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5 Benefits of Working for a Small Firm

by Monette Anderson | Aug 28, 2018
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Determining how to begin your accounting career is a personal decision. The outlook for accounting and finance jobs remains bright, with the Association of Colleges and Employers ranking it number two in the 2018 Job Outlook Report, and the field offers a wealth of career options and specialties to explore. Meanwhile, the CPA designation continues to be one of the most highly sought standards for companies seeking accounting professionals. The pressure from recruiters and colleges can be intense. How are you supposed to have your career path figured out while you’re trying to make it through the Intermediate Accounting Series, or deciding whether to sit for the CPA exam before graduation?

The good news is that this high demand for future CPAs puts you, as a candidate, in the driver’s seat. You have the freedom to find a position that offers you the opportunity to contribute faster, perform higher, and stay with your chosen organization longer.

To help you figure out how to begin your career, let’s look at some of the benefits of working for a smaller firm. Here are five things you may not have considered that could make an internship or entry-level position at one of our region’s smaller firms the right choice for you:

1. Work-life flexibility

Busy season is busy season, no matter what firm you work at. While you’re still likely to work longer hours from January-April, many find smaller firms are able to offer more flexibility in work-life balance. Arrangements often include more opportunities to work remotely, as well as greater flexibility in when you work your hours.

2. Well-rounded experience

In large firms, you may run into silos, and if you don’t have the right manager it can be difficult to display your vast talents. Small firms, by virtue of having fewer employees, can offer you better exposure to a clientele with a more diverse set of needs, as more opportunities to wear more hats.

3. Build stronger relationships with clients

If you enjoy building relationships and want to make an impact in your community, small firms have the leading edge. If you imagine yourself advising small business owners on how to expand their businesses, or helping families plan their charitable contributions, small firms provide vast opportunities to form meaningful and rewarding long-term client relationships.

4. Autonomy

Do you crave independence? I mean, who doesn’t want to feel heard and valued at work? Employees at small firms have ample opportunities to exercise their creativity to solve business challenges. Plus, these employees often report experiencing satisfying personal and professional growth as a result.

5. Access to leadership

Small firms have a flatter hierarchy than large firms, which gives you valuable face time with senior partners. This provides you as a new professional mentorship and growth opportunities like working on unique cases or stretch assignments.

Do you think a small firm might be a good fit for you?

Then take the next step and get to know 15 of western Washington’s small firms at the WSCPA Small Firm Career Fair!

The WSCPA Small Firm Career Fair is on Friday, September 7. It is the perfect opportunity to start conversations in person with 15 regional firms. Attendees will meet with the firms in small groups so you’ll get lots of practice delivering your elevator pitch, asking thoughtful questions about the firm, and following up after the event. This is a great opportunity to weigh all your options and compare the small firm culture to some of the larger firms on your list. You may find the benefits like increased flexibility, collegial atmosphere, increased opportunities for ambitious staff, and grassroots ingenuity too good to pass up.

To make sure all attendees get enough quality time with attending firms, this event has a strict 50-person limit. Sign up today to reserve your spot! This event is a free benefit for members, so if you have not renewed your student membership yet, don’t forget to do that before registering.

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Monette Anderson is the WSCPA Manager of Student Initiatives. You can reach her at manderson@wscpa.org.

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The Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants is the only organization in the state of Washington dedicated to serving the professional needs of CPAs, educating consumers about CPAs and the services they provide, and encouraging students to study accounting and enter the profession.

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