In a few weeks I will be finished with my post-baccalaureate certificate in accounting, and I’m looking for entry-level work in the tax field in the US. This is a new career direction for me; I’m 41 years old, and I have no professional accounting experience yet. Most of my previous work experience is as a teaching assistant, freelance writer, and administrative assistant.
I’m a hardcore tax nerd. I enjoy tax research, reading tax blogs
and books about tax theory
and history, and even digging through the Internal Revenue Code. I’m also a classic introvert, am very organized and self-motivated, and work well independently. I’m happiest when I have a certain level of creative and intellectual challenge – doing things like helping to solve technical problems, tracking down arcane details, or writing summaries of complex information for laypeople or non-specialists.
I’m having trouble figuring out what kinds of tax jobs would best suit me. I don't mind preparing tax returns, but I'm not sure I'd want to do that full time. What other choices do I have? Tax associate? Tax researcher? Compliance (international, federal, state, or local)? Something else entirely?
So far I’ve ruled out tax law, since I have virtually no interest in going to law school. I’ve also ruled out continuing on in academia, because I’ve already spent many years as an academic (I have two liberal arts B.S. degrees), I don’t have much interest in teaching, and I don’t want to pile on any more student debt. I need to have a steady income coming in soon
. I do plan to obtain my CPA credential in the future, but I want to get a good bit of work experience under my belt first.
I’m looking for book recommendations, websites, and any other resources that would help me decide what kind of job would suit me best. I would especially welcome first-hand “day in the life” accounts from people who work in the tax field. What do you do, and what is your job title? What kind of background is necessary to do your work? What do you like and dislike about your job? What kind of hours do you work, and what are your co-workers like? Are there layoffs going on where you work, or do you feel like your job is relatively recession-proof? What do you wish you’d known before you started your job? What advice would you give to someone just starting out in tax accounting?