Blog Archive

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Things to Consider before Leaving Public Accounting

Interviewee: Shelby, Sr. Assurance Associate
Interviewer: Terra, Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist

If you’ve worked a busy season or two in public accounting, you may have questioned your decision to work in public long term.  You might even consider a career move to opportunities outside of public accounting.  Making a professional change is a big decision and sometimes we don’t always take the time to truly reflect on what it is we are looking for or what it is that we already have.

At McGladrey, we sometimes have employees leave for opportunities outside of public accounting only to return, because they didn’t realize what they’d be missing.  We hear the same story time and time again about what brought them back.  We sat down with Shelby, Senior Assurance Associate to talk about important things for public accounting professionals to consider before making a significant career change. 

Q.  Shelby, I understand that you left McGladrey for an industry accounting opportunity.  Can you tell us why you decided to accept a position outside of public accounting?

A. I primarily left public accounting because I thought that a job with a set schedule of 8 am to 5 pm would allow for more balance in my life. I don’t have any children yet, but based on my first three busy seasons in public accounting, I didn’t think that I would be able to get the work-life balance I needed and wanted.

Q.  What made you decide to return to public accounting?

A. I decided to return to public accounting for multiple reasons. First, I realized having a “normal” schedule of 8 am to 5 pm wasn’t as convenient as I thought it would be. I started in public accounting right out of college, and I took the flexibility that public accounting offers for granted. By flexibility, I mean being able to choose the hours you work and where you work those hours. At my job in industry, I was expected to be at work for 8.5-9 hours each day at the same set time, and working remotely wasn’t really an option ever. At McGladrey, I am able to set my own work hours (within reason) as long as my assignments get completed by due dates. I can also work remotely, which I really appreciate.

Second, I realized that public accounting isn’t the only job that requires you to work some weekends or unusual hours. Within a couple of days of being at my job in industry, I was assigned multiple Saturdays that I would have to work.

Last, I was extremely bored. I realized that I would much rather be challenged and doing something I enjoy, than be bored at work.

Q. Obviously there are other public accounting firms besides McGladrey, what do you think makes us different? Why did you choose to come back to McGladrey instead of looking at positions with other firms?

A. The main reason I didn’t look at other public accounting firms is because I knew I couldn’t find another firm with a better culture or coworkers. I am lucky to be part of a team filled with great people who make me laugh frequently and teach me a lot.  

Q.  What advice would you give to anyone considering a professional move out of public accounting? What should they think about before considering other jobs?

A.  If you enjoy auditing, I would recommend talking to a trusted career advisor and making sure that the reasons why you’re debating on leaving public accounting can’t be resolved. I wish I would have spoke with my career advisor before accepting an offer from industry. My career advisor and other partners brought up many things that I hadn’t given much consideration. However, at that point I felt that it was too late since I already accepted another job.

One example for me is the amount of travel that I had. I traveled a lot during my first three years, and that was one of the largest factors that made it difficult for me to accomplish the work-life balance I needed. When I returned to the firm, my schedule was adjusted and multiple travel engagements were removed from my schedule. McGladrey was able to work with me to get a schedule that met both my needs and the firm’s. 


Jamie said...

Accounting can really be daunting, since it often entails a number of technicalities. It’s a good thing that we can now rely on certain accounting software to make the process easier and faster. Now, it doesn’t matter how big your work load is, since you’ll be able to manage them better with an accounting software. Generally, you just have to input the data and double check if the system processed it right.

Jamie Shellman

Anne said...

I wonder how is it like to pursue an accountant career in Kenya.

Stuart Spindlow said...

Accountants career is very good in London. Thanks for sharing for this information.