Taking a position at a large accounting firm may seem like the obvious choice when starting your public accounting career. But it’s important to consider all of your options, including the opportunity to launch or further your career at a local firm.
Practicing public accounting at a local firm still gives you a fast-paced, challenging experience and it also comes with a handful of unique perks. To help you better understand the benefits of working at a local firm, here are a few of my favorites.
A local accounting firm will typically offer more work-life flexibility than a national firm. At JAK for instance, we have a 55-hour/week minimum during busy season; you’re not required to experience working 80 hours/week, but you can if you’d like!
What’s more, it doesn’t matter when you bill your 55 hours, as along as you’re available during our core hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Have a doctor’s appointment during busy season? No problem—simply adjust your schedule as needed.
When you start your public accounting career at a large firm, you often get stuck on a certain type of project or task. On a smaller team, however, you can get a diversity of experiences earlier in your career. For example, our JAK staff accountants have the opportunity to work on personal tax, corporate tax, and attest projects.
The benefits of having more and varied experiences are two-fold: You get a chance to develop your skills and discover where your passion lies, and you can avoid being pigeon-holed into a specific industry or niche.
This exposure can be especially valuable if you’re new to public accounting (or even an experienced accountant) and unsure which area of specialty is right for you. Gaining experience in each one allows you to confidently make the decision to specialize in one—when you’re ready to make the call.
Opportunities to grow
First there’s the more obvious benefit: The opportunity to grow with the firm, which can open up new doors and experiences as you progress in your career.
There’s also the opportunity to grow your public accounting knowledge earlier in your career. Local firms tend to have smaller client teams, which means you’re more likely to be in the room during client meetings—and therefore involved in solving complicated accounting matters earlier in your career. This can be a huge benefit down the road when you’re discussing challenging issues with your clients!
What could be in store for you?
If you’re thinking about where to start your public accounting career or what you want out of it, don’t forget about the benefits of working at a local firm. If you’d like to learn more about what this could look like for you, we’d love to talk. Check out our careers page and give us a call anytime.