Leveraging Public Accounting Practice for a Lucrative Career in Managerial Accounting

17 September 2012 |

This is a guest post by Sunil an Accounting teacher, CPA exam and career coach, and the Author of the CPA Requirements blog. 

This article provides a different perspective to an accounting career, one that is spent in public accounting practice servicing a variety of clients and industries rather than specializing in one. 

I am referring to a career in a public accounting firm. Public accounting is a popular career route pondered by aspiring accountants because it is a critical requirement to obtain a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license, which is highly valued by many employers in the private sector. 

Many managerial accountants also have the CPA designation, in addition to the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation, which is a popular credential in the corporate accounting community. However, a CPA is not a mandatory credential to be successful in a Managerial Accounting career. 

For Managerial accountants, possessing the CPA designation adds a whole new dimension to their skill set, one that can be transferred to a career in public accounting if they so choose to switch careers someday. But why would an accounting professional choose to practice in public accounting ? 

Public accounting is seen as a highly esteemed profession mainly because of the perception of it as a breeding ground for the most qualified and broad credential based accountants. Those who practice in public accounting firms are exposed to numerous client companies spanning across multiple industries. 

Moreover, these professionals are exposed to a variety of ways of doing business, from policies, procedures, control structures, accounting practices all the way to tax accounting and regulatory compliance. It is this broad exposure that is valued by companies in the private sector who seek to hire accountants out of public accounting. For some managerial accountants wishing to switch industries, a move to public accounting and then back to the private sector is one way to do it. 

Often times, a move from public accounting back to managerial or corporate accounting brings with it an increase in salary, and is just one potential path a professional can take to speed up their career progress. Many organizations view public accounting as an excellent platform for training, where a professional’s pace of learning is more rapid than it would be in a private organization. 

Another approach to a lucrative career in Managerial accounting may start by practising in public accounting and later leveraging that experience and transitioning to a managerial accounting career. Whether one posses’ a CPA license or not, one’s experience in public accounting may be enough to earn a promotion in a private organization both from a roles and responsibilities, as well as salary earned perspective. 

Sunil is an Accounting teacher, CPA exam and career coach, and the Author of the CPA Requirements blog. He started to write about the Accounting profession to guide aspiring CPAs attain and expedite their career success as a way to give back to the wonderful profession of Accounting. He has also developed a free CPA review course that has helped hundreds of candidates pass the CPA exam. You can read his blog at www.cparequirementshq.com.

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