Numbers are fun but strategy is more fun.
Well, that’s what many Accountants have told me over the last almost 15 years of recruiting for Corporate Accounting and Finance.
Back in the day, well, in late 90’s I would talk to an Accountant and he or she would say, “I want to make the move into corporate finance.”
I would say, “Dream on!”
Times have sure changed! Now, when a client calls me to help them find someone for their Finance job, they actually prefer someone that comes from accounting! Who knew??!?
So why is that?
I have recruited through 3 recessions and one of the commonalities I have seen in Accounting & Finance is that every time the economy takes a big blow, there is usually some sort of regulation, compliance or convergence to follow.
With the recession in the early 2000’s we had some huge scandals including Enron. This scandal was the primary factor in the birth of Sarbanes-Oxley. Publicly traded companies that needed to get compliant with Sarbanes Oxley (or SOX) keep us Accounting Headhunters very busy.
Now, it’s about standards (among many other new regulations.) The United States uses US GAAP and most of the rest of the world uses IFRS. After this last meltdown in 2007, the world basically said to us, “If you want us to invest in US companies, you need to be on the same set of standards we are on.”
You guessed it, we’re busy again!
So how does this help accounts get into finance?
3 reasons there is great leverage here for Accountants to transition a finance job.
- These new regulations, compliances and convergences affect the whole organization and how the business runs. Having the basis of understanding of technical accounting policy, allows you to leverage your reengineering and strategy skill set to help the company conquer huge initiatives.
- Because of this new landscape, I have seen more and more VP level, Financial executive and CFO jobs require a CPA.
- The “foot in the door” factor is as good as it gets here. This is a CPA’s dream opportunity to leverage his or her public accounting, technical accounting policy experience to target their dream company. Once they get in the door, there are many opportunities to get involved in reengineering and strategy projects. Most great companies like to find talent from within. I see that a lot with corporate finance jobs.
The key to a successful career is having a plan. Nothing usually happens overnight so you must be patient but once you know what you want, set a course for your desired career path and make sure all your career moves are in line with your plan.
Dubin & Lee hosts “Policy Update” events with Deloitte in Boston, Massachusetts. If you are a Financial Executive and would like more information about our next Deloitte Update event, please request an invitation.