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Any Accountants or Auditors out there? HELP

weddedbliss

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 11, 2011
Messages
16
I'm in public accounting (audit), and I need a change. I have a master's but no CPA, which at this point is not on my horizon due to young children at home. I think I'd like to go in a different direction- one that doesn't involve 55 hour weeks and 8 months of travel. I get good reviews and clients love me, but I'm just pretty much done. I'd like to BE an actual accountant rather than audit them. You know, I'd like to be the one making the journal entries and building the spreadsheets instead of concerning myself with sampling techniques and documentation forms ALL the time. I also think management accounting would be nice, as there seems to be less rigidity.

Furthermore, due to near complete (but not total) burnout, I'm looking to just take on a part time job when I change for awhile while also helping part time with my mom's business. I realize a part time accounting job may not be feasible though. Anyway, I'd just like some general (or specific) advice, experiences, etc. I'm good at this but I really need a change. And please don't tell me to just go to another public accounting firm that might have better work-life balance. For one, I'm not willing to take that risk. For two, I refuse to do that due to having been lied to by multiple of them previously.
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
I'm on my phone so it will be short. DH workable for the state, 40 hours never any extra, sets his own schedule and builds up vacation and sick time like there's no tomorrow. I for one am quite jealous.
 

IdLikeToBuyAVal

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
218
I'm a corporate accountant. My job occasionally requires overtime but so far no travel (although the other accountants I work with had to travel for 4 months straight before I started while they helped move operations centers). Honestly, this job is busy for the week and a half during month end close and is pretty slow during the other times of the month. It drives me nuts during the slow times.

Maybe you could be an accountant/office manager or something for a smaller local business?? That might give you some client interaction but limit your travel? Best of luck to you!
 

merilenda

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
816
Sparkly Blonde|1308178060|2946970 said:
I'm on my phone so it will be short. DH workable for the state, 40 hours never any extra, sets his own schedule and builds up vacation and sick time like there's no tomorrow. I for one am quite jealous.
My dad was also an accountant who worked for the state, and his job was like Sparkly Blonde's DH. He was actually career Navy, and didn't financially need to work after he retired, but he got bored. So he went back to school and then got the job with the state. Because of the circumstances (not actually needing to work), he was very picky about what kind of job he was willing to work. It was low-key enough for him to do it for over 10 years before deciding to retire altogether.
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Have you considered internal audit for one of your clients? I was a government auditor, then an auditor for a public company, and now an auditor for a state hospital. I love being in internal audit. The difference between internal and public from my experience is that it's not just financial controls. I mean we did so SOX testing when I was in the public company but most of my audits were on process and operational improvement which I LOVE. The financial audits I performed were not only to ensure compliance with GAAP but also identifying process improvement which eliminates some of the mundane audit steps. I'm in a hospital that is failing right now and it's like a dream. I spend two weeks in an area and come out with a 5 page report. Love it.

Maybe you'll be successful as an accountant but I think a lot of it has to do with your personality. I see auditors as more analytical than accountants where you would mostly be a control owner doing the same thing day in, day out. You'd have to ask yourself if you would be ok with that.

I would also consider a financial analyst position if you see yourself as more of a forward thinker. Planning is always a really interesting area to get into.
 

nkarma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
636
Also thinking you should consider internal audit for one of your clients or anyone else. My husband worked for a big 4 with similar hours and travel requirements as you. He has been doing internal audit for 2.5 years now and never works over 40 hours/week and travels about 20%. His colleagues with young kids travel even less. His life is much less stressful and there is no such thing as a busy season.

In our area the market is picking up because he gets calls from recruiters several times a week. He has found most of his employers to be straight forward about work-life balance. I know none of the public accounting firms give you a very good balance. I don't understand why they would lie to you.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
2,991
I worked in public accounting (on the tax side) back when it was the big 8 and then the big 6. After almost 5 years of that I went into corporate (still on the tax side) and I love it. I think if you're going into corporate accounting then you'll still have at least some overtime, especially if you go to a publicly traded company. Accountants work to deadlines all the time.

