THE SMOKE DETECTOR: The Transition - What I've Learned in a Year

By Rachael Smith posted 02-14-2017 16:32


Last year, I made the transition from public accounting to private corporate accounting. The time has flown by since then and I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. Here are a few of them …Change.jpg

First, CPAs and other accountants work hard. Being in public accounting previously, I have to admit – I felt superior to my friends in private. I thought I worked harder or was somehow better than them. I’ve learned this year that’s not true! I’ve found private accounting to be just as intense and challenging as public. We may not have a tax season on this side, but we do have month ends and year end to keep us on our toes.

Second, we all know tax season is a beast. With that being said, tax season is a challenge all its own, and is unique to public accounting. However, the work intensity, longevity and challenge had prepared me well to handle our month end close and get through year end. I have colleagues who started in private accounting right out of college, and some struggle with this. As for me, after getting through multiple tax seasons – I feel like I can do anything.

Third, community involvement and leadership are important. In public accounting, we are encouraged and sometimes required to serve in the community and take advantage of various leadership opportunities. Starting in public created a base for me to continue this with my lifelong career along with other CPAs. Although some are involved in private accounting, I don’t see an abundance of this. I am currently serving on the INCPAS Leadership Cabinet, which gives me the opportunity to be involved and connected with both sides of the profession – private and public. This piece of my career boasts my engagement and purpose.

Finally, one of the best decisions I ever made was becoming a CPA. This has remained true. Whether I’m in public or private, the opportunities for me as a CPA are amazing. So many doors have been opened. Being able to have continuing education throughout the year is an asset to my career. Being involved in the Indiana CPA Society and being connected to other individuals dedicated to ethics, growth and bringing value to clients and employers is wonderful. These relationships have profoundly impacted my career as a CPA.

Friends in public and private – what do you think? Have you ever had made the transition? What are some things you’ve learned? It’s been a fulfilling and exciting journey for me, and I look forward to seeing others share their experiences. Based on what I’ve experienced so far, I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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