So, it's difficult to admit that I've been considering this but in truth I have given it a lot of thought. I've been made an offer to rejoin the ranks of public accounting, but this time at a very small local firm. Think 8-10 partners with 40-50 total people in the firm, working at a local level in a small region with some dispersion of clients but not much. First off, we're not talking a partnership offer – we're talking a manager position (there isn't a manager/sr. manager designation here, you're staff, a manager, or a partner). The firm primarily does work for clients that don't have affluent accounting staff that can properly maintain their books and records, so they act as business advisors to many of these clients. There is some audit work, specifically with benefit plans or small companies with debt covenants to comply with, and the rest is advisory work, tax work, etc. With my background being specifically audit and then industry, I've been told there is no expectation that I jump in and start rounding up corporate or high net worth tax clients. Eventually that will come, but no time in the immediate future. Also, while partnership isn't currently on the table, it's been made clear that with success it could be as little as five years out, give or take.
So the money is right, and they preach that the hours are right. Granted, it's still a CPA firm, there is busy season and there are deadlines with long hours. But there's no formal budgeting for every job, realization isn't measured in facetime with the client, and supposedly you're allowed to have a life outside work and see your family. I know some of you out there work in firms this size or maybe a little bigger. What are your thoughts on this kind of setup?