

Good luck.

Cpa Cat

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1567
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 03:24:56 PM »
Pass the exam, get licensed, get HR to sign off on your experience and then find a new job.

You're a soon-to-be audit senior. That's the prime time to spread your wings and fly away from the Big 4 and into industry.

The few months will fly by while you pass your next two sections. It's probably worth waiting it out to slap the Audit Senior title on your resume.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for a decent headhunter/recruiter that you might want to use. If any of your coworkers leave, ask them if they used someone they liked.

SpendyMcSpend

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 03:29:55 PM »
I feel like the amount of documentation I have to do is absolutely crazy.  I heard things were different 10-15 years ago but these days the staff prepares everything and I get notes and have to write and write.  I just hate it.  I think when all I have to do is review stuff it might get better but I don't know if waiting it out is worth it.  How did you stand it for 15 years?

Cheddar Stacker

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3714
  • Age: 41
  • Location: USA
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 03:39:57 PM »
I never lived big 4 life, so I'm assuming here, but I'd venture to guess your world is extremely different than mine.

I'm an audit partner. I review a lot, but I love to get my hands dirty. I spend time with staff, supervisors, managers out in the field. I jump from non-profit to construction to lending to government to 401K audit to environmental science to etc... I still occasionally prepare 1040's. I'm very proficient in all corporate income tax. I've done bookkeeping, forecasting, business valuation, succession planning.

We do not put someone in a corner by calling them a "bank auditor" or our "inventory expert". This is sort of what I always imagined the big 4 factory doing. Day 1 you are assigned a specialty, and that's all you do. Our firm is very flexible with the workload, and we have very versatile people. The downside is we don't have many niche's or clear experts in a specific area, but I'm ok with that.

So, that's how I've made it 15 years. Variety. All that said, it can still be a grind and monotonous.

rmendpara

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 03:52:06 PM »
I have two CPA exams that I still need to pass and about to be promoted to audit senior at my big 4 firm.  I really dislike the work at this point (not sure if it will get better after this year) and I hate being at work.  Previously, I had a job I really enjoyed but it's not as flexible as far as living in a smaller town one day.  I have a lot of corporate finance, writing, research etc. experience.  At this point, I just want to retire right now because I hate it so much but I have liked jobs in the past and know that it's probably just where I am right now that is the problem.  Any former big 4 people have some advice?  I really want to leave like now but it will be a few months till I'm promoted and can research and apply for a new job.

Yes, former Big 4 audit, left in 2013 for Fortune 10 position in Treasury after 2nd yr (but before Aug/Sep when I would have been promoted to Senior).

My transition was not typical (my pay jump was significant compared to others I know).

It really depends on what you want. I felt I knew my path in Big 4, and accounting for that matter, which would have been slow, steady, and too boring for me. Again, not a comment for anyone else, but it just wasn't meeting my expectations/goals any more and staying for another 1, 2, 3+ years wouldn't have changed that.

The documentation requirements are just a nightmare. Trust me, I hear people from the Controller's group who work on SOX also complain about the ridiculous requirements nowadays. It may get better, but I wouldn't wait around for that possibility.

Find out what you would like to get into, and go for it. You are very marketable as a experience associate and Senior associate. You could easily make a lateral move and get a $10k bump with better benefits. The $15-20k+ bumps will require more legwork on your part, and a good fit.

Hang in there until you find the right move for you. Trust me, life gets better when you stop writing essays in the notes to your work papers about things that no one cares about. :)

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2902
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2014, 04:36:46 PM »
From that other accountant asking advice: my advice is to finish the cpa since you already have 2 and get promoted, then start looking for a job. If you don't like writing you could do the more "typical" accounting work which is monthly processing. As a senior you can get a job as manager of a small accounting dept and then vp, then cfo if you want which is all spreadsheets all day from what i hear.  I worked in external audit and though I liked the work I hated the pace, hours, and people. There is a reason turnover is so high.

Whenever I have looked for a job I post my resume on sites like career builder and recruiters fall all over themselves trying to recruit me. Depends on where you live tho. Make sure you put keywords like big 4 and cpa on your resume.

Pegasus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 05:16:37 PM »
Agree with the others you should get the CPA: it's very marketable and you're working at a place that will pay for it.  That said, all the Big 4 firms offer opportunities to switch up your career.  I've worked for 2 big 4 firms (including current employer), been in different functions and have done travel and work from home gigs.  Once you're in a big 4 firm you can move around internally more easily than coming from outside -- check the internal job posts and see what looks fun.  Most of the non-client delivery roles get posted just before or after the fiscal year end.  Hang in there! 

SpendyMcSpend

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
Re: Another accountant with questions
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2014, 06:26:33 PM »
Are there fun jobs internally?  Any ideas which departments are more interesting than audit?