At my company there's no way they'd hire you part time for a manager level position and maybe not even for a staff level. Of course the job is mostly 40 hrs a week so that may seem like part time after public accounting. :) The overtime on the accounting side that I see happening is usually at quarter close and definitely at year-end close or if there's a special project like a merger or acquisition in the works.
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
6,689
Kismet|1308230550|2947405 said:
I worked in public accounting (on the tax side) back when it was the big 8 and then the big 6. After almost 5 years of that I went into corporate (still on the tax side) and I love it. I think if you're going into corporate accounting then you'll still have at least some overtime, especially if you go to a publicly traded company. Accountants work to deadlines all the time.

At my company there's no way they'd hire you part time for a manager level position and maybe not even for a staff level. Of course the job is mostly 40 hrs a week so that may seem like part time after public accounting. :) The overtime on the accounting side that I see happening is usually at quarter close and definitely at year-end close or if there's a special project like a merger or acquisition in the works.
I agree with this. Our accounting group worked crazy hours and some weekends. They had to plan vacations around month/quarter/year end close. My coworker's wife who is also an accountant at a private company gets home close to 8pm every night. The only people I have seen that go by a clock are data entry clerks which you are far overqualified for.

Maybe look into consulting? Or a temp agency?
 

D&T

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
12,504
I worked for a public company as a finance analyst years ago, I am accountant by definition and work for a private firm now. I specialize in commercial real estate with a software expertise which I was hired for. Although I have an assistant controller position as a title, I do wear many hats, as a benefits administrator, lease administrator, and trainer for all accounting roles and software usage. I have very flexible schedule, paid well, and love my employer. I also have an MBA, I am currently studying for my CPA in case we relocate (which I would be really sad to leave my employer, but this is not the state I want to retire in :(sad ) and it will make it that much easier to stand out. I do love private, although we don't use GAAP and I'm perfectly fine and happy with it, find it more straight forward ::) I have worked for other private companies in the past doing other things and find that I enjoy the autonomy, schedule and environment so much more than a large coroporations. I would recommend looking for jobs that's not just accounting base like business/office manager that does do some accounting or a general bookeeper and like Fiery said, try out some temp agencies to see what other companies are out there. I'm happy that I went with a temp agency as they got me my first "commercial real estate break" that lead to where I am currently, and networking helps a bit too. How about clients you have worked with in the past?
 

oobiecoo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
2,263
DH is an IT Auditor and has worked for the state for about 2.5 or 3 years at 2 different agencies. He has only traveled once for a week and gets off work between 4 and 5pm every day. I HIGHLY recommend working for the state government!
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
IdLikeToBuyAVal|1308178867|2946982 said:
I'm a corporate accountant. My job occasionally requires overtime but so far no travel (although the other accountants I work with had to travel for 4 months straight before I started while they helped move operations centers). Honestly, this job is busy for the week and a half during month end close and is pretty slow during the other times of the month. It drives me nuts during the slow times.

Maybe you could be an accountant/office manager or something for a smaller local business?? That might give you some client interaction but limit your travel? Best of luck to you!
Hi,
I worked as an accountant for a small family business after graduating from college. The perk was I basically chose my own hours. I came in at the same time, but could leave after I completed my tasks for the day. I handled everything from billing, payroll, to inventory and it was great for someone fresh out of school w/no experience. It would be a major pay reduction to go from what what you're in now to go work for a small business. The accounting job I had was PT and I did have to get a second PT job to cover my expenses.
 

soocool

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
2,827
I am in my mid 50s and for many years before I had DD I worked in accounting (MBA) along with a degree in the sciences. I worked for a pharmaceutical company for many years, in research first, later in various accounting areas including auditing. I also was responsible for heading the accounting area that worked on a new accounting system along with designing a new account coding system. I quit after I had DD in 1992 because I worked 60 + hrs a week (I missed my $90,000 a year salary though). When DD was in elementary school I worked for a medical education company part time in various accounting areas bill payment, billing, running reports, banking, year end reporting, etc. earning about $30.00 per hour 20 hrs per week for a totally non stressful job(no medical benefits but I did qualify for the 401k) . I was laid off a while ago (5 years?) when there was a reorganization. I did not look for another job after that, but for some reason this company cannot do some of the things I did when I was there so I am hired as a consultant for the 1st three months of the year earning about $40,000- $50,000 in those 3 months.


You have to make a detailed list of what you do in your job. List what you like and dislike. Focus on your likes and seek jobs that are looking for those qualities. The great thing about auditing is that it can open many accounting opportunities to you.
 

weddedbliss

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 11, 2011
Messages
16
This is really good feedback.

Fiery, two weeks and a 5 page report? I'd be lucky to do as little as 5 pages in a day. That sounds like an absolute dream. So does working with process and operational improvement. It seems like a lot more variety and creativity. I work on a very specialized type of client/industry, so all of my clients are the same, and so are all of our forms, and all of our procedures, and.. you get the point. I think you're on to something about the analytical aspect. That is sorely missing because everyone here is so set in their ways- just crank out the audits, one by one. There's no room for anything else.

D&T, I agree that temp agencies are great. Before college, I found my very first "real" job through a temp agency. My very first placement hired me on to permanent and I got three promotions within a year. I will keep this in mind for sure.

soocool, I definitely need to make a detailed list. I know for sure I'm doing way too much documentation for my liking with too little analysis. My favorite parts of my jobs are actually designing tests and analytics (rare because everything is all figured out already, apparently) and client interactions, narratives, and other such things.

I also recently realized that there is too much negativity where I work (people having to go to conflict resolution sites, having actual arguments and disputes, actually calling names, speed walking down hallways while frowning, etc.) and that's at least half the problem. Basically, everyone is stressed and overworked and it comes out in their general demeanor and the quality of their interactions. I'm naturally the type who smiles a lot, is very tactful, and loves a good conversation, so an environment like this is just very difficult for me over time. There's only really two other people there who even have a sense of humor, period, and even then I have to badger the laughter out of them.

Luckily, my husband has a great job so I can take a pay cut. I have already spoken with him about that, so it's very feasible. We have long made it a practice to do things like getting a smaller mortgage than we could have gotten, cheaper cars, and just generally living below our means. Right now we actually have more equity than debt, a healthy portfolio, and no cash flow problems, even without my salary. I am a planner to the extreme.

Again, thanks a lot for all the feedback. It helps remind me that things will be okay.
 

IdLikeToBuyAVal

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
218
weddedbliss|1308275849|2947980 said:
I also recently realized that there is too much negativity where I work (people having to go to conflict resolution sites, having actual arguments and disputes, actually calling names, speed walking down hallways while frowning, etc.) and that's at least half the problem. Basically, everyone is stressed and overworked and it comes out in their general demeanor and the quality of their interactions. I'm naturally the type who smiles a lot, is very tactful, and loves a good conversation, so an environment like this is just very difficult for me over time. There's only really two other people there who even have a sense of humor, period, and even then I have to badger the laughter out of them.
This is the kind of work environment I'm in now. No one is outgoing, I work on one side of a room filled with very ego-centric accountants who don't speak to each other and certainly don't cooperate. I hear people complaining "that's not MY job!" at least once a day...I go in in the mornings with a smile and a "Good morning!" to everyone and leave exhausted and feeling beaten so I totally understand how much influence a corporation's culture can have on you. A change in environment sounds like it could only be a positive thing for you. The job market is scary right now but it sounds like you have great skills and a drive to learn new things. Best of luck to you as you search!
 
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