5 Tips for Moving from a Government Accounting Job to Public or Private Accounting

Accountant employment is expected to grow by as much as 11 percent by the year 2024. If you’re considering transferring out of government accounting to take a more gainful approach to your profession, you’re in good company if you decide to transition to a public or private sector. Naturally, you’re going to want to keep a few important things in mind in order to manage the transition effectively.

Though the fields of public and private accounting may potentially open up certain doors in accounting that leave you more well-compensated at the end of day, there are certain things that could definitely trip an ambitious accountant up if they aren’t careful about putting the right pieces in place before they make the jump.

Develop And Demonstrate A Real Business Plan

One of the most important things to understand about the process of government accounting specialists being brought onto the public or private sector is the importance of their credibility, and credibility comes from both experience and planning skills. Private sectors in all industries are oftentimes a bit wary of new specialists coming in from government sectors who are filled with confidence but can’t deliver.

Featured Programs

Government experience can undoubtedly be very useful when it comes to showing your credentials, but that experience alone isn’t enough to show that you are a worthy hire. You don’t only need to have the right level of experience, need to have a plan of action for when you actually touch ground in your new sector.

The more clearly that you are able to communicate how you plan on attracting business as a new private or public sector accountant, the more confidence you will be able to inspire in whatever firm it is that actually moves to help you build up that practice.

Scout A Firm With A Plan For New Accountants

Don’t only consider your own plan to build a practice once you leave the government sector, but also consider the plan that your new firm has in action as well. Though accountability is key, firms taking on new ex-government accountants need to be able to demonstrate that they themselves have a way to sell the services of the newly arrived specialists. See to it that you choose to invest your time in a firm that has a plan for selling your services that is congruent to how you plan to sell your own services independently.

Understand Differing Public And Private Sector Requirements

In terms of education, public accounting requires both an accounting degree and a CPA license, while in private accounting, a CPA license is not necessary but valuable.

Public accounting puts more of a strong emphasis on your analytical skills, while private accounting is more a matter of your awareness of industry regulations and best business practices. Public accounting will have a need for best business practice know-how as well, but also a pronounced need to be aware of how to operate certain regulated business systems.

Understand Sector-Specific Traveling, Scheduling and Client Outreach

The public sector will generally require long hours and lots of travel, while private accounting may have a more stabilized schedule with less travel required for the job. Public accounting would generally see a much more diverse variety of clients then private accounting, which will generally familiarize you with your primary base.

Consider The Top-Priority Personalty Traits In Public & Private Sector Work

Being able to foster good relationships is valuable for people in both field of accounting, though there are some nuances in what kind of personality traits are valued the most by public accounting and private accounting respectively.

Public accountants have a strong need to be adaptable and willingness to be outgoing in order reach a diverse variety of new clients. In private accounting, on the other hand, the most essential quality is for an accountant to have tight organizational skills.Where private or public, the accountant that performs best will always have a high-level communication skills and the character to follow through on their commitments.


See also: 50 Most Affordable Small Midwest Colleges for an Accounting Degree 2016 (Bachelor’s)