I do not have an assistant controller under me, I have a staff of 6, including a financial analyst and a cost accountant. One is high 80s and the other is mid 90s. I have been in my current position about 18 months and have only hired an A/P clerk, the others were here when I got here. The FA does not have a degree, she worked her way up. I’m honestly not sure what I would look for if replacing either of those folks to tell you the truth, I have not had to think about it. I would not want prior big 4, not because they never really wanted me, for other reasons.
Thanks, I appreciate the insight.
I worked with an entire floor of big 4 folks when I was an internal auditor, they get so pigeonholed into work at the micro level they don’t get a chance to see how everything works together. One of those kids can literally spend 2 years working with one specific type of G/L account at a fortune 200 company at the single account level.
No problem. I will say that trying to figure out what people are looking for is such a difficult thing to nail down. One guy will want one thing, and the next one will exclude you because of it. Some people won’t hire anyone who has been in the same position for more than 2 years, others look for stability. I don’t think you ever go wrong working on certifications and even on non work related ways to improve yourself.
I have a Masters in Accounting only - although I’m not real sure it matters. I think having either of those three is really helpful.
Ya, my goal is to set myself up as best I can for 5-10 years down the road. For now, I’m concentrating on increasing my understanding of how all of the pieces function together where I am. My biggest gripe in my current role is that I see such a small piece of the puzzle.
9/15 deadline fast approaching. Who’s excited? I have a competition on 10/22, so we will see how late nights working on tax returns can factor into a peaking cycle.
My wife (tax manager) won’t stop whining about 9/15…
Lol, you guys have some of the shitiest deadlines.
Haha, no doubt. 9/15 is the worst for some reason. Just takes forever to gather up all the K-1’s and whatnot.
Lol, ya, she’s always moaning about K-1’s. Ha!
Does anyone do any freelance work through Upwork?
Hey fellow T-Accountants. I have my annual performance review tomorrow and was hoping to mine some knowlege from our more experienced business people @usmccds423 @Jewbacca @Dr_Pangloss and anyone else I may not have conversed with yet.
I work in the audit department of a medium-sized (~170 people) public accounting firm. Based on the size of our firm and nature of our clients, I also do a great deal of tax work and consider myself equally proficient in both sides of the accounting coin. I’ve just completed my second year and am entering my third, and will be a Senior. My firm is currently not growing unfortunately, we have a lot of older partners who are comfortable and more or less complacent. I am however fortunate enough to be in line to be the lead senior on several of our larger audit clients who are growing, thriving, and expanding, and I consider myself to be in a very good place within a modest firm.
I received reviews from 4 managers, all of which were “above-average” or 4-out-of-5, with a 5-out-of-5 being extremely rare. They all want me to basically take over lead senior duties on their jobs this coming year. The road is clear as in most instances, the senior above me has left for another firm or another job. My goal is to full this role and within 5 years, hopefully make manager and know for sure that I am on the partner track. I think this is realistic based on my performance and reviews.
So the jist of my question is, how do I best go about communicating this in my review?
Do I come on aggressive, and boldly state that my intention is to stay with the firm for the forseeable future as long as the path to promotion is there?
Should I be more reserved, in the case that I may get better raises if the firm values me and believes they may lose me to another firm? I do have a family, so getting a higher salary and better benefits is always a priority. If they truly don’t see me as a potential manager and partner, I can absolutely go make a lot more money as a foot soldier for a much larger firm. I live in NY and there are plenty to choose from?
Thanks for reading, any advice is appreciated!
I prefer the more humble approach myself. If it was me, I would make it clear that I’m:
- happy to be making senior.
- happy they all appreciate the hard work I do.
- That my goal is to continue to grow my skillset at this firm.
Don’t blow smoke up their ass, though, and if the path to manager or partner seems unlikely a few years from now then reassess.
Just remember, that is the long game and you have plenty of time to make those decisions.
@usmccds423 thanks, you’re probably right. Its not like I’d be making manager anytime soon anyway (couple years at least), I’d just like to be sure the feeling is mutual and the opportunity is there because like I said, I could always go be a regular grunt somewhere else for more money.
So, I’m going to vent a little bit. The TL;DR is basically that I’m unhappy with my current role and I’m looking for some career advice.
A little bit of background on myself. Since I graduated high school in 2004, I’ve bounced around quite a bit. 2004-2008 I was an enlisted Marine. I worked a desk creating budget reports on aviation expenditures. I loved being in the Corps., but the job was boring, in that, there wasn’t much work to do most days. From 2008-2009 I worked in the finance department of an insurance group. I did some reconciliation work just for the paycheck. From 2008-2011 I was going to night school (went to full time in 2009) and earned a BS in Accounting. In 2012, I began working in grant management accounting at Johns Hopkins University. Again, this was quite boring, in that, once I got the hang of the SAP module we used most days I did very little. In 2013, I transitioned back into finance as a budget analyst. This job showed promise early, but once again, I am finding more and more that I’m twiddling my thumbs more often than working. It’s why I spend so much time on here as a distraction.
