Public and Private Accounting Differences

Understanding the differences of the two main types of accounting can help you decide how to start your career path. The two main types of accounting are public and private. The big difference is in private you can only work for one company, while in public you work with more than one client or company. For example in private accounting, you would just be working for Coca-Cola; and in public accounting you would be working for a firm that provides accounting services to Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Starting your career in a private company like Coca-Cola, you would not typically receive any true accounting experience unless if you are in their corporate headquarters. If you work in their regional office, your tasks would be reporting and scanning documents to corporate.

No matter where you decide to work, it is important to find somewhere that would provide you a chance to grow. It is not commonly thought of being as easy to advance your career in a private accounting job. In my opinion, public accounting is the best option to begin your accounting career. An accountant starting their career in public accounting will develop a wide variety of skills and gain unique experiences in different industries. This will allow an individual that is new to the profession to understand what industry and service interests his or herself.

After gaining experience and knowledge in a specific service within a niche industry, your career would be developing. At this point many accountants leave public accounting and enter into a private company within the industry that they have developed knowledge while working. This exemplifies how starting your career in public accounting can open opportunities to further your career in a different path.

If the accountant stays in public accounting, he or she will still be able to advance their career; because of a more holistic experience they will be able to provide their clients due to the valuable knowledge and skills that they have accumulated.

The biggest difference in the accounting employee that a private and public company hires is that a public firm is looking for prospective