Career Ideas for a burned-out CPA

Hi Guys,

If this topic is being discussed elsewhere please let me know and I will move my question over there. I am an ex-KPMG auditor. I left Big 4 hell in 2015 to start working in the Energy sector. I have worked for two different firms over this time period. I am feeling burned out with Accounting and pretty much despise it at this point, my next move within the accounting field would likely be either an Assistant Controller or a Controller role. Although the pay bump would be nice it would likely amount to more of the same or worse...I am trying to figure out if there are any other realistic options for me, that I wouldn't hate as much without having to go back to school and start from scratch? I don't know anybody who loves accounting, logically I need to think that at least some of these people leave Accounting entirely and find something else. Any suggestions or help would be great. Thanks!

Comments (9)

1mo 
FinancelsWacc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not all that familiar with the energy sector and I suppose it depends on your total YoE but I think a pivot into something like traditional Finance (FP&A) / Analytics / Strategic Finance are all possible, especially if looking to pivot within your own industry. 

My first question is have you tried applying / interviewing around?

You can solicit all the advice / feedback you want but I've found Corporate Culture in general to be more welcoming of "non-traditional" paths. Obviously there's the burden to prove yourself and kick ass, but doors that would've been cemented shut 10 years ago are now ajar.

1mo 
anothergodammasian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Okay I'm just in college but this is sort of a dream of mine:

Get a job that pays atleast 60k per year(remote) and move to someone where you can live like a king.      

example: Buenos Aires.

A while ago someone posted of having an FP&A Job that paid 120k remotely.He worked 10 hours a week as he could automate most of the work using VBA And Python I think.

Although he has 2 years of experience in IB before this, but still as i said you just need 60k to probably live like a king.

1mo 
Sequoia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Be a developer, you could get 2-3x that or more in a remote role 

1mo 
anothergodammasian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I mean I'm just 18, I have always been smart but always thought computer geeks are just weirdos. I also have absolutely no idea what a developer does or what coding languages are or what a SWE does. I'm also in a 3rd world country(India) and not studying anything remotely related to engineering in college.IDK if this is a realistic possibility

1mo 
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah this

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Most Helpful
1mo 
Rob92, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ultimately it depends on what you are interested in, but a couple thoughts on  possible pathways:

1.) FP&A- Your accounting background should provide enough of a skillset to move into FP&A. This field can vary greatly by the company you work at, but I would target a large corporation if possible. Mainly because those FP&A groups provide a lot of different opportunities within finance and you can move around. For example, you could go work in the Finance group at a GM or American Airlines, do a stint in an operational FP&A role, then move to financial reporting, treasury, investor relations, etc. There are definitely some mundane aspects to FP&A and even some accounting work you will still need to perform, but it is infinitely better than a strict accounting role.

2.) Financial Due Diligence (FDD)/Transaction Advisory Services (TAS)/Valuations-- Again, a CPA and accounting background can get you through the door here. The work is more interesting and can be transaction based. This can also be a good way to transition into banking outside of the normal path. Most accounting firms have FDD/TAS/Valuation groups.

3.) Lender Due Diligence- This is a little different than TAS/Valuations/FDD, although can sometimes be housed in the same group depending on the firm. These groups also recruit accountants. You may start off in a Field Exam team, which includes some "audit-light" work and isn't the sexiest role. However, it is still much better than a strict audit/accounting role in my opinion. This would give you good background into how lenders analyze a company's asset-base for a loan, and the experience can help you move into commercial lending. 

4.) Commercial Lending- Might be a little more difficult to break into straight from accounting than the roles above. But if you can pair your accounting background with formal credit training, that would be very valuable. Credit Underwriting/Portfolio Management can be very interesting work, especially if you are working on a buyout financing deal. Even if you cannot get into a formal credit training program at a bank, there are some non-bank lenders that will hire accountants into entry level credit roles. 

5.) Turnaround and Restructuring Consulting- This is a great industry in terms of everything you are exposed to. You will do accounting, FP&A, 13 week cash flow modeling, 3 statement modeling, work with lenders, C-Suite executives, lawyers, go through the bankruptcy process, potentially even perform work to sell a distressed client or refinance their existing loan. However, this also means firms look for candidates that have diverse experience across these skillsets and fields, which can make it a challenge to get your foot in the door. But some of the larger firms like A&M or FTI hire straight out of undergrad or MBA programs, so it is possible to get a more junior role with less experience. 

6.) Investment Banking- If you spend 10 minutes on the WSO boards you can find examples of people who went from Big 4 into Investment Banking. It is a tough path and probably the most difficult of the scenarios I outlined, but it can be done. 

Hope this gives you some ideas.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
1mo 

just how rare is big 4 to ib

1mo 
Rob92, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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