What I love about public accounting

It’s an accrual world.

I made the decision that I wanted to be an accountant back when I was in the 10th grade.  I didn’t know I wanted to do public accounting at the time, but every year as I immerse myself into the world of debits and credits and risks, I find myself loving public accounting more and more.

People find it puzzling that I say “I love audit!”  But I really do.  I didn’t choose the audit life, the audit life chose me.  Here are the reasons why I love public accounting.

1. It’s good for curious minds.

As an auditor, you’re presented with a lot of information about your clients.  I’m at a junior level at my firm but I’m entrusted with information regarding my clients’ operations, controls, concerns, accomplishments, risks, and transactions.  I get the story behind the numbers and I get to see how all these different companies run their day to day.  I ask questions and work with the client to find answers.  It definitely exercises and satisfies my curious mind.

2. I can never get comfortable.

I mean this in the best way possible.  In public accounting, our day to day is always different and there’s always new issues that come up.  Once I start to feel comfortable, almost like I can coast through my work, I’m given something new to do.  Whether it be taking on a new section of the file or our client throws a new transaction at us.  I’m always learning and never feel like I’ve plateaued.

3. I’m never stuck.

The great thing about public accounting is that employees are extremely fluid.  Though sometimes it’s tough to keep moving around and relearn things, I like the fact that, if there’s something I don’t particularly like about an engagement (it’s too far, chair’s uncomfortable, not aligned with my interests, etc), it’ll be over and I’ll move on to something new very soon.  If I wanted to test out something other than audit, there are opportunities and lines of services available for me to try.  I’m never stuck in one place or one role.  I have the rest of my career to settle down, I want experiences for now.

4. I’m not just an auditor.

As an external auditor, we are entrusted with a lot of information and are also expected to be excellent business professionals.  Vouching expense reports is only a small fraction of what I actually do.  Working in public accounting has given me the opportunity to go out and learn about different systems, processes, and industries.  From the wide range of experiences (see point 3 above), I feel like I’ve become a better communicator, relationship manager, leader, strategist, and a more well rounded business person.  It’s also fulfilling when you’re able to help clients solve their day-to-day problems or teach them something new that you’ve learned at another client.

5. It’s fun.

I work for a large firm which has been a great experience for me in terms of meeting smart and driven individuals who are around the same age as me.  It’s fun to go to work and get to know them, and it makes the late nights a lot more bearable!  Having a cohort of associates going through the CPA designation process has also been really helpful.  We can relate to each other and help each other accomplish the ultimate goal of getting those three letters behind our names.

When I first signed with a public accounting firm a little over three years ago, I didn’t think that these would be my top reasons for staying with the firm.  At the time, I only cared about having a stable job I could be proud of and a job that would ultimately open a world of possibilities for my career.  And although these things are still very much true, I’ve also come to love the day-to-day structure and work of public accounting.


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