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Top 10 Reasons to Consider a Change from Public Accounting to Private Industry Now

Most people eventually leave public accounting. Now is the time to see what’s happening in the market and to consider your options. Not sure you’re ready to move? It still makes good sense to learn about the opportunities available for accounting professionals coming out of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. There are some especially exciting and lucrative prospects for Big 4 professionals. Here are the top 10 reasons to consider a change now:

1. Your time is freeing up. After going through another busy season, you may be thinking, “Wow, there must be something better for me out there.” And you’re right! While it may seem that there is never a good time to leave public accounting, with the busy season coming to an end, you can now lift your head, take time to do research, start networking and go on interviews. And the sooner you start, the better poised you’ll be to land a new job. As the months go on, your competition will get more intense.

2. There are opportunities for every level. Private companies are hungry to hire audit professionals with experience ranging from one to two years to ten plus. Coming out of a Big Four accounting firm, chances are there is an exciting position available to you. We are helping some of our best clients find audit professionals in the areas of:

  • Senior Accounting
  • Financial Reporting
  • SEC
  • Financial Analysis
  • Internal Audit – both non travel and travel

3. There are a wide range of industry opportunities. Cutting edge bio/pharma companies, explosive growth technology companies, worldwide medical device manufacturers, top retailers – all of these industries are targeting professionals from Big Four firms. For example, a hot technology company with double digit growth is hiring its first ever Director of SEC Reporting. It’s a great company and the newly created role will allow you to put your stamp on the position. Whatever your area of specialty, you can review a range of job descriptions in the industries that interest you. You are a hot commodity and the choices are yours.

4. You are in high demand. Public accounting is a fantastic training ground, and because of that you are highly sought after. You can grasp the technical issues, you have solid presentation skills, you can think on your feet and you have a stellar work ethic. Finance departments desperately want and need what you have to offer. Now is a great time to take what you’ve learned in public accounting and apply it in a new way. The grass may in fact, be greener.

5. Your quality of life will improve. You can have more of your life back. While you will still be managing month-end, quarter-end and year-end work, the hours are nothing like what you’ve experience while working for a Big Four firm. There are so many unique, exciting and challenging opportunities where you don’t have to kill yourself with hours. If you have interests outside of work, are thinking of starting a family, or just want more time away from the office, now is the time to explore opportunities that will give you back some quality of life.

6. You don’t want to stay too long. With public accounting, if you’re there longer than six to eight years, it becomes more and more difficult to leave. In some ways, a straight public background can be a disadvantage because you are competing professionally with folks who have that much sought-after combination of public/private experience. If you know public accounting is not for you in the long run, don’t wait too long to get out.

7. The transition will be smooth. Some people think there is a big transition moving from public accounting to private industry. Yes, it is different. In most cases you are doing the work versus reviewing it, but that’s not a big deal. Your valuable skills and experience will enable you to learn quickly. In my experience, professionals making the transition from public to private hit very few bumps. And you’ll be exposed to new and interesting job components like operations, forecasting, systems issues and more.

8. You will only have one “client.” Many folks coming out of the Big Four firms say they are tired of having so many clients with the expectation of being a technical expert in a variety of industries. Going to private industry, you will be responsible for one company in one industry. You’ll know where you are going every day, you’ll be deeply involved in the industry and you’ll know your business inside and out. You will be an expert at everything related to your job.

9. The compensation may be better than you think. You do not necessarily have to take a step back in compensation when you make the move from public to private accounting. Between generous salaries, stock options, strong bonus programs and highly coveted benefits packages, going private can be good for your lifestyle and for your wallet.

10. It never hurts to look. By investigating opportunities in private industry, you’ll educate yourself as to the types of positions available. Perhaps you’re thinking of an accounting management role, or an internal audit position, or an SEC reporting role. By speaking to a recruiter, you’ll learn what’s available to you, with your years of experience and your specific industry focus and interests.

There are so many exciting and growing companies that are looking aggressively for Big Four talent – job descriptions indicate “Big Four Required” or “Big Four Preferred.” Start investigating the options, talk to one of our recruiters and learn what’s going on in the job market. Now may be the perfect time for you take advantage of your Big Four background and make a change that will benefit every aspect of your life.

Photo credit: The Telegraph