What Do Public Accountants Do After Tax Season?
Tax season is over. And if you’re a public accountant, you may be wondering what to do next.
If that sounds like you, here’s a quick guide on what to do when tax season ends.
Private or public accounting
If you’re a public accountant, you may have considered making the switch to private accounting. Here are a few things to consider.
Public accountants, as you know, work with a range of clients. This can mean lots of travel to meet the many needs of your clients. Private accountants, on the other hand, are less mobile. When you work for a single entity, that’s where you tend to remain.
Another difference is found in day-to-day responsibilities. As a public accountant, you review clients’ financial documents to ensure accuracy before they are released to the public or submitted to the government. Public accountants also select a specialty, like tax, audit, or forensic accounting.
Private accountants don’t normally have a specialty. They wear many hats. Most private accountants are engaged in management reporting and working with managers to estimate the costs of doing business or evaluate fiscal performance.
Private accountants enjoy working in a less stressful environment. To make the switch, you won’t need to pursue additional education. The trade-off is that work advancement may not come as quickly, and you have fewer opportunities to specialize.
Boutique or major firm
There is a lot of prestige associated with working for a major accounting firm. Perhaps that was drilled into you during your college studies.
But the truth is, there’s also a wealth of opportunity in smaller firms.
Let’s start with the benefits of working for a major firm.
1. Big clients. The big companies go to the big firms. If you want a wealth of experience working with major players in different industries, a big firm is the way to go.
2. In-house training. Big firms provide lots of training for junior accountants, which is great for career development.
3. Exit opportunities. If you ever want to move elsewhere, having a major firm on your resume is always a good thing.
But there are some downsides as well. Bigger firms are high-pressure environments that offer a less flexible work-life balance. There’s also a chance you’ll spend most of your time on a single client.
Smaller boutique firms offer the inverse in terms of pros and cons. Here’s what’s great about working with a smaller firm.
1. Close-knit team. In a smaller environment it’s easier to develop a relationship with senior managers and partners.
2. Less pressure. Most of your clients will be private companies rather than publicly traded. Deadlines are likely to be more flexible, as will your work hours.
3. Learn on your feet. You won’t have the benefit of training courses, but the hands-on exposure you’ll have working side-by-side with partners will ensure you learn a lot at a quicker pace.
What you gain will require a trade-off in salary and perhaps a slower climb up the latter.
Looking for an accounting job? Why not see who’s hiring?