My current job has a lot of perks. The pay is not great, but it is good. My pay increase and a promotion have been more than adequate. The department is small, which affords me certain privileges that most departments do not get. It’s also a great commute and my immediate supervisor (VP/director) is great to work for. He is engaging, he tries to keep me in the loop on issues facing the team even if they are not related to my specific area and is generally pleasant to work with.
That said, there are also some negative factors. My supervisor is very laid back and is more a friend than a manager or mentor. His boss, who I dual report to, is a very poor manager. There is a serious communications gap between us. She is, to be blunt, a pain in the fucking ass to work with most of the time, and she seems to be in bad moods more often than a good one. She seems to think I will know about information that she has not shared, she flip flops quite often on how things should be done, and she is stingy about sharing work all while complaining she is overburdened. It is very frustrating.
On top of that, what our team does is very limited in scope. Mainly, we help create analyze corporate operating expense budgets. We are not involved in any other portion of the P&L, such as COGS analysis, and our interaction with our other divisions is limited to discussions of opex allocations. It is a very limited view of the company’s financials. We are also located in MD while our corporate finance department is in NY.
Because of the above, we are a small team of only 4 and there is very limited room for growth. The head of the department (pain) is approaching retirement age and so there should be some room for growth in the coming years, but the glass ceiling is really her job. My boss is about 12 years my senior so, theoretically, I could replace him in 20 years and run the department…
At this point, I am leaning towards leaving. I’ve grown too comfortable here, which I think is a problem. I’m also somewhat ambitious. I don’t expect or even want to be the CFO of a fortune 500 company, but that is the reach for the moon goal. If I can reach a point where I am at least managing other professionals while offering insight and thus value to a CFO in a more strategic manner, I’ll be happy with my career progression.
All of the above said I’m not sure what the best course of action is. I’m considering a number of options:
- Transition to a financial analyst role somewhere else where I can work within a profit center and/or corporate finance team that works with all aspects of the P&L and other statements.
- Transition to public accounting, which would likely require me to take a pay cut and start my career over yet again as a staff accountant. Audit has always interested me as has fraud examination, but I have no real world experience in either. This would finally afford me the opportunity to become a CPA (I’ve yet to work for a CPA which is required in MD).
- Remain put, push for more responsibilities within the department or look to transition onto the operations team in our location. This former would afford me the time to earn an MBA (my third degree) and the company would pay for a significant portion of it. The latter would require me to school up on Supply Chain and/or IT.
- Do something completely different. I’ve recently picked up “Mastery” by Robert Greene and I’ve been thinking a lot about my life’s task. I’m not usually into this sort of pseudo bullshit, but a lot of what Greene wrote has struck home.
I donno, I’m just frustrated and I don’t really have a mentor in my life to bounce this off of.
Rant over… If you actually read through the whole thing, I appreciate it.
I work in public and actually enjoy it, so I’ll give some input here:
Not a huge deal. How old are you, 29, 30? We have staff people start at that age pretty regularly. A manager I work closely with started as staff here after a brief career as a police officer. He is now 38 and in his second year as manager. If you are smart (you seem like you are) you will get on good jobs and get promoted quickly. Plus at a public firm you are the talent, not a necessary expense (like I imagine you would be in corporate finance). If your goal is to be a Fortune 500 CFO you kind of need that Big 4 resumé piece. Still, I would go midsize first (you will learn a LOT more) and then maybe switch to Big 4 after a couple years. We get a lot of Big 4 people with 3-4 years experience that don’t know dick, and at least at my firm we do both audit and tax and are generally more well-rounded.
It is a decent gig. I am entering my third busy season and will be the lead senior on nearly all of my jobs. Most of them are large beer distributors. I get to travel all over the Northeast. My normal busy season hours are 9-7:30 (not bad AT ALL, another midsize advantage). I am one of the few at my firm who can do a hedge fund tax return and that is considered very valuable. I am trusted and know that I have opportunity here if I want it. And yet, I will have other opportunities if I go elsewhere.
I appreciate it, Max.
I’m 30 so, ya, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I’m just starting to get to the point where I feel like I can’t keep restarting if that makes sense.
I would definitely be leaning towards a mid-sized firm. My wife is a tax manager at a midsize firm in MD and, through her, I’ve found what you’ve said to be pretty accurate. Out of college 3-4 years at big 4 and the person knows very little, but those that have moved to big 4 after their experience at a smaller firm have been a lot happier and their roles have been more expansive.
I’m seriously leaning towards persuing this move.
How far are you from being CPA eligible? Its a must if you want to go far in public as I’m sure you know. Some firms like mine will lay out the money for your review classes and such.
I’m eligible. I just need to pass the tests and work the 2,000 hours.
CPA eligible, industry experience, fluent English and good communication skills … You won’t have any trouble getting hired. Are you on linkedin? Thats how most of our experienced hires get contacted. If you put yourself out there the recruiters will be quite aggressive actually.