September 24, 2022

CPA Who Gave Up Public Accounting to Drive an 18-Wheeler Says He Made More Money Driving a Truck

*post image is not Steve, just some guy from iStock

Letters to the editor are great because they clue you in to how a reader identifies with what you’ve written and often the writer will share their own experience viewed through the lens of your story. In this case, the reader-submitted letter we’re about to share with you was written not to us but to Fortune in regards to this August 15 article about the struggle to find accounting and finance talent (we wrote our own take on Deloitte’s talent retention data, too). Here’s a quick blurb from that piece to get you caught up ICYMI:

Deloitte shared new data with me that found 82.4% of hiring managers for accounting and financial positions at public companies said talent retention is a big challenge, compared to 68.9% of hiring managers at private companies.

In addition, 82.3% of hiring managers at public companies expect they’ll have to work hard in the next year to attract and retain employees. Meanwhile, 73.7% of hiring managers at private companies said the same.

TL;DR accounting talent is hard to find.

So a former CPA read that article and felt compelled to give his two cents (seven cents after inflation) on the talent problem and why it’s so hard to find an accountant these days. Here’s what “Steve L.” wrote to article author Sheryl Estrada:

I recently saw an article you wrote on the subject of how difficult it is to find accounting and finance talent. I was an accountant passing the CPA exam in 1981. While things may have changed since then, my experience as a CPA was less than satisfactory. I had four jobs in public accounting and none of them worked.

I then pursued a lifelong dream—driving 18-wheelers. I made a lot more money, and not because of inflation. I had a lot more fun and made a lot more friends. Based on my experience, I can see why it is difficult to find accounting and finance talent. And no, I never once regretted handing in my CPA license.

Ouch.

This makes me wonder though…if driving trucks was his lifelong dream, why public accounting at all? Did Steve consider a move to industry instead of exiting the profession completely? What was it about public that made it such a struggle for him? Did he have to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to the gymnasium where he sat for the CPA exam in 1981? Does he find the below image triggering??

Uniform CPA examination questions May 1980 to November 1981

Steve, if you see this get in touch. We have questions. Starting with “which is your favorite truck stop restroom and why is every Flying J so sketchy??”

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7 Comments

  1. Good for that guy. It is true. CPA firms complain of talent shortage but pay their workers so low and work them from morning til evening. You will be lucky enough not to develop health problems. Live life to the fullest.

    1. I can relate to this 100%. I worked in public accounting when I was younger and the hours were crazy and the pay was sh*t. I still vividly remember the interview I had with one of the partners in the CA firm in BC Canada when I was ready to move up the ladder. First she spoke about how hard it is to find accountants who want to manage staff and “grow with the company”, then I impressed her with my knowledge but when it came to negotiating wages, she started to backtrack pretty fast, giving a vague answer, pointing out that I still had a couple of exam left to get my accounting designation, etc. etc.
      I ended up working as a comptroller in the industry after getting my accounting designation where the hours were better but I still made less than the average tradesman or “rock truck” driver, not even factoring in overtime ( I did not get paid OT but everyone “on the tools” did).

  2. Mmmmm. I was always drawn to the allure of the life of a trucker, but the 18 hours a day on the road. Stinking like farts, nut cheese and BO. Avoiding collisions with insane psychopaths on the highway. Biker gangs. Doesn’t seem like it’s worth it.

    But then again, there’s the meth and truck stop h00kers to look forward to every day. Why not get paid to smoke meth all day, then pull into a flying Js at the end of the day and pay $40 to a lot lizard to hoover me like a vacuum.

    Hey, a man can dream can’t be? Can’t be? 😐

  3. Joke all you want, but there’s a lot more pressure driving a truck than being an auditor. Being bad at truck driving can actually result in negative consequences for individuals and society as a whole. It’s important work and society has expectations of the people doing it. If an auditor sucks at their job, no one cares. In fact some customers prefer that.

  4. If he’s really so happy with his choice, why is he still reading sites about the profession?

    There’s a good chance this guy is trying to convince himself he made the right choice. If he were really so happy with his choice, why is he still reading sites about the profession.

    I was a convenience store manager before becoming a CPA. I don’t read the convenience store trade sites.

    1. It this sort of tone by ppl like you who also ruin the profession. Your attempt to belittle the source in the article happens far too often contributing to PA being a toxic work environment and try to strip ppl of their dignity to make yourself look better.

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