Author Topic: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question  (Read 4462 times)

RiskDown

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CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« on: September 26, 2014, 11:20:03 AM »
Fellow Mustachians - I know this isn't really a financial question -- but since we have an abundance of intelligent and outside the box types, so I wanted to run something by the community.

My wife is a CPA in a Professional Accounting Management position who is considering the possibility of transitioning into a more hybrid IT position over the next few years. Requirements = she doesn't want to abandon Accounting, she enjoys CPA work, but is looking to learn something more challenging and IT related, which will use both ACCT & IT in some form... creating the opportunity for even further specialization. Also, she's not particularly fond of selling (more introverted), so I don't think she'd particularly enjoy consulting.

If you know someone who is doing well in a hybrid Accounting/IT position, please provide advise and provide details. :-)  Much thanks!

Proud Foot

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 12:02:51 PM »
During my time at a public accounting firm we had a team that developed accounting software for internal use and also for the use of many of our clients. Being a CPA would be beneficial to doing something like that as she would know the accounting rules as well as have being able to understand what the developers were doing so the finished product would function properly.

RiskDown

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 01:02:04 PM »
During my time at a public accounting firm we had a team that developed accounting software for internal use and also for the use of many of our clients. Being a CPA would be beneficial to doing something like that as she would know the accounting rules as well as have being able to understand what the developers were doing so the finished product would function properly.

I don't suspect there is a lot of CPA firms in the business of developing software and don't see growth potential there. Seems like there are too many off-the-shelf solutions, with endless options, and an established market for 3rd party plugins/specializations... for the major players. Working for a software company/website that specializes in ACCT software OR ACCT cloud services seems more plausible, but not sure of viability (# of opportunities) for that...

Cpa Cat

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 01:12:24 PM »
I am not doing IT work, but I believe a lot of IT/Accounting is in IT audit. Bigger firms do internal controls testing, which includes the client's IT system. There's also IT consulting - not really sure what that involves.

One opportunity that I've heard about is that Forensic Accounting can include IT work to recover, process and data-mine information.

Wile E. Coyote

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 01:52:19 PM »
During my time at a public accounting firm we had a team that developed accounting software for internal use and also for the use of many of our clients. Being a CPA would be beneficial to doing something like that as she would know the accounting rules as well as have being able to understand what the developers were doing so the finished product would function properly.

I don't suspect there is a lot of CPA firms in the business of developing software and don't see growth potential there. Seems like there are too many off-the-shelf solutions, with endless options, and an established market for 3rd party plugins/specializations... for the major players. Working for a software company/website that specializes in ACCT software OR ACCT cloud services seems more plausible, but not sure of viability (# of opportunities) for that...

On the contrary, every big accounting firm develops internal software tools for various reasons, and they are abundant. In addition, they have IT advisory practices that provide consulting on software implementation where it can be quite helpful to have a background in IT and not everyone involved in those projects are selling, many people are technical resources, project managers, involved in implementation.

RiskDown

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 05:31:00 PM »
On the contrary, every big accounting firm develops internal software tools for various reasons, and they are abundant. In addition, they have IT advisory practices that provide consulting on software implementation where it can be quite helpful to have a background in IT and not everyone involved in those projects are selling, many people are technical resources, project managers, involved in implementation.

Great info, much thanks.

Spork

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2014, 06:27:20 PM »
Everyone has a little bit different terminology, but where I come from this is called "IS" -- as in Information Systems.

I worked at a VeryBigCompany...  We had an IS department and an IT department.  IS handled the applications and a huge chunk of it was accounting based. 

Think of Peoplesoft or SAP or similar.

SwordGuy

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2014, 06:33:52 PM »
I've been out of that market for about 10 years, but ...

People who
(A) knew accounting and
(B) knew the user and technical side of a major selling accounting software package and
(C) could guide other programmers to build custom add-ons to that software (or do it themselves)

could do VERY well for themselves - provided they were willing to travel or lived in a very large market.

deborah

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2014, 07:19:00 PM »
I've been out of that market for about 10 years, but ...

People who
(A) knew accounting and
(B) knew the user and technical side of a major selling accounting software package and
(C) could guide other programmers to build custom add-ons to that software (or do it themselves)

could do VERY well for themselves - provided they were willing to travel or lived in a very large market.
+1

darkadams00

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 11:16:24 AM »
We just hired a CPA with extensive tax/audit experience to help us with state/federal govt tax fraud prevention initiatives. The work is extremely challenging, and the outcomes are rewarding (and pay very well). It's consulting work, but we work with clients in the same way a CPA would--what is your business problem, what services do you need, etc. I don't sell. I'm a pretty quiet, introverted guy myself. I spend much of my time creatively--new ideas and approaches that lead to better detection models. I'm not a CPA, but I work with several.

jsloan

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 10:08:01 AM »
I would recommend looking into ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software and to a lesser degree CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.  Some of the big ERP software packages to learn would be: Oracle, Dynamics AX, and SAP.  There are a ton of opportunities for consultants in these areas with very good salaries.  Since your wife already knows the accounting side we should focus on her accounting specialization (ie Manufacturing, Purchasing, etc) and learn some programming to supplement.  A good start would be to focus on the programming language: SQL.  If she is familiar with excel already (as an accountant I'm sure she is) SQL is basically a more advanced step that will allow her to focus on IT functions such as reporting and Business Intelligence.  Good Luck!           

Calvawt

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2014, 10:16:42 AM »
That combination could be very sought after.  At many small companies the CFO also handles IS/IT.  For me, I would see the additional experience as a good thing when I reviewed the resume.

vagon

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Re: CPA + Information Technology -- Career Question
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2014, 06:51:59 PM »
How proficient is she at IT?

That's the major question, because enterprise software development is no small task to do right.
Of course if she just wants to code some stuff she could probably find work, but the end result may not be pretty.

IMHO she should do one of the following:
-Investigate IT Audit. Seems like a better fit for an IT literate but not specialised accounting professional. Have her check out COBIT5, ITIL etc.
-Look into salesforce, peoplesoft etc technical BA roles and transition into coding if she feels its still the right fit.