Considering consulting? Ask those questions first

Sherry E. Rowe
Considering consulting? Ask these questions first - Journal of Accountancy

If you’ve got been thinking about consulting as the following degree in your career, you are now no longer alone. Many CPAs turn out to be part-time or complete-time experts previous to retirement. Others select consulting due to the fact they need more flexibility and manipulation over their schedules. Some seek advice from among complete-time jobs, or at the facet at the same time as operating complete time.

Opportunities for accounting experts are excessive proper now. “It’s a representative’s marketplace,” stated Don Plato, VP at Robert Half Management Resources. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment price for accountants and auditors becomes 1.7% withinside the 1/3 region of 2018, properly underneath the country-wide unemployment price of 3.7%.

Since so few accountants are unemployed, open positions are going vacant for longer, and groups are probably to keep in mind hiring experts on a short-time period basis, stated Maureen Hoers ten, COO at Chicago-primarily based staffing organization LaSalle Network. It can take 3 to 4 months to fill an excessive-degree vacancy, together with a CFO or controller position, and groups can also additionally rent a representative withinside the meantime. They may additionally be seeking experts due to the fact they may be increasing or moving and want a person to help all through a transition or to assist put in force software.

If you are considering turning into a representative, however, there are a few belongings you want to realize approximately the CPA consulting panorama first, and a few crucial inquiries to ask yourself.

REGISTER WITH A STAFFING FIRM OR GO INDEPENDENT?

Probably the maximum essential selection you may want to make is whether or not to be an unbiased representative or paintings as a contractor for staffing or consulting offerings organization, of the primary avenues for consulting, even though now no longer the most effective options. Each method has its professional and cons.

When operating with a staffing or consulting offerings organization, you sign up and are interviewed and onboarded, and the organization will suit you with ability employment opportunities. The organization can even take a percent of your pay in alternate for this and different offerings. The benefit to operating for an organization, even though, is that you may not want to discover customers or the marketplace yourself.

Registering with a staffing or consulting offerings organization is commonly pretty straightforward: You name or sign up at the company’s website, publish a résumé, and behavior an interview with a recruiter, which can also additionally take region over the video name. Many corporations evaluate and provide recommendations on candidates’ résumés as a part of the onboarding process (see “Is Your Résumé Specific Enough?” underneath). Firms frequently have an excessive extent of open positions and are capable of region accountants pretty fast, in a few instances inside 24 hours, Hoers ten stated.

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU BEGIN CONSULTING

Do you get the proper attitude?

Consultants have to be talented withinside the capabilities of their potential company desires and be capable of fast adapting to the methods and approaches in their new workplace. “We do not need to the region a representative who desires to spend time getting ramped up, gaining knowledge of the equipment and capabilities they want to execute the assignment. Instead, we want to pick out experts who can hit the floor jogging and be a fee upload to contemporary leaders,” Hoers ten stated. 

Do you’ve to get specialized capabilities?

Though groups are looking for experts with extra well-known talent bases, the maximum in-call for accounting experts are people with specialized capabilities (see “The Most Sought-After Skills for Consultants,” underneath). “That’s now no longer to mention that in case you are simply a very good controller, you cannot discover a job,” Plato stated. “But if you’ve got been doing SEC reporting for the ultimate 15 years, for example, you’ll be our go-to extra than a controller it truly is simply dabbled in it.”

Before launching your consulting career, decide what kind of paintings you watched you could need to do. Then carry out a self-evaluation to pick out any gaps in your capabilities. Evaluate each of your technical capabilities (together with regulatory knowledge, enterprise knowledge, talent with specific forms of software, and writing capabilities) and smooth capabilities (education and/or handling staff, networking, presenting). more

How lengthy do you need to do consulting?

Are you looking to seek advice only a few years earlier than retiring altogether, or for in all likelihood the following decade or extra? Establishing an expected time horizon permits you to decide what kind of paintings you make a decision to do and what kind you have to spend money on getting ready yourself.

Most placements with the aid of using staffing or consulting offerings corporations are for 3 to 6 months, even though once in a while they could ultimate a yr. or extra. more

When do you need to begin?

Regardless of the kind of paintings you need to do, getting commenced as a representative maximum probably would require strengthening planning. If time allows, you have to begin considering it a minimum of six months from the time you propose to retire or transition. That will come up with time to attain any extra education or schooling you may want.

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