According to many college professors and career services counselors, most college students interested in accounting should try to start their careers in public accounting. This route carries a number of benefits, including higher
salaries, more interesting and diverse work, exposure to many different industries and the ability to fulfill a requirement for certification.
One Senior Manager at a Big Four firm captures the general opinion of the majority of people we spoke with: “For someone just out of college, public accounting is really the only way to go,” be says. “You gain experience and get up the learning curve much more quickly.
A public accountant will perform three or four audits of entire companies in a year, whereas a private accountant could be stuck monitoring cash ledgers – one account – for a year. Even in the long term, there are benefits. You have more control over your career progression.
In private, you’ll often see highly productive and talented individuals mired in their jobs or limited to lateral career moves because they have to wait for the people above them to retire or otherwise leave the company. Public accounting is much more of a meritocracy- you’ll advance as fast and as high as you want to.”
However, public accounting life is not for everyone. Private accountants generally don’t travel nearly as much as public accountants, and their work schedules are much more stable – they rarely have lo pack a briefcase and go
lo a client at a moment’s notice.
Private accountants also do not have to deal with the chargeability issue (the pressure on public accountants to work on billable projects as much of the time as possible). Finally, they are not required to get their CPA and thus do not have to deal with the rigors of fulfilling the grueling certification requirements
Originally posted 2016-09-08 18:07:51.