For all accounting majors one tough decision each of us must make before graduation is whether or not we want to work in private or public accounting. The usual question that we always bring up is which one makes the most money? Well, that question should hold little importance. The more important questions are what kind of opportunities will each career path open up in the field of accounting and whether or not you personally feel that the public accounting lifestyle is the right fit for you.
Public accounting involves the accounting work one does for another company. The “Big Four” are the most recognized companies by college students that deal with public accounting services and public accountants perform services not only for corporations but also for governments, non-profit organizations, and sometimes even individuals. Private accounting deals with internal accounting work within one company. All companies have some type of internal department and the employees who work in that department are considered the private accountants.
One common thought that majority of accounting majors think about is becoming a CPA after graduation. This plays a large part in the decisions for many of us to become public accountants. The requirements of a CPA include passing four examinations but what some accounting majors don’t know, is that you’re also required to have two years of public accounting experience with a bachelor’s degree to be licensed. However, if you graduate with a certain amount of specialized credits and pass those four examinations you would only need one year of public accounting experience to be licensed as a CPA. Private accounting experience is also acceptable but just under more constrictions than a public accountant.
Furthermore, public accountants perform a wide range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients. There are even benefits for working in one of the bigger public accounting firms as well a middle size firm. The “Big Four” searches throughout all campuses to find the best candidates and this can be very good if you feel that not only can you compete with the best, but shine above them all as well. There’s also this stereotype that public accounting is made out to be dull and boring and usually all you do is sit in a cubical with very little communication going on. I feel that this is misleading because public accountants tend to be doing a lot of work for more than one company, which keeps the job interesting and can even...