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Here’s How You Can Travel the World After Only a Few Years in Public Accounting


Please enjoy this sponsored content from Beech Valley Solutions. You can read more their partnership with Accountingfly here.

Given the 12 hour time difference in Beijing and the uncertainty around Internet access (i.e. Gmail and Facebook are blocked there), it may be hard to coordinate a call presently.

On October 8-13 I will be visiting North Korea where I am certain there will be no internet access. After that, I spend 2 days on a train and 14 days touring/hiking in Tibet, again with limited/no internet.

Other than the next 4 hours I will spend here in the Seattle airport, my schedule is impossible to predict right now.

This is an excerpt of an actual email we received several months back, and these kinds of emails are what we’re used to receiving from the CPAs we work with.

How do you think you’d feel if you found yourself in the Seattle airport on a layover, about to travel around Beijing, Tibet, and even North Korea?

Sound unrealistic?  It’s really not.

Lifestyle Design

You can make drastic lifestyle changes by optimizing for lifestyle design, a concept popularized by Tim Ferriss in the The 4 Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.

The keys to optimizing lifestyle design are freeing up time and mobility, and there are few professions that offer the opportunity to control your time and mobility more than the CPA profession.

When I left PwC in 2014 to begin freelancing, I promptly moved out of my apartment, moved my stuff into storage, and spent the next 18 months traveling.  

I had enough out-of-town freelance projects to rack up tons of rewards miles, as well as take advantage of some client-sponsored in lieu of traveling home flights to places like Jackson Hole, Los Angeles, and even Bogota, Colombia.

So if you’re feeling like each successive busy season is more of the same, and your life is starting to blur together between windowless conference rooms and late night meals from Styrofoam boxes, consider thinking outside that Styrofoam box for a minute.  

How to free up time and mobility while progressing your career as a CPA

The two straightforward ways of freeing up time and mobility are…

  • Attempt to structure a part-time, flexible arrangement with your current employer, allowing you to work remotely or take off for a portion of the year
  • Work for yourself through freelancing

Let’s talk freelancing

….since after all, that is what we help CPAs do, and this is a sponsored post.

As a freelancer you can earn double or even triple per hour what you’re currently making as a salaried professional. This means in 4-6 months you can earn the income you need to live comfortably for the entire year, while still saving for retirement.

What rate could I earn as a freelancer?

It varies project-to-project, but fill out this nifty calculator on our website for a ballpark estimate of what you’ll likely be able to earn freelancing through Beech Valley.

Of course, we’re not the only option out there (we are the most accessible, though).  Network and see what kind of freelancing options exist for someone with your exact background.

And whether you intend to work through us or not, we’d still love to hear from you, so feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about getting started as a freelancer.

Take full control of your schedule

As a self-employed freelancer, you have full control over what projects you accept or reject, meaning you can accept projects for a portion of the year while setting aside the remainder of the year to focus on other lifestyle or business-oriented goals.

How are you going to spend the rest of the year when you’re not consulting?

Totally up to you.  The CPAs we work with generally opt to either spend that time growing their own practice, hanging out with family, or traveling the world.

So if it’s April and you’re planning on traveling abroad starting in August, just accept a 3-month project and crank for a few months.  You can quickly build up a sufficient nest egg to go island-hopping around Thailand for an extended period of time, while still socking away cash for a rainy day.

If I don’t like freelancing, will I ever be able to work again?  What about the resume gap?

Many of our freelancers receive job opportunities from other firms as well as companies that are our clients.  If you can tell your story of starting your own consulting company and solving problems for companies, many hiring managers will find this to be extremely impressive.

And best of all, you can work extended travel time into your schedule without stressing over the dreaded gap in your resume.  Your resume will accurately reflect that you were working for yourself during that entire time.

Be forewarned though, once you start working for yourself, it’ll be difficult to ever want to go back to a salaried 9 to 5.

If this sounds interesting to you, shoot us a message

Contact us.  We’d love to speak to you about what types of opportunities interest you, as well as provide you with general advice as to how you can start and grow your own audit, tax, or consulting firm.

If nothing else, we just enjoy speaking with entrepreneurial-minded CPAs.

Brad Hughes is a co-founder of Beech Valley Solutions, the premiere network that connects CPAs with freelance opportunities in advisory, assurance and tax.  Beech Valley consultants enjoy higher pay for every hour worked, the flexibility to accept or reject projects, and the ability to diversify their skill sets.