Big 4 >> VP of Finance ; Best Way?

Hello all

I am currently in grad school (Master's of Accounting) and am planning on sitting for the CPA exams in the next year. I go to a target uni (think top 5 accounting school in US), have a 3.9 GPA, and have interned in audit at Big 4.

After some soul-searching, I have realized that the role of accountant is not for me long-term. Instead, my 10-year goal is to become VP of Finance somewhere. I understand that many other users' aspirations are much higher on this platform, but upper-middle class is plenty for me. That is, I'm seriously cool with never delving into IB, PE/VC, HF, etc.

Based on reading forums and other websites, it seems like I have a few options:
1. Audit for five years > FP&A /other corporate finance role for five years > VP of Finance elsewhere
2. Audit for three years > Big 4 Valuation/TAS for three-five more years > Corporate finance role >VP of Finance
3. Big 4 Valuation/TAS for 3 years > Corporate finance role for five years > VP of Finance
4. Audit for eight years (gasp) > VP of Finance somewhere small

Clearly I am not aiming to be VP of Finance at F100 companies after 10 years. I'm talking small-mid sized companies where the comp package is ~$200k all in.

As is likely deduced, I believe I can tolerate public accounting as a means to an end. But, the goal is a decent position in corporate finance. AND, I would really like to avoid going back to school at all costs. I guess I could get behind an EMBA program if an employer sponsored me, but taking time off to take the GMAT, land a spot at M7 B school, etc. is just not in the cards. I understand that this limits my ceiling, but I'm cool with that.

What do you guys think? Do any of those options seem reasonable? I know most people on this forum think accountants/non-MBA's are plebs, so thank you for stooping to my level.

Comments (2)

Aug 15, 2019

Your best and fastest chance is to join a growth-stage startup that is looking for a controller but may need a CFO down the line. Come in to operate on the basic needs and slowly take responsibility for CFO-esque activities until your superior realizes you can just take the helm.

Aug 15, 2019