Moonlighting (starting business) as an Accountant - Still in school
July 14, 2013 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I am still in school and doing pretty well... close to 4.0 and have two audit internships under my belt. Big 4 is likely an option as are several other Fortune 500 companies in the area and I have connections in the Federal government that can get me a job there. BUT.... I don't really want to be involved in all of that. I am doing internal audit in a company right now and even though I have the ability to work 60-70 hour weeks the question is "Do I want to be doing this on a regular basis for the next 35 years?" and the answer is "No". I want to have a life outside of work, spend time with my (future) family, and...Start an Accounting business.

My question is two-fold:

- If I want to start a business at some point in the future what job should I take (be looking for) now? The government would give me more flexibility to work on my business outside of work so is that the best option? The job I have a connection with is a general financial job and would not give me experience in tax or audit most likely but it does pay well, especially for time spent, since I would at minimum reach the GS-13 level.

- Should I be looking for a government job that would give me more specific experience in an area of Accounting that I would want to start a business in? Tax seems like the most obvious accounting business to start but my skill sets are probably more in line with audit at the moment (mainly due to experience but I am well-suited towards the work).

Another option I thought of was doing some tax or audit work over the weekend (especially during busy season) while I am working in the government. Is this a possibility? Also is taking on tax/audit clients while I am working another job (ie "moonlighting") a possibility and how would I go about doing this? Or would helping out an existing business during busy season be a more viable option at the moment?

Thank you for your help.
posted by locussst to Work & Money (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Take whatever job will facilitate getting your CPA ASAP. So somewhere you can rack up the required audit hours quickly. If their employee benefits include study time and paying for exam fees and review courses, all the better.

Even if your business ends up revolving around accounting work that doesn't strictly require a CPA license, most laypeople equate "CPA" and "accountant" so if you don't have those letters after your name there are many people who won't see you as a "real" accountant.

Getting your CPA ASAP will be a more-than-full-time job for a couple of years so don't bother starting a business until after you've got it. If you're looking for something to do while you're still in school, start studying for the CPA exams.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:28 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd do the Federal Governement, log in the time to get my CPA, enjoy the fuck out of Fed benefits and retire early to open my own business.

My Dad retired from the Federal Government and it's BOSS! My parents make more money in retirement than the did when they were both working!

Plus, you learn some really interesting stuff.

If you know you don't like a 60 hour work week, stay away from the big 4. You're already pretty far ahead of the game here.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:20 AM on July 15, 2013

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