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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 11:59 am
Forgive me for piggy-backing off of the attorney thread! It got me wondering what our CPA-life trajectory will be. I have discussed this with DH numerous times in relation to his current job, but I am curious to hear other experiences.

DH works for a large public accounting firm (not big 4, but close) as an auditor. He has been there for close to 5 years and actually enjoys it! However, I feel as if the learning curve is VERY steep. The work is very challenging. The pay increase seems to be about 2% per year, with bonuses some years. He likes the firm culture and types of clients that he works with and he finds the work stimulating and challenging.

What are other better-paying jobs that someone with his credentials could transition into? Is it better to stick to a large firm and one day (maybe 10 years min?) make partner? Is that the ultimate CPA dream? We have discussed moving to more of a controller type of position in a company or other entity and he seems to feel as if that would be very dead-end and boring...

Any similarly-employed CPA's here? Or wives? What kind of career path do you have experience with? TIA!

ETA here is the thread that was referenced-
https://www.imamother.com/foru.....52504
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amother




Blue
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 12:19 pm
He should stay in public accounting if he is still learning - especially if he enjoys it.

The move out into Industry? CFO, Controller, Tax Director (if he shifts focus). Or start up smaller public accounting practice.

He also may never make partner where he is. That's certainly not a given.
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madys




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 12:25 pm
I'm surprised that after 5 years, the raises are only 2% a year.

Usually there are promotions, for example:
You start as a staff accountant level 1, after a year, you get promoted to a staff level 2 and that comes with a raise.
After another year, you get promoted to a senior accountant level 1, and that comes with a bigger raise. And so on

If after 5 years, he hasn't been moved up, and he wants to stay in audit, he should look at different firms.
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amother




Royalblue
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 12:34 pm
I'll put it you this way. I basically have my own accounting practice focused on tax. I started it about ten years while tapering off working for other firms. I still work about one day a week for a CPA firm.

I very much prefer this way because I want to be self employed and work very part time other than tax season .

BUT when I do the tax returns of CFOs and other high paid accountants (in private accounting) who have no more experience than I do and see how much they are making I sometimes have fleeting second thoughts.

I've never done the personal tax return of a partner in a CPA firm


Last edited by amother on Tue, Apr 16 2019, 12:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 12:38 pm
Wow! Thanks so much for responding! Really appreciate it.

Just responding in terms of raises- up until now I believe it's been around 2% (of salary, so that amount grows each year if they get a raise, and I think at a certain point the percentage also increases to maybe 5% and more?), but there are also bonuses, too. So technically they have the potential to walk away with more. (bonuses for completing CPA exam, reaching charge hour goals, etc)

And yes, my DH has been moving up from first-year staff, etc. to in-charge and probably manager next year. After that there's associate and then partner. (I think!) Most people kind of "know" once they get to a certain point if they are on the partner track... but I don't think we're anywhere near there yet.

He has been working in pretty complex industry sectors, but in terms of learning I don't know how much more there is. He is already at a level where he is doing financial presentations with partners so I am assuming that's a pretty significant role even though it's more junior.

What are the benefits of staying in public accounting? vs moving into something more private?
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amother




Aquamarine
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 1:28 pm
My advice is that at some point or another he should try and go into private. My husband is an auditor in a similar size firm. He has been working like a dog for years. The salary doesn't justify how brutal his schedule is. They want 65 hours a week during busy season, and 55 year round. His busiest times are always around the kids' vacations. He is a Shabbos Tatty, and then he's too tired for much of anything. I still need to work to make ends meet. It's important to make the move to private once you have enough experience, but at the same time if you wait too long you miss the boat. My husband waited too long, and is now stuck. Good luck in whichever path you choose.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 1:49 pm
That is exactly my fear!! I totally relate to the hours. It is tough. I feel like if I knew what the light at the end of the tunnel was, I would be more excited. But the thought of being stuck makes me so nervous. He really likes the firm, though. I think that he is really happy there. I just feel like at some point our family will need a bigger income and we won’t be prepared or in the right place. Oy! (Thanks for responding, though.)
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amother




OP
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 1:51 pm
Aqua how many years has he been at his current firm? What level staff is he?
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amother




cornflower
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 1:54 pm
My family member was auditor in big 5 after 5 years he left and was able to get a huge pay raise and much better hours and quality life just because of those 5 years on his resume.
His goal originally was just to do the 5 years of crazy hours to get ahead.
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amother




Blue
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 2:06 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
That is exactly my fear!! I totally relate to the hours. It is tough. I feel like if I knew what the light at the end of the tunnel was, I would be more excited. But the thought of being stuck makes me so nervous. He really likes the firm, though. I think that he is really happy there. I just feel like at some point our family will need a bigger income and we won’t be prepared or in the right place. Oy! (Thanks for responding, though.)


You DH should ask internally what the expected salary would be for him if he continues to move up the ladder.

5 years into accounting is the beginning of a very long career. This is not the time to be nervous. And certainly he shouldn't consider a move (out of public accounting) if he's not yet a manager.
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amother




Navy
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 2:13 pm
My husband is a big four auditor the raises are about 10-15 percent. Last year he got 19 percent. Plus bonuses. The benefits are great and the hours not that crazy besides busy season (this is Midwest though so things are more chilled and pay significantly lower) His hope is to work till senior manager and go corporate where he'll make alot more. It's a decent feild to go into.
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amother




Pearl
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 2:18 pm
I worked in public accounting for many years. 2% raise is very low. In my experience, 5%-10% a year is more typical. If the bonuses are guaranteed that might be making up the difference. I disagree with the poster who said he shouldn't move if he's not a manager. I think it's easier to jump firms earlier rather than later.
In terms of moving to a controller job, he's right many are dead end and boring. But many also have a much better work life balance so it's a trade off.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 2:29 pm
I worked in a public accounting firm (also not big 4, but right below it) for 5 years and then moved to private. I have been in private over 10 years and my life/work balance is so much better and there are good opportunities to get promotions. I still think you can make more being in public but not worth the amount of time you put in. Also in public, I found the expectations were much higher as you got higher up in the firm. Making it harder to be a star and get the really good raises. Also not always easy to make partner and that is where the big money is.
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amother




Blue
 

Post  Tue, Apr 16 2019, 5:12 pm
amother [ Pearl ] wrote:
I worked in public accounting for many years. 2% raise is very low. In my experience, 5%-10% a year is more typical. If the bonuses are guaranteed that might be making up the difference. I disagree with the poster who said he shouldn't move if he's not a manager. I think it's easier to jump firms earlier rather than later.
In terms of moving to a controller job, he's right many are dead end and boring. But many also have a much better work life balance so it's a trade off.


Jump public accounting firm to public accounting firm - sure - moving out to industry job now? No.
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