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A Miserable Internal Auditor Wants to Jump Into Public Accounting

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Hi Adrienne,

I have not seen a post about Internal Audit to Public Accounting so I figured I would ask. I absolutely cannot stand my job as an internal auditor. I currently work in the gambling industry and contrary to what some believe it is not all fun and games.

If I to do one more compliance or operational audit I just might have to join someone in jumping off the parking garage (not really). Anyway I was wondering how some one goes from Internal Audit to Public Accounting? I have an MBA, two years of Internal Audit experience, I passed AUD, waiting for REG scores, and studying for BEC and FAR.

Please help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Well, there goes my lifelong dream of being a one-armed bandit technician!

Before you go leaping off the parking garage, slow down and tell us what you've done so far. Have you just been sitting there stewing at your current position, plotting revenge against the jerk who talked you into taking this job? Or are you taking proactive steps now to get out?

How's your LinkedIn profile look these days? That's a sure way to attract the recruiting sharks – it's not the ideal route to take but sounds like you're in crisis mode at this point and don't have the luxury to get picky. Do you maintain any sort of relationship with your state society of CPAs, attend any professional events or otherwise rub elbows with CPAs in the very area you're trying to break into? You're likely already aware of this but at this point in your career, it isn't going to be as easy as standing around at a college recruiting event, waiting for the vultures to descend upon you. Making connections might help put you in front of the right people, or at a minimum help you realize in the meantime that you aren't the only one who hates your current position.

And just curious, why does public accounting look appealing to you? Perhaps you've got some kind of weird form of hysteria from your miserable time in IA but you have heard the phrase the grass is always greener… yes?

I see no problem with combing the websites of firms in your area and spamming the bejezus out of them with your résumé and qualifications. Be sure to give a clear declaration of your unhealthy desire to subject yourself to the horror of public accounting and CPA eligibility as soon as you knock out those last two sections. Have you updated your résumé yet? What on Earth are you waiting for?! As with any other job, be careful not to trash your current employer when you start talking to firms, just talk up the target firm's [insert specific impressive client or specialty] and make it clear that you're the sort of eager beaver who would love nothing more than to be pushed around, worked like a dog and treated like a bitch. Now's not the time to be stubborn or hold out for a bigger offer; worry about being a bad ass after you have a little leverage (namely, your CPA).

On paper, you sound like an ideal candidate. I can't imagine you'll be hitting the pavement looking for a break for that long. It's just a matter of getting in front of the right people.