The real life of accountant - What it's like working at a CPA firm.
Posted by TJ on Wednesday July 1, 2009 @ 04:00 PM
[Tags: accounting, business, careers]

I posted this in a forum and figured I could post it here for perpetual life. But here's a sample what to expect if you want to become an accountant or CPA.

I'm a CPA at a small 4 person public firm. The hours generally vary by firm. There are firms that work 7 day weeks and then firms that have very little overtime. Also consider that there also tons of jobs in accounting for private companies that would not require much overtime (ie: work for a municipality). For me my busy times are late February to April 15 and late August to October 15th but that is because we put most our clients on extension. During those times I work late nights (mostly between 7pm-9pm) and most Saturdays during busy time. We're all procrastinators here though and if we evened our work throughout the year we probably wouldn't need to work much overtime at all but instead we slack off during the off season with drinking in the bosses office or taking long office lunches,etc. However accounting is definitely not a 9-5 job. A client could call up anytime with a request (financial statement, tax issue, etc.) that that may need the next day that may require you to work late that day even if it is August and sunny outside, though I usually get out on time during the off season.

As far as education, I would recommend at least a Bachelor's in accounting if you are looking for a public accounting position. A masters may help you in with the big 4 accounting firms but it is really not necessary otherwise. Passing the CPA exam would be a great career boost and would advise taking if you can commit to the grueling studying.

As far as money my salary has more than tripled in the five years I've been working with an annual raise, 401k match, health, 3 weeks vacation, so no complaints here.

Edit: I just checked my time for 2008 and I worked 2340 hours in 2008 (includes paid holiday time and vacation time) which averages 45 hour/week.

If you have any specific questions you can post a comment using the form below...

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