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How To Leverage Your Expertise as a Public Accountant Into a New Career

Do these questions sound familiar to you: 

What else could I be doing with my life? 

Am I using my skills in the best possible way? 

Will I ever achieve my full potential if I stay in accounting?  

You’re Not Alone

Do you ever feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel? We spend so much time working hard for our careers, making sure we have all the qualifications, checking every box, and pursuing the dream job that makes the most of our skills and earns a good living for us and our families. Who could want more than that, right?

But now you’re in that role, and perhaps you’re starting to feel a bit flat. The work you used to enjoy no longer challenges you. You find yourself living for the weekends. You slog through the days because you’re not sure what else to do after all you’ve invested in this career.

Perhaps you’ve already changed roles slightly, or changed firms, but it still hasn’t given you the sense of fulfillment that you’re looking for — and that you deserve.

“Switching career paths doesn’t mean throwing away everything you’ve worked toward. You can leverage your education, experience, working relationships, and CPA license in completely new ways that bring you the satisfaction you’re looking for.”

Where You Came From

Many accountants chose accounting because it aligned with key skills. They were interested in business, or they liked the straightforward simplicity of right and wrong answers. It’s a good degree to have and a safe, respected career path. And public accounting is often touted as the Holy Grail of accounting jobs. 

Securing a job at a reputable public accounting firm, especially one of the Big Four, is an excellent way to set yourself up for long-term success in an accounting career. Once you’re on the right track, you’re almost set for life, with a clear path for progression and plenty of opportunities for salary growth and personal development.  

 It all sounds great on paper — so why aren’t you loving it? It’s completely normal, and more common than you’d think, to feel unfulfilled. It doesn’t downplay the hard work grinding through years of school, getting your CPA license and long hours required. It doesn’t make you a failure. It just means that maybe you haven’t yet discovered the career you were meant to have.

People who are hired by top public accounting firms typically not only have high IQs and degrees from top accounting programs, but also demonstrate the strong interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in a client-facing job. These excellent skills all serve you well in accounting — but they’ll serve you in other fields as well.

 It can be scary to consider switching fields and starting a new career. Early on in your career, it can almost feel like giving up. When you’ve been working a few more years, it can feel like a waste of everything you’ve put in so far.

But think of it this way. Is it a better investment to switch paths after just five years to find true workplace fulfillment, or to stick it out for 40 more years, unhappy and with only the promise of retirement to push you through? You deserve to enjoy the best years of your life in a job that fulfills you. 

Switching career paths doesn’t mean throwing away everything you’ve worked toward. You can leverage your education, experience, working relationships, and CPA license in completely new ways that bring you the satisfaction you’re looking for.

Where To Go Next

Recruiting is a field that takes all the best parts of public accounting working side by side with your team, your excitement about serving clients, your ability to connect easily with people— and repurposes them into a rewarding new career.

What do you value about your current role? Do you enjoy working directly with clients? Do you thrive in an interconnected team of intelligent professionals? Do you want to be rewarded directly for your personal results? 

Recruitment does all of these things and it is also a career based on meritocracy. Your success is largely dependent on you, and those who perform above and beyond expectations are rewarded with bonuses, promotions and rapid growth.

Sound intriguing? Public accountants have a proven track record going back decades that shows they not only survive in the field of recruitment — they thrive. You can attain career satisfaction for yourself, and in doing so also help others find the career of their dreams. By finding the career you’ve been looking for, you’ll help other people enjoy fulfillment as well. 

Shared Skills Between Accounting and Recruitment

As a public accountant, you spend your day leveraging your knowledge for the benefit of others. You solve client problems and find creative solutions to their issues. In recruitment, the skills are much the same, just with different goals in mind.

In recruiting you also solve problems and find creative solutions for people’s issues. You just do this through people instead of numbers. You coach candidates and advise them on career paths. You advise financial leaders on their organizational development, new job creation, and identifying and securing top talent. In both circumstances you’re utilizing your experience and knowledge about accounting in a completely new way – emphasizing people and relationships over numbers and spreadsheets. Truly, the breadth and scope are endless. 

Just like you, most individuals who cross over smoothly from accounting to recruitment have high IQs, high EQs, and a high drive for success. They love to share their knowledge for the benefit of others and have a unique ability to influence others. Do you love making restaurant recommendations or setting people up on blind dates?! Making meaningful connections and recommendations for the benefit of others are a cornerstone of what life is like as a recruiter. 

They are also curious. They love learning about new companies and industries and using that knowledge to place candidates in the ideal roles for them or build dream teams for leaders. Recruiting almost serves as an unofficial MBA, teaching more about the world of business than you can imagine. After all, what other job exposes you to so many different industries in the span of a normal working week?

On top of the skills you’d naturally bring to the role, you also have one of the most valuable recruitment assets in your back pocket: your network. Your old accounting and finance friends, ranging from fellow auditors and past clients to leaders and CFOs, provide an invaluable, built-in network to help you get started.

“Public accountants have a proven track record going back decades that shows they not only survive in the field of recruitment — they thrive. You can attain career satisfaction for yourself, and in doing so also help others find the career of their dreams.”

How To Take That First Step

It’s never too late to move out of accounting in search of something more. Staying might feel like the safer option, but so many would never have achieved the same level of success or job satisfaction if they had remained in public accounting. 

If you find your role is no longer inspiring or interesting, you’re not the problem. Neither is your workplace, or your colleagues, or anyone else. Sometimes, it’s truly the career itself that’s holding you back.

Take the plunge. Leverage not just one set of skills, but all that you have to offer in a career that you can tailor to your specific interests and strengths. Be brave in taking the leap, and you might just find yourself in a rewarding, inspiring and highly lucrative career that checks all your boxes. 

If any of this resonates, come talk to us. Of course, recruitment doesn’t suit everyone, but it has proven to be an excellent fit for so many accountants who came before you. Hear from some of our team members who made the decision to pivot their accounting careers, and are now enjoying the benefits! Remember, when it is a great fit, it doesn’t even feel like a job — it’s a passion!

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