Career Change - Public Accounting Tax Manager to Corporate FP&A


I'm currently a tax manager in public accounting, looking to make the move to corporate (likely large public company). I would like to broaden my horizons considerably and be in a business-wide, forward-thinking strategic role - this is where the FP&A function interests me greatly.

I want to consider how best to get into this type of work, taking into account salary and title considerations (ie I could come in as a corporate tax manager at a higher salary and title), establishing myself within a company (very comfortable in my tax skillset vs would be brand new to a lot of the finance skills needed for an FP&A role), and when and how to bring this up during the interview process for tax positions - which I think I would bring up more in generalities, e.g. "does this company support inter-departmental transitions".

So the biggest question is, should I try to come in as an FP&A senior (which is the lowest level I'd want to come in at), or come in as tax manager, get established and look to make a move later? I would think the second path would be better, but possibly more difficult once I'm established in a tax role.

I did about 9 months in audit at the start of my career in public, and work on many tax provisions (accounting for income taxes), and have done a little bookkeeping here and there, and have an MSA degree, so have a little background in accounting, which I think helps. Regarding finance, I've only taken one corporate finance class in college years ago, and although am a quick and eager learner, don't have a very advanced excel skillset currently.

Any thoughts are much appreciated, thanks!

Comments (3)

Dec 18, 2017 - 10:24am

If you really want to break out of tax/accounting I'd opt for option 1. You are right its a lot harder to transfer to a different function a. the more senior you are and b. once you are branded as a tax/accounting person.

So I think its really up to whether or not you want to switch into finance as a career. If you do make the switch now and pay your dues by taking a slight step back but in the direction you want. If you are content with tax take option 2 and develop your tax career.

Dec 19, 2017 - 12:00am

Thanks for the follow up. I'm exploring both options right now to see what opportunities are available in the current market, so my decision will be based in large part on that. Just getting into a corporation where I can grow and that would be open-minded to different career paths will be a great start.

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