USA Possible Career/Sector Change

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I am starting to question if being an accountant is the life for me. I thought I could stick it out and be a senior manager or partner in my firm, but I am finding out that I do not love public accounting. Currently, I am 28 years old and have been working for 1.5 years at a big four accounting firm in their tax practice. I originally chose accounting due to the initial salary range and promise to advance and eventually do very well with a multitude of opportunities when I was, say, 35. I am now starting to realize that the only positions available for me in accounting, since starting in tax, would be working in a tax office within a company somewhere. That would be fine and dandy if I knew that one day, there was a promise to make 200K. I am starting to wonder if I will (on average) cap out around 100K if I stay on my current path? I am one who works to live. I can justify disliking my job a bit to pull in a hefty salary. That's what I'm aiming for. Currently, I have not obtained my CPA due to these concerns.

So with all of that said, does anyone have any sound advice on what steps to take, who to talk to, avenues to look into? I would like to try and stay in business somehow, as not to waste too much time. But I have honestly even considered going back to school to be a doctor, dentist, pharmacist etc. I just need the promise of a strong salary. Any thoughts??

Much thanks,

John
 

Cat

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I can't speak specifically to the future in tax work post Big 4. However, if you think you want a change but want to stay in business, I recommend getting your CPA. You never know when it will come in handy. Furthermore, it is a credential that employers like to see even if it is not required for the specific job they are hiring for. I left public accounting and went into more of a finance related business position, but I have no doubt that for my first job out of public accounting (and even subsequent ones), my CPA status was an asset.

Maybe others feel differently, but I think that CPA status is expected from someone coming out of the Big 4 and if missing, would raise questions. Even if you aren't officially certified because you haven't had the years worth of experience yet, having passed the CPA shows that you have the knowledge base. I know....no fun to go through.

If you are leaving the business world altogether, then it's a different story.
 
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Chasing 200k, wow, that is ambitious! What I will say to you is to stop chasing the dollar figure. The fact you are considering all sorts of random career paths just to get rich is where you are going wrong. If you can work out what you really like to do and are good at, the money will come. You could be passionate about cleaning toilets for example, and then start your own cleaning company. However this is probably not the advice you were looking for.

If you want to stay in tax, you will need your CPA qualification, without question. You could become tax manager for a commercial company and work your way up to head of tax. This should get you to the salary range you're after.

Alternatively, you could go down the path of being an analyst. From what I have seen, salary-wise, it's a much slower start than tax accountants, but there is more room to grow. If you can become a hedge fund analyst you will be on the path to the big $$.
 

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