Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where is the Grass Greener?

Have you ever thought about defecting from a big global accounting shop but feared that jumping to a small firm would mean less chance to learn, advance or be rewarded for your efforts?

Those are myths that keep many an accountant chained to the Big Four, says Reno, Nevada CPA Mark Bailey.

In a recent posting on his eponymous firm's Innovative Practice Management blog, Bailey writes of his own escape from a top-tier firm more than 20 years ago,

Searching for another job was difficult, as I rarely had a minute that wasn’t filled by working, commuting or sleeping. But the most substantial barrier to quitting my big accounting firm job was the myths that circulated concerning small firms….

I heard that working at a small firm would stunt your professional growth, as smaller revenue clients do not face complex accounting issues. HA! In my experience I have seen there is not much a large revenue client can do that a small revenue one can’t, including going public.
Bailey contends that small clients mimic larger ones in using such sophisticated financing tools as derivatives, debt/equity hybrids, and variable-interest entities. His parting advice for overworked accountants from the staff to manager level who might ponder a move to a small employer:

Keep in mind during your search for a new position that 'Big 4' or even the slightly smaller international accounting firms don’t hold all the challenging work in the accounting field. They (and their overworked staff) just like to think they do, which is why they perpetuate such myths.
Small Accounting Firms: One Myth [Innovative Practice Management]

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