Making the Transition From Public Accounting to the Private Sector


Many accounting professionals who begin their careers in public accounting firms consider shifting to the private sector at some point. While much of the foundational education requirements are similar, the two careers are actually quite different. However, it is possible to make the transition from public accounting to the private sector. To help you make the switch, here are some tips to follow.

Don’t Jump Too Soon

If you want to stand the best chance at making a transition from public to private accounting, it is important not to make a change too soon. Often, it is helpful to have a few years of experience before you start exploring alternative opportunities, as you will be received more favorably by hiring managers. Some of the ideal times in your career to consider making a change are at the two, five and eight year marks, when you traditionally advance to senior, manager or senior manager positions respectively.

You also want to avoid moving during the busy season, as you are almost guaranteed to leave your current company on bad terms. However, if the primary reason for the change in employment is out of your control, such as due to a move to another city or state, then you might be able to make the switch even if tax season is in full swing.

Learn About Your Options

Since public and private accounting are different in many ways, it is important to research any available career paths and potential employers before making the switch. Unlike in public accounting, your job security will be tied to a single company, so choosing which firms to pursue should be taken seriously. Additionally, you will likely develop a relationship with your new business over time, so it is wise to choose an employer whose values and mission are something you can get behind.

Your Work/Life Balance Will Change

In many cases, the improved work/life balance is what attracts many public accountants to the private sector. Your hours will become steadier, travel requirements will decrease and responsibilities will be more clearly outlined. This makes a career in private accounting ideal for those interested in stability, but may be less appealing to those who enjoy variations in their work.

It Isn’t as Hard as You Think

Some public accountants are intimidated by the idea of making the switch. However, the skills you acquired on the job will help you adjust to a new role with relative ease, and you’ll get the chance to learn new skills along the way.

Maintain confidence in your abilities, but be open to guidance from those already working for the company. By being willing to learn, your transition from public to private accounting could be easier than you realized.


If you are interested in exploring private accounting positions in the local area, The Squires Group can connect you with the right opportunities. Contact us to discuss your career goals and see how our services can work for you.


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