Millennials have embraced the accounting profession with gusto, which may surprise those outside observers who are expecting the industry to be harshly buffeted by the whirlwinds of automation. As countless aspiring young CPAs have come to realize, however, the future of the accounting industry isn’t the dismal, gloom scene painted by many of its detractors today, but is actually very bright and promising to those young professionals who start off on the right path.
Increasingly, these young CPAs are coming to realize that firm ownership is an ideal goal to orientate their careers around. Here’s why these up and coming professionals are considering firm ownership, and why you may want to give it some thought yourself if you’re just dipping your toes into the accounting industry.
Firm ownership will be a mainstay of the industry
While concerns about such things as automation and machine learning coming to replace accountants seem to be growing, it’s a simple matter of fact that accountants will be needed for decades to come. Nonetheless, it’s also indisputable that the accounting industry is going to undergo some seriously revolutionary change in the near-future, and we’d be fools to try to ignore the innovation that’s upending the industry. Despite all of the chatter surrounding forthcoming change, however, it’s a matter of fact that firm ownership will remain a mainstay of the accounting industry for some time yet, and that young accountants hoping to steer themselves towards long term financial prosperity should consider starting their own firms.
For entrepreneurially minded young CPAs in particular, firm ownership could be just what they’re looking for in a career; in the future, accountants and firm owners in particular will be required to issue out much more business advice than they do today, meaning entrepreneurs and self-starters will fit right into the increasingly business-like mold that accounting seems to be fitting itself into. Millennials overwhelmingly want to work for themselves, but this more often than not means they really just want the freedom to make the kind of creative business decisions they think are needed for success. That’s why firm ownership is so attractive; owning your own accounting firm ensures you’re the one in the driver’s seat calling all of the shots.
For CPAs who are trying to start a family, too, owning your own firm can provide you with a much better work-life balance than the alternatives. While owning your own firm is a huge responsibility, and will demand quite a bit from you, it also ensures that you’re in charge of your own schedule, and that your financial security is tied to your own efforts, rather than to the whims of your boss or the HR department. Thus, if you’re trying to create your own dream schedule, owning your own firm is probably the first step you need to take.
Avoiding ownership-related failures
To truly consider firm ownership in a meaningful way, you’ll want to be briefed on the potential calamities that could greet you down the road. If you don’t have a contingency plan in place to avoid the common pitfalls of starting your own firm, after all, you’ll have few reasons to believe you’ll succeed in the long term. Be sure to do your research on firm ownership well ahead of time, as a failure to do so will inevitably spell out disaster and stress you out.
Done properly, however, owning and operating your own firm grants a CPA tremendous amounts of independence and prestige amongst your peers. A properly capitalized firm with a free background check will be able to reach for the stars, and you’ll be one of those crucial innovators driving the broader accounting industry forward with each change to your company’s policy that you make. Are you sick and tired of old, outdated ways of doing business? If so, the allures of firm ownership will soon be calling out to you, as ownership is the best way to guarantee you have a voice in deciding how things in the industry will change.
Young CPAs may also want to buck the norm, and avoid the Big 4 who have become staples of the industry. For those young CPAs looking for a change of pace, then, not to mention a change of style, firm ownership is the ideal way to approach their careers from the get-go.
If you’re considering firm ownership, today’s disruptive era is perhaps the best time for you to get started. Innovative entrepreneurs who retrofit old ways of doing business to introduce new ideas will quickly find financial backing in the marketplace, and young CPAs everywhere can seriously bolster their prestige and experience by diving headfirst into a leadership position. Keep your wits about you and your work ethic rock solid, and you’ll be steering your own firm towards success sooner than you’d believe possible.
Gary Eastwood is a CPA licensed senior accountant from Seattle, Washington. He received his CPA license from the Washington State Board of Accountancy in 2001 before relocating to Onawa, Iowa in 2008. Over more than 15 years of accounting experience, Gary has worked with multinational health service providers and independent CPA firms. He has a proven ability in dealing with business clients from a variety of backgrounds as well as leading companies to greater efficiency and profitability. He is familiar with both US GAAP and China GAAP.