A Counting School - Hardcore Chartered Accountancy

since 1494


"Hardcore Chartered Accountant" does have a nice ring to it

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May is traditionally a good time to take a vacation - when's a good time to quit?

If you want to avoid paying peak summer prices at popular destinations, May is a great time to travel. And although I thought I was going to follow up by saying, "and yet this year I didn't," that's obviously not true.

Couple the well timed vacation with an early start to my busy season - yes, while the personal tax people are ready to take a break, I'm getting busy - and I new posts fell on hold.

So thank you to the student who wrote to ask me a few good questions, including the following:

If you leave your CA firm to work in industry, when is the best time to jump ship? I've heard people say "as soon as you have your hours and can use your CA," to "as high as stick around until you're a manager."

I like questions like this because they're easy to answer and are also popular fodder for discussion.

You'll find your dream job, somewhere. Maybe it'll even have an In-N-Out Burger location and will be outside the LAX flightpath to boot.

The answer, of course, is not straightforward - is it ever with something important like your career?

I say leave when you're not enjoying your current job anymore. There's generally always a pay boost when you leave, so it's to be expected that you'll get a "boost" the moment you leave, but depending on where you go, raises probably won't be as significant in a typical industry job (on the upside, they usually get sweet bonuses).

The other things to keep in mind are what stage of life you're in. If you're just starting a family or buying a new home, perhaps a drastic career change isn't something you should be considering. On the other hand, if you're not attached to your current home or lifestyle and are ready for any sort of changes, you can of course jump at whatever interesting opportunity you find.

If you ignore the young CA's personal situation, then you can summarize the range of "career switch" like this:

  • Some people hate auditing and only joined because they wanted their CA - they're the people who say leave immediately, and generally do.
  • Others enjoy the work a bit and stick around since nothing else looks interesting - "financial analyst" is a boring job title to some.
  • Others love it and work towards partner. Recruiters' e-mails immediately get dumped in their spam bins.

As you can imagine there's no single answer to this question, which is good - since if everyone had the exact same career path life would be kind of boring.

And if anything is for certain, it's the fact that CAs aren't boring.

Think I'm boring? Call me on it and leave a comment explaining why. I dare you.


neilmcintyre said:

There are two times to leave: When you obtain your CA (and you'll generally be at the Senior level) and when you attain the Manager level at the firm. Between those two, it just depends on whether you like where you are at the firm or whether you feel like you could accomplish more in industry.

# May 28, 2009 8:54 AM