How to Pick the Right Accounting Firm to Work at
Overview: You’ve just finished your accounting training and education and you’re ready to start your career – here’s how to choose the right accounting firm
When determining which accounting firm you want to start or continue your career with, prospective employees will benefit from looking for the right firm for them. Some items to consider are:
- area of practice within the firm
- type of clients/industries that the firm services
- firm culture
AREAS OF PRACTICE:
For many accounting firms, there are multiple areas of specialization. So when you’re accepting a position, you need to know what area within the firm will be your focus.
If you want to focus on audit, you should not accept a tax position or select a firm that has very few audit clients. This leads us to the next point.
TYPES OF CLIENT:
A firm with few clients in your area of expertise is an important point to keep in mind because once you start your accounting career, it can be very difficult to switch departments.
Beyond your area of practice, you need to inquire what industries the firm focuses. If you enjoy working with non-profits and governmental entities, a firm that specializes in those areas would be a great fit.
Finally, a prospective employee needs to consider firm culture, and if the firm would match your expectations.
We know this sounds like an obvious, but we have to stress this point because the sheer excitement of working at your dream firm could overtake the reality of what you’re looking for in a company.
If a company doesn’t match your personality, or vice versa, it could become challenging in the long-run.
That’s why we recommend the prospective employee needs to research the firm’s values, goals, and attitudes before accepting any offer (ideally, this should be completed even prior to applying for a position at the firm).
If the values, goals, and attitudes match yours, you may have found where you want to work.
Learn More About the Employees:
- Asking for a copy of the employee handbook is a good way to learn about the company and the benefits they offer.
- It can also be beneficial to ask to meet some of the team members you will be working with. Doing this will help you get a sense of how they feel about the company and if they enjoy working there in addition to the type of individuals they hire (would you fit in with these individuals, do they have good work ethics?).
- You could also check out sites like Glassdoor to look up reviews by the team members.
After receiving an offer of employment, don’t be afraid to spend the time to carefully consider the few points listed above. Doing this will considerably increase your success – not just of finding a firm that you like, but one that you could spend years with growing in your career.
Cole Monroe, CPA