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September 26, 2023

How the hell does one go private/industry? and Should I?

Here goes nothing:

I am a Senior in Nonprofit, been doing Audit and Tax for about 7-8 years. I've gone from a small firm to a mid-size firm to a Large (right under Big 4) firm. At this point I'm very burnt out by the long hours and lack of social life (aren't we all?) to the point where I am making rediculous (Intern Level 😉 mistakes. I've made several attempts at going into private (or as some of you call it "industry") as either an Assistant Controller or a Controller but I've had no luck. I'm not sure whatever it's my interview skills or whatever some of the skills I have are not transferrable to such a position, or maybe there is just a glut of qualified candidates with private experience. 

Obviously, from my years of experience you can also tell I haven't made manager yet for one reason or another. Right now I'm considering trying a transition into a mid-size firm to see if I can start as a Manager (yes, I have my CPA and yes I know that is very hard to pull off) to see if this will help move my career along into private farther down the line. But on the other hand I'm not sure if I can take 2-3 more years of this.

Just to give you some background on the Nonprofit side of the Industry: when I started several years ago most people would usually get about 5-6 years of experience and then hit some cushy job at a foundation. Obviously all of this changed with the economy and now there is a large group of seniors with allot of experience in firms where movement to the management level is difficult, but no impossible (I am speaking of course about myself as well as several collegues who are in the same situation). The recession was particularly brutal since many people left/were let go and the actual amount of business decreased very little (most of our clients had enough money stashed away to be largely unaffected by the recession) leaving a smaller number of people doing the same amount of work. The only positive aspect of the whole experience was a drastic increase in salaries as the number of people with specific Audit & Tax industry knowledge (government audit, endowments, Form 990's) dried up and firms have been increasing salary offers (to the point of paying seniors manager level salaries) to steal auditors and tax people from each other.

So here are my questions:

1) How did you make it to industry

2) Given my situation is it worth pushing for a higher position in audit/tax


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