Today’s businesses are increasingly looking to their accounting firms for services beyond accounting, auditing, and compliance. They want a true advisor—someone to help guide their financial future and evaluate all different types of transactions.
This has created an opportunity for today’s accountants, one that some will find alluring, provocative, and potentially lucrative. But for many, it presents a challenging question: Should you keep your career on a traditional accounting or auditing path, or should you move to a job with more of an advisory function?
This is one of those questions akin to “What do you call that sweet carbonated stuff people drink out of a can?” Some will say soda, some pop. And neither of them are wrong. (Except for those weird people in the South who call everything “Coke,” regardless of the brand of the drink. “You want a Coke? What flavor do you want, Sprite?” They’re wrong. So very wrong.)
Much of the decision between accounting and advisory will be based on your individual wants, needs, and personality. Do you want to play the background singer, providing the harmonies and rhythms that make the group shine? Or do you want to be more of a lead singer, belting out solos that make the crowd go wild?
If you’re feeling like Malcolm, still stuck somewhere in the middle, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to look at some of the advantages of taking an advisory role. And hopefully, by the time we’re done, you’ll have a better idea if an advisory job is right for you.
(Sidenote: Did you know we never learned the family’s last name in Malcolm in the Middle? OR where they live? That’s weird, right? And which is weirder, that the show’s creators made that choice and stuck by it through seven seasons, or that most people never noticed? These are questions we’ll never answer, so we better get back to accounting versus advisory.)
1. Feel the impact of your work
In a traditional accounting or auditing job, especially at large firms, it’s often difficult to see the concrete impact of your labor. Yes, the books are closed or the audit is complete, but who did that help? And how?
“At a big accounting firm, as an auditor you’re really only in there to give clients an opinion on their financials,” said Pavan Satyaketu, managing director and founder of Advaion, a fast-growing consulting firm with offices in New York City and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “You’re doing an audit. Now especially, you can’t even make formal suggestions as to how they can improve their business operations.”
At an advisory job, however, you’ll work directly with clients to enhance their decision-making and help them grow. You’ll see the results of your labor every day as you watch your clients make smarter transactions, enter new markets, add staff, and overtake their competitors.
Like Obi-Wan, you’ll guide them away from the dark side and teach them to use their powers for good.
“We’re enacting change, and we’re more forward-looking as opposed to backward-looking. We’re actually working with our clients to make changes to their businesses and we often function as an extension of their management teams rather than as third parties,” Satyaketu said.
When your client brings on customers faster, expands its locations, or successfully launches an initial public offering, you can point to that and say, “I helped with that. My hard work made that happen.” And that’s a feeling you won’t often have if you stick to traditional accounting and audit work.
2. Expand your skill set
In a traditional accounting or audit role, it can be easy to get complacent about your skill set. Sure, you need to keep up with the latest advances in technology and regulatory changes, but numbers are numbers. If you’re going to do accounting or auditing work for the rest of your life, why learn any new skills, like marketing or enterprise technology?
And that’s perfectly fine for accountants who want to take that path. But if you’re unsure what the future of your career holds, it’s smart to develop as many skills as you possibly can. Doing so broadens your future possibilities and puts you in the driver’s seat to be a world-class leader. Moving to an advisory job will help you expand your skill set, exposing you to tasks and departments you’d never be involved with in a traditional accounting or auditing role.
It’s like when Marty refuses to race Needles at the end of Back to the Future Part III. He erases his bitter future as a broken-down middle manager and opens a new destiny of unlimited possibilities. (We’re not saying sticking to traditional accounting will give you a sad, old-Marty future, just that advisory can enable you to take a lot of different paths.)
As an advisor, you’ll be asked to help improve your clients’ operations, enhance their financial reporting, and implement new systems. This will require you to develop a host of new skills, but it will also expose you to business functions and larger management strategies that will be hugely beneficial to your career.
“If you work at Advaion, you actually get to see the big picture of each company,” Satyaketu said. “Working with the different departments in the client organization gives you a sense of how a company operates. If you want to become a leader, that knowledge will be invaluable, as it allows you to understand an organization as a whole rather that just one silo.”
Ready to make the leap to an advisory job? Advaion is currently hiring. Scroll to the bottom of this article to apply for an open advisory job at Advaion now.
3. Enjoy a friendly client dynamic
Most clients love hearing from their advisors. You’ll often get to be the bearer of good news. And in cases where you have to tell them something negative, they’ll know you’re just looking out for their best interests and will usually take it in stride.
That’s because, as an advisor, you’ll be working synergistically with clients to help them move their business forward. They’ll see you as an enabler of success rather than a regulatory requirement. Over time, you’ll develop a cheerful rapport with your clients—and perhaps even build friendships.
“We are our clients’ advocates. This leads to immediate connections, immediate relationships. And it’s not adversarial or anything like that—it’s collaborative. They want us there. Our clients get excited when they know we’re coming to see them,” Satyaketu said.
Advaion: The perfect place to begin or expand your advisory career
If you’ve decided a job with an advisory or consulting function may be right for you, consider applying for a job at Advaion. (Links to open positions at Advaion are available at the bottom of this article.)
For more than a decade, Advaion has served as a trusted advisor for clients in several industries. The independent consulting firm’s staff is comprised primarily of former Big 4 business professionals—so if you’re currently working at one of the Big 4, you may be exactly the recruit Advaion is looking for.
At Advaion, you’ll provide your clients with the most up-to-date information related to regulatory, compliance, management, and technology trends. You’ll foster a relationship of trust with your clients, helping them make smarter financial decisions and grow their businesses.
Many of Advaion’s clients are going through significant growth, looking to update their systems, seeking investor funding, preparing for an IPO, and/or struggling to maintain compliance. As an advisor at Advaion, you’ll give your clients a competitive edge by identifying opportunities, making data-based recommendations, and guiding them through complex situations.
And if that isn’t enough to entice you, Advaion also treats its employees with respect and kindness, helping them succeed in both their work lives and personal lives.
“We pay 100% of our health benefits to our employees. We allow employees to contribute to vest in their 401(k) on day one—no waiting periods. We try not to have anyone work over 45 hours a week. We monitor that continuously. We really believe that to be successful as a business, we need to take care of our employees first and everything else will fall into place,” Satyaketu said.
Advaion is dedicated to employee advancement, empowering its staff through mentoring, education, meaningful project work, and employee growth planning.
If you’re worried you’ll struggle to make the transition from accounting to advisory work, don’t fret—Advaion has your back.
“Onboarding is fast. As an accountant or auditor, you already understand the basics of how advisory works. We’ll start you on projects that are similar to what you were already doing, and then slowly move you into other things. It’s a very natural transition,” Satyaketu said.
So ultimately, how do you know if an advisory job at Advaion is right for you?
“If you want to do day-to-day accounting, closing the books, doing debits and credits, this is not for you,” Satyaketu said. “But if you want to do bigger-picture stuff, if you want to build those broader skill sets, if you want to help take a company to the next level, come work at Advaion. We’d be glad to have you, and we’re betting you’ll be glad you joined.”
Click one of the links below to apply for an open advisory job at Advaion now.