Q&A: Non-Target to REPE Fund Accountant

Background: * Finance and Accounting Double Major at Extreme Non-Target: 3.4 GPA * PWM Intern during school * Working in Investor Reporting for a Single Family Real Estate PE fund with ~ $1.5Bn AUM following a year at a large Multi Family Fund. I am in my second year of full time work after undergrad, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my experience. The WSO community has been such an incredible resource and encouragement so if I can be of any help feel free to ask. As there are not too many posts on Fund Accounting (I didn't even really know what it was when I got my first offer) I'll share a few of my responsibilities. I work with our Asset Managers to build reports for our LP's e.g. return metrics, capital statements, and most importantly quarterly and annual financial statements. Since my firm is smaller everyone wears a couple of different hats so I have been learning SQL for our database management as well as helping our acquisitions team clean some of their Excel models; neither of which I was expecting to do but enjoy immensely. Networking and Mentors This is the main point I want to get across to everyone hustling for the internship or FT offer - NETWORK. This is the crux of many posts on WSO for good reason. I had to support myself during college by working part-time at a coffee shop, and I realized that many of my regular customers were very successful. As time went on, and I learned their names I would ask them to get coffee and many of them graciously obliged (I should mention I live in the Southeast where there is not as much finance opportunity for entry level). Once I reached my senior year I had around 10 mentors that I was meeting with regularly including energy traders, fund managers, real estate developers, and even a F500 CFO (which I did not know until I had known him for a year). Although my background was not the most impressive EVERYONE respects the hustle and as time goes on networking becomes easier as your network networks for you which is how I got my first job. Truly successful people can see your intrinsic value and will not talk down or belittle you. I continue to meet with many of my mentors and have even met a couple of new ones since I began working. Hobbies I would also like to mention that hobbies really set you apart - regardless of background. I am an Eagle Scout which opened a couple of interviews by itself, I did ballroom dancing in college and now I have been doing MMA (mostly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai) for about a year which is awesome. Obviously do this as time allows - the next couple of weeks I'll be living in the office but I try to stay consistent with these things - people notice and remember. I'll be studying for the CPA this year, and may go to B-School in a few years but who knows. Happy to answer any questions WSO Mentor Want to work with me? Click here.

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Comments (24)

Feb 6, 2020 - 5:13pm

Yeah we really should have a monitoring system for who gets to do AMA's

  • 27
Feb 7, 2020 - 11:08am

I used to wonder if I was qualified to do an AMA having moved from FP&A to commercial banking to strategic finance at a healthcare REIT over 2.5 years. But all these homeless to BB/EB posts were much more interesting reads. This is the first AMA where I'm like maybe my perspective is more useful.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Feb 6, 2020 - 5:45pm

I respect the hustle, I really do, but not sure WSO is the best place to post about your background. Although it is true that anyone can gain knowledge by listening to career paths of others, even if its not the same line of work they are desiring, the thread you posted on is "Private Equity."

While you do work in the private equity industry, I think most people on this thread, and I could be wrong, are really looking for backgrounds and AMAs of the "Investing" side of private equity. Hence, this is why 99% of this thread is discussing private equity associate positions. As an analogy, one wouldn't post about a finance/accounting role for Verizon on a website focused on computer science and coding jobs, even though they are both technically in the same industry.

Perhaps there should be another forum on WSO dedicated to back/middle office positions for PE/IB/others, since those are the majority of jobs available at said firms, and not everyone can/wants to enter the "investment" or "advisory" side of these industries.


Feb 6, 2020 - 6:38pm

Thank you for the kudos and your thoughts; I was of a similar mindset when I got asked to host this. However there are people with similar backgrounds who have questions about prospects and options for various career paths outside of public accounting and other advisory roles. Plus those looking for the front office roles will probably ignore this thread based on the title.

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Most Helpful
Feb 6, 2020 - 9:59pm

Thank you for the kudos and your thoughts; I was of a similar mindset when I got asked to host this. However there are people with similar backgrounds who have questions about prospects and options for various career paths outside of public accounting and other advisory roles. Plus those looking for the front office roles will probably ignore this thread based on the title.

I appreciate your AMA and you can have a good career doing what you do or move to another position. I would say I would be doing what you are doing with a 90% certainty with my interest in real estate and Big Four experience. I probably would have leveraged your firm name to get to the next position and / or go to B School.

I hire folks like in your position and I think about what roles they want in the future and how I can keep my top performers. I started to give accountant/analyst dual titles, Director of Finance (vs Controller) titles to give them the broadest title exposure. They do a bit of everything for me. Analyze, reporting, and budgets/forecasting, and manage property level staff.

I appreciate your perspective and your story. Let's just say when I was at the Big Four firm I wanted the fund accounting clients but got sent to entirely different industries. I have two friends who got promoted up from fund accounting to more FO roles within their firms.

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
  • 5
Feb 7, 2020 - 9:16am

I can see you're getting some flack here but I think your story is super interesting. My only question would be networking related. What advice would you give on making connections outside of recruiting events or reaching out to alumni? I am also at a non-target so I'd appreciate the input.

Feb 7, 2020 - 10:59am

Thanks for the question! This thread is a pretty analogous to how networking is - you'll certainly experience some amount of rejection, as well as encouragement. Putting myself out there and being curious has helped me the most. I would imagine you have met or come into contact with someone in some industry that you would like to work in so if you see them at your gym or cafe or wherever don't hesitate to introduce yourself. Secondly you will stand out in their memory if you can demonstrate that you pay attention and are focused on detail. A couple of trivial examples which have led to productive networking were complimenting someone on their Rolex Daytona instead of just saying "whoa that's a cool Rolex." Similarly another guy pulled up to my cafe in a GT3 and I asked if the transmission was as good as they said it was on motortrend which led to some freelance bookkeeping as well as opening up my network. I hope this helps, happy to answer further questions. It's tough at first but gets easier with practice.

Feb 7, 2020 - 10:18am

I had a feeling this thread would be savage. Yikes...

WallStreetOasis.com move this to the RE thread at least, likely will get more traction and less roasting.

  • 1
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Feb 7, 2020 - 10:49am

Why on earth are you doing an AMA when you're in BO? No one cares what fund accountants do because we never see them, and at a single-family fund too? Better post this on Quora or some shit.

And no shit networking is key, are you new here? Pls get back to us when you are at least in MO, preferably FO.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Feb 8, 2020 - 1:46pm

This is the true problem. I'm fine with some rando accountant working god knows where posting an AMA, who knows maybe somebody is actually interested and this can be helpful. But for the love of god, how does this guy think he has the pre-reqs to be able to charge for any advice or mentorships. It's a joke. It probably takes the man half a day to earn 80 bucks and after like 3 years work experience, he's ready to charge for advice??

  • Analyst 2 in PE - Other
Feb 7, 2020 - 2:18pm

Super Non-target > PWM > Average accounting job w/o much of a reason to go there besides it was a job?

Sound like 90% of people tbh

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