After earning an accounting degree, and at any point along their career path, accountants of all ages and experience levels have a major decision to make. They must decide where to work.
Accounting jobs in Charlotte, NC, run the gamut from niche roles to broad ones, office jobs to remote work roles. And the accounting firms you have the opportunity to work for come in all shapes and sizes.
Job prospects with any firm are exciting, and each unique firm and role has its pluses and minuses. Accountants should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each firm and job when deciding where to send a resume and who to interview with.
Of course, what one accountant sees as a positive attribute might be negative to another. It takes some research and soul-searching to make the best decision. Luckily, accountants have the right analytical skills for the job.
Take the following facts into consideration when deciding where to work:
Big Firm Pros and Cons
Working at one of the Big 4 accounting firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG) has its perks. For starters, a certain prestige comes with working for one of the world’s biggest accounting and consulting firms. An accomplishment like that is sure to impress any future employer and open many doors for future career opportunities.
Next, pay and bonus packages are typically the most appealing in the industry. Additionally, accountants at these firms can benefit from their robust training and education programs, travel opportunities, and workplace diversity.
As with anything, large corporate accounting firms have their drawbacks, too. The competition to get your foot in the door as an employee at any of the four is exceptionally stiff. The stellar pay and benefits are hard-earned with long days, late nights, weekends, and strict deadlines.
The promise of travel might look more like a complete relocation to somewhere you’d rather not live. And you might find your creativity stifled as you learn your firm's rigid processes and complete your particular task over and over again.
Reasons to Choose a Mid-Sized Firm
Mid-sized accounting firms can get overlooked in the selection process, but they often join the best of large and small firms together. Let’s look more closely at what makes mid-sized firms so great.
Large accounting firms serve very large, very busy corporations around the world. Typically, their employees work long hours and on weekends to accommodate their clients’ needs. That means larger workloads for employees and demanding deadlines. There can be very little time for a personal life.
Mid-sized firms often strike a better balance between work and personal life. Deadlines are moderate, and the workload is less strenuous and hectic. You have more free time outside of work, improving your quality of life.
Work experience at mid-sized firms varies. In some mid-sized firms, you have the opportunity to get involved in all parts of the process and expand your knowledge base. You might even discover aspects of the accounting process that appeal most to you. You gain opportunities to specialize in a particular role or learn a niche in others.
At a mid-sized firm, you’ll gain more exposure to different types of work and work with clients across various industries. Additionally, you’re more likely to work with a client from beginning to end, supporting and experiencing the full spectrum of accounting services.
Working with the Big 4 rarely allows the same opportunity. You’ll often specialize in a particular accounting duty for a specific industry.
At a Big 4 firm, you’ll work among hundreds of other employees. Management can be many tiers deep before the executive level. As one of hundreds of employees, creating meaningful workplace relationships can be more challenging. Face time with the leadership occurs less often, which means fewer opportunities to form a good, lasting impression.
By contrast, your interactions are more personalized at a mid-sized firm. From leadership to co-workers to clients, you have a better chance of achieving higher value at a smaller firm. The culture is more like a family, which can make your job more gratifying.
You’re better seen and recognized for your contributions at a mid-sized firm. You’ll have more chances to lead projects. Promotion opportunities may not be as regular as the Big 4, but they’re typically more frequent than a small firm. With a smaller pool of candidates to pull from, it will be easier for you to win that promotion.
All accounting firms have their perks and drawbacks. Read our blog, 7 Key Factors to Finding the Right Accounting Job Opportunities, for more information on the pros and cons of each type of firm.
The decision ultimately rests with you. The best accounting firm is whichever most closely aligns with your goals, interests, and personality.