Legitimate Issues with Accounting careers?

USA Discussion in 'Career and Jobs' started by cpaexplorer, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. cpaexplorer


    Feb 23, 2013
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    I've been doing a lot of research on careers in accounting and would like to know if what I'm reading is painting an accurate picture of the field or not. I'm a 40 year old architect looking to make a switch to a new career (and go back to school).

    Here are my concerns:

    - There are not many accountant jobs out there right now, and entry level pay is not quite what is being reported by many web sources. The rosy picture that the BLS paints is far from accurate.

    - This is not a career for someone who is more introverted than extroverted. In fact, companies are looking for extroverts and overachievers.

    - The hours are very long, and not just around tax season. Typical hours may be 60/wk.

    -Age discrimation (for those over 40) may put me at a disadvantage.

    -Outsourcing to India will only make job prospects in the usa worse.

    I'd really appreciate any advice from those in the know.
    cpaexplorer, Feb 23, 2013
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  2. cpaexplorer

    bklynboy VIP Member

    Oct 12, 2011
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    At my company (private NY firm) entry level is 50K which I think is slightly above the median. I do agree individuals should be extroverted but would argue this is true of any position as companies need people that will grow/have ambition given the human capital investment we make. Hours are normally 60 hours per week and more around peak reporting periods. Not sure about age discrimination though I know I have hired "older" workers as entry level but it is rare. India outsourcing I dont see as an issue as my experience (having worked in India as well) is they do not have the right skill sets and more value is provided by US workers. In fact the reason I worked in India is the local firm could not hire the right talent locally and I noticed most senior accountants tended to be either from US or Australia.
    bklynboy, Feb 23, 2013
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  3. cpaexplorer


    Feb 25, 2013
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    Big 4 always tells us busy season hours 60-80 hour weeks with entry salary around 45k-50s. I am told that I should be able to make 50k starting salary with BA & 150 hours. I am skeptical as those in academia have not worked in accounting for several years. Also have been told by contacts, that with the complexity for audits that outsourcing is not a threat. There is international tax for tax if outsourcing is a concern; learning US and international tax law.

    I would consider working in tax or practicing filing returns to see if you find it an enjoyable experience. In school you study tax theory for first two courses - individual and corporate which well if do VITA &/ tax practice course find out if want to do taxes for long term. Right now, some of my peers got job without CPA exam passed and others will need to wait to reapply to firms in fall/take CPA to get recruited. Larger firms screen for GPA &/ CPA (or eligible) &/ work experience &/ course work. Typically need to pass the CPA exam within 2 years of starting for large firms. Completing most BA in Accounting programs fits most state requirements for CPA exam sitting. While you don't have to get CPA to work in accounting, it carries a lot of weight and gives more career options.

    I don't think there's a magic answer; doing research helps. Perhaps reading an accounting book/basics of accounting online or trying a course in accounting to see if you like it. Research the Professors too, there's a world of difference between someone who has passion for accounting.

    You need to be an extroverted introvert ideally for recruitment. I haven't actually worked in accounting just studied it as student (cpa eligible, was accounting club- ASA president at my school for 1 year unfortunately not beta alpha psi) and have been on a couple small public firm interviews locally. Small or medium sized firms may be more accepting for age/career transition as many are former big4. Good luck with the decision you make!
    Aleera, Feb 25, 2013
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