12 June 2015
What do companies like Uber, Fitbit, and Airbnb all have in common? Aside from the fact that they have found major success offering niche products and services that people find extremely useful, according to a recent Forbes article, all three of these companies are poised for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at some point this year. While this is great news for them, what does this mean for you as an accounting professional? Since becoming a publically traded company requires the organization to adhere to the Security and Exchange Commission’s rules and regulations, there is an increased need for compliance professionals with experience reporting to the SEC. “Past examples like Enron and Bank of America have revealed just how costly it can be for companies that fail to comply with SEC regulations,” says Michael Cooke, Executive President of The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “As a result, events like these have motivated an increasing number of companies to invest more time and resources into finding the right talent to ensure they are consistently in line with industry regulations and can report their activities accurately.” Michael attributes this trend towards companies going public to an improving economy. Therefore, for candidates interested in gaining exposure to SEC reporting, Michael recommends working with any publicly-traded company in this capacity, or working with a related group/department in a public accounting firm. “As technology continues to advance and the financial landscape strengthens, we’re expecting that SEC reporting for public companies will become an area of specialty where opportunities will be plentiful,” says Michael. Another benefit of SEC reporting is that all types of public companies need compliance professionals, which may present you with greater flexibility in your career options. How? For instance, if you have experience reporting to the SEC at a small advertising agency, your skills and knowledge will be transferable to similar work at a Fortune 500 financial services company, and vice versa. As a result, the exposure you can get to a wide variety of industries will broaden your marketability in the industry throughout your career. Lastly, since publicly-traded companies span across a variety of industries, there will always be opportunities to be challenged, learn different aspects of the public sector, and eventually transition into C-level roles. For those interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, it’s important to keep in mind that working at companies that only service private clientele won’t help your ability to transition to SEC reporting for publicly-traded companies. The only way to acquire knowledge in this specialty area will come from working with a public accounting firm or publicly-traded company. “Working for a public company in some capacity allows you to learn a very niche skill set that not many professionals can easily acquire,” says Michael. “With these skills you understand how the complexities of compliance regulations and reporting for the SEC can impact an organization— a great value add for any public company.” On a final note, not many professionals possess this niche skill set, so the sooner you’re able to move in this direction, the better!