UK Accountant looking for jobs in US
March 12, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

UK accountant looking for a job in the US.

My cousin is a UK qualified accountant with an ACCA certification and works in the public sector. She wants to move to the US (DC, specifically) and is looking for tips on starting a job search. I know nothing about accounting, but, from some preliminary research, it looks like the ACCA certification is not recognized in the US and most jobs tend to require a CPA qualification. Although she may want to get CPA qualified at some point, she doesn't intend to do so before commencing the US job search in earnest.

Do you know what sort of jobs a UK qualified accountant should be looking for in the US without a CPA, and where to look for them (i.e., names of specific headhunters / recruitment agencies)? Thanks very much.
posted by subtle-t to Work & Money (3 answers total)
 
Does your cousin have authorization to work in the US? In other words, is she a citizen? If not, then her biggest hurdle--aside from not being an accredited accountant in the US--will be finding an employer willing to sponsor her for an employment visa. This is an expensive undertaking and so her job search should be focused on large companies with experience in hiring foreign nationals.

As to the questions about becoming a CPA, your cousin should contact the AICPA and ask them how, if possible, an accountant from the UK can become a CPA in the US. I don't know if this is possible, but if it is, no doubt others have done it before your cousin.
posted by dfriedman at 10:33 AM on March 12, 2012


Work authorization aside, she would probably have the best luck finding an employer who needs an ACCA-certified accountant. An American company with UK branches or affiliates, a UK company with US branches or affiliates.

A CPA is a certification, and US Generally Accepted Accounting Practices are not UK or EURO GAAP. One must pass the exam to become a CPA, in the US, with the appropriate knowledge of laws, taxes, etc - plus educational requirements. Our CPA has to do something like 80 continuing education credits every 2 years, and I don't know what kind of educational credentials she had to provide to sit the exam in the first place.

But. I work in accounting software, and 80% of the accounting-educated users I deal with are not CPAs. They are business analysts, staff accountants, report designers (I've seen companies with complex financial structures that had an entire reporting department), mergers and acquisitions project staff, etc. Being an accountant is probably not as important as what field her experience is in (healthcare is not the same as property management is not the same as shipping and logistics, etc). She'll need to play up what makes her unique if she's expecting to be sponsored by a company; if she's already got the right to work here, she just needs to find someone who wants her skills.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:56 AM on March 12, 2012


Does your cousin have authorization to work in the US? In other words, is she a citizen? If not, then her biggest hurdle--aside from not being an accredited accountant in the US--will be finding an employer willing to sponsor her for an employment visa.

This is known as an H1-B visa. Your cousin should research everything she can find about the process.

This is an expensive undertaking

Primarily for the attorney fees that are involved, which can easily be $5,000 or more. Moreover, she will need representation in the US. This will further complicate matters.

her job search should be focused on large companies with experience in hiring foreign nationals

"Large companies with experience in hiring foreign nationals" in accounting is likely to be a small universe; especially given what Lyn Never correctly says about differences in accounting standards between the US and the rest of the world.
posted by John Borrowman at 1:21 PM on March 12, 2012


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