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Career Direction – Top 10 Assistant Manager: Public B4 vs Industry

In need of advice.

Professional background:

  • Top 10 Assistant Manager
  • 9 yrs experience:  5 1/2 years public practice experience plus 4 yrs prior to public practice in industry, managing small business logistics
  • International audit experience in Canada, and the Caribbean, under IFRS and US GAAP
  • Strong performance track record, excellent technical and soft skills

Long term goals:

  • 15-25 years be eligible to be an Independent Director ("ID") at mid-sized to large publicly listed companies
  • Financial security to allow for early retirement, or a second career, while staying engaged in business and accounting as an ID

The choice:

  • Managment Controller for a large multi-national conglomerate
  • Assistant Manager for a Big 4 firm

I am faced with two very different career paths at the moment and am having difficulty in seeing what is the best and quickest way to my long-term goals.  The question is whether to remain in public practice, while "leveling-up" to a Big 4 firm, with the goal of continuing to network and build a strong foundation for entering industry at a later date, or to begin the jump into industry immediately and get the hands-on experience "in the trenches" by taking on a management controller position at a well known multi-national.  Which is the best way to get the experience I will need to meet my long term goals?

The wild-card question is, if I took the management controller position and after a year found that it was not a good fit, would I be able to find the same caliber of Assistant Manager position at a Big 4 that I am currently offered?

I want to make sure that I make the right steps now to avoid having to back-track later.  Thank you, in advance, for your feedback!