more-arw search

Q&A Forum

CPA - work in private company without public accounting experience - Do I need public accounting exp?

Hi all, I have obtained my CPA license and then internal transferred as a Corp Accountant 2 years ago. Due to some dissatisfaction in job, I am planning to start job search. My question is, should I search for public accounting experience? If my final goal is still getting back into private company, would getting some public accounting experience help me in future job advancement? If I don't go for public accounting experience, should I keep my CPA license active? *I live in MA, my CPA license is non reporting one. Thanks, Key


(Part Time CFO) |

Public Accounting is a great background but it may not be one that is necessary for your career. I spent the first five years of my career public accounting and got my CPA in the process. I spent the next 35 years in Corporate Accounting where I advanced from Senior Staff Accountant to Accounting Manager to Controller to CFO. My CPA license was inactive during this time. The important thing is to find a good mentor preferably within the workplace and I would suggest looking at CGMA or CMA.

(Director of Accounting) |

Public Accounting is a great career path and certainly looks good on a resume, especially for someone in the initial phase of their career looking to transition from public to private. The question is, do you want to start over again from scratch? You have a couple of years experience, a CPA license and a position in a company that has already promoted you once. Other than a job change what does 3-5 years at the bottom of the pecking order in public accounting offer you at this point?

On the license question, it would depend on your dedication to maintaining CPE requirements and the cost associated with reactivating your license from inactive to active in MA. You may also, at some point, decide to do some side work preparing taxes or consulting where an active license to practice is required. No right or wrong answer just a matter of preference. I have not practiced public accounting in 25 years yet maintain an active license...the CPE forces me to keep current on emerging issues and guidance changes.

(Chair- Department of Business, Technology and Engineering (BTE)) |

If you are or plan to pursue your career in private industry, a CPA designation does not speak nearly as distinctively as work experience or an MBA. There are few companies that seek a CPA designation for their next accounting hire.

(Corp Accountant, officer) |

Thank you very much for all the responses above.
Also thanks for the suggestion on CGMA and CMA. An additional question here, it seems the CPE credit of CPA does include some information such as cost accounting, financial analysis.

1. If it’s the case, would studying and get the license of CMA still help?
2. Or I just study those information through my CPE credits enough?

An additional question, I am currently working in a bank as a Corp accountant. Just got promoted as an officer. However, I found my salary is even below some department like client operation. It also below the range of my title when I search information in Glassdoor. (I am not sure how reliable Glassdoor is)

3. Is corp accountant so inferior in compare to other roles at the same level in the other department? Am I underpaid? (currently at about 48K base salary.) But I heard officer start at about 60k.

4. Does every level has a min base salary or promotion will always only do a percentage increase?

Not sure if I ask this question appropriate or if information enough. Please feel free to let me know.

Thank you to you all again.

Robert Ewalt
Title: Exam Development Manager
Company: Institute of Certified Management Accoun..
(Exam Development Manager, Institute of Certified Management Accountants) |

Back to the original question, if your goal is working in private, do that rather than public. Keep your CPA active for now at least, it may help in your current search. Working on CMA and/or CGMA may also help your resume or LinkedIn profile. If you can identify specific companies you want to interview with, see what credential the CFO or controller has. Check with a nearby Robert Half office for comparative salaries in your geographic area, and your desired business area. They also have a salary guide online, but the local office knows your market.


Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email [email protected] to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.