Choosing a career in private company accounting (as opposed to a public accounting firm) can give a unique experience for both new and experienced accountants. This could include doing accounting for a large company, such as Coke (which is publicly listed!), or a small family-owned company in your area.
Almost every company will have some number of internal accountants that make sure they are tracking and reporting financials in the correct way. Depending on the size of the company and the industry, private company accounting will have different types of opportunities. Does the firm operate internationally? Are there particularly complicated tax issues? There are a number of characteristics that determine the needs of an accounting team. Whether the company is listed on a stock exchange also has big bearing on what expertise the accounting team needs to have.
But how does private company accounting differ from working at an accounting firm? The nice thing is that you will be exposed to the inner workings of the company and really feel like a part of the team. This differs from external accounting firms who are often brought in for specific project and time frame and only exposed to a particular area of the business. Private companies also let you go deep into one type of accounting. If you love revenue or GL accounting, a private company will let you become an expert and “own” a portion of their business.
A lot of the expert accountants we know at The Accounting Path started at a public accounting firm (e.g., a Big 4 or a smaller firm) and have transitioned into private company (or “industry”) accounting roles to pursue a particular field. You can also just jump right in, taking the key skills you learned in school to work along-side a seasoned accountant at a private company. Good accountants are always in demand, and the job security could not be better. Companies rely on these teams for the very fundamental information they need to be successful and are always struggling to fill key roles in their accounting departments.
Take the first step into exploring accounting at a private company by using our college search page or check out our career paths section and see what area fits your skill set and personality. Whatever your path we have the resources to help you develop a great career in accounting.