With busy season winding down, you might be asking yourself: what’s next? While enjoying the warmer weather and a lighter workload might be at the top of your list, now is also a great time to start thinking about different careers in accounting. This is especially true now that hiring is picking up in what is already a strong job market for accountants.
“The months following busy season are an active time for hiring in general, but factors such as low unemployment and a talent shortage make it an even better time to explore the market,” says Mike Ruben, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “CPAs with two to seven busy seasons under their belt can really be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their careers.”
The end of busy season often means a career crossroads for many accounting professionals. Should you stay with your current firm or should you pursue new opportunities? If you are leaning toward the latter category, getting started can be the hardest part! To help put you on the right track, check out Mike’s checklist for success when exploring new careers in accounting:
Step 1: Figure out what’s important to you
With the demand for accounting professionals at an all-time high, you have more flexibility to focus on finding the position you want. However, figuring out what this job looks like, is often easier said than done. “Since you can take your accounting career in many directions, starting your job search without a plan in place can be extremely overwhelming,” warns Mike. “Instead of jumping right in, I recommend first taking a step back to determine what your priorities are. This will make it easier to identify opportunities aligned with your needs.”
For example, you might want to consider which of the following factors are most important to you when exploring new careers in accounting: commute time, company culture, work-life balance, management style, team structure, compensation, and/or perk and benefits.
Step 2: Educate yourself on your options
Working in public accounting, you might have originally been focused on pursuing the partner track at your current organization. Whether this is no longer the right fit for you, or you are not sure you can survive another busy season, remember, you have options.
“Today’s job market gives you plenty of opportunities to diversify your experience,” says Mike. “The skills you have developed can be extremely valuable to a variety of specialty areas at a diverse range of companies, so it’s just about figuring out which one is the best fit for you.”
For example, these are some areas we are seeing strong demand for CPAs: consulting, corporate accounting, internal audit, financial planning + analysis, and mergers and acquisitions.
Step 3: Determine what type of organizations you’d like to target
The types of companies you’ll want to target can depend on your personal and professional needs as well as your short- and long-term career goals. This is especially true if you want to transition to a new specialty area.
“Taking the time to research different companies is a great way to determine whether you are making the right move for your accounting career,” advises Mike. “This can include, but is not limited to, Public Accounting, Publicly-Traded Corporations, Privately-Held Companies, and Family Offices. Once you figure out what type of company you’d like to work for, I suggest taking it a step further by researching specific organizations within that industry to get a better feel for different work environments.”
Step 4: Consider meeting with an expert
If you’re not sure of where to start when exploring new careers in accounting, a recruiter can be an excellent resource to turn to. As industry specialists, they have unique insight into hiring trends across a wide variety of employers and geographic areas. “Whether you are actively looking or just want to explore your options, having a relationship with a recruiter can benefit your career in a number of ways,” says Mike. “From setting salary expectations to learning about market trends, we’re here to help you find career success.”