Rather than sweating out offers from the Big Four or from large corporations, recent graduates who majored in accounting might do better if they “think small.”
In a survey of chief financial officers conducted by staffing company Accountemps, 46 percent of respondents said that entry-level accounting professionals should start off at a small or midsized company. Another 30 percent recommended a small or midsized accounting firm; just 10 percent recommended a large firm.
The survey gathered the responses of 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.
“Working at smaller companies — public accounting firms or otherwise — may provide finance and accounting professionals with more opportunities to assume expanded roles and increased responsibilities at an earlier stage in their careers,” said Accountemps chairman Max Messmer, in a statement. “Employees at small business frequently wear many hats because internal resources are often limited.”
Survey respondents also cautioned against overspecialization: 49 percent said newcomers should practice “general accounting.” Frequently cited areas of specialty included internal audit, 17 percent; cost accounting, 13 percent; and tax accounting, 10 percent.