A tough road awaits accounting grads to study for CPA exam passing scores while completing experience requirements for licensing. The most common choice for work experience under an existing CPA is at a public accounting firm. Long hours are common, especially during the busy season of January to May.
Busy season in public accounting interferes with completion of CPA exam prep. When studying is resumed, a substantial commitment of time is needed to finish all the exam sections. By the start of another busy season, a new accountant begins to wonder how prospective parenting responsibilities will ever fit into a CPA’s schedule. The solution could lie in a move outside of public accounting.
If public accounting doesn’t deliver the balance between work and personal life that a CPA desires, a position in corporate management is the route to consider. You get to pick up the kids on time and see most of their school and extracurricular events. Staying late at the office is no more common than other jobs in corporate America. Accountants are increasingly vital contributors to both private and public companies by possessing extraordinary financial ability from CPA exam study. They are employed as controllers, CFOs, chief accountants, and other executive posts.
Moving to corporate accounting doesn’t completely leave behind hectic periods. Active times still exist, but they are nothing like the exhausting busy season of public accounting. More than 40 working hours per week is typical in a corporate environment. But, 65 or 75-hour workweeks are virtually unknown for managerial accountants. Schedules of that many hours are common only in public accounting during busy season.
In addition, busy season in public accounting is usually focused on a few due dates for tax returns. Corporate management accountants have more deadlines, but they encompass less of a mad dash. Target dates are set inside companies for providing certain types of reports or compiling particular data. Multiple skills from study for CPA licensing are used for corporate report preparation. The reporting is part of an overall ongoing process. Conversely, public accountants are mostly using tax knowledge. Also, tax deadlines require completion of everything at once in concert with others.
However, the compensation for top corporate financial jobs is generally lower than the high echelon at public accounting firms. If you can tolerate some busy seasons in public accounting, eventual management roles might lead you to thrive in the industry. If a work-life balance right away is more important, managerial accounting is a better fit.
Despite busy days and deadlines, the corporate financial world offers great flexibility. A schedule is much more predictable and therefore permits you to manage other activities around your time at work. Plus, technology tools allow you to work from home after the bedtime of a child picked up from preschool on time. A job in corporate accounting isn’t without occasional restrictions on personal life. However, it does offer many advantageous elements for individuals who have conquered CPA exam courses while also holding a strong dedication to family.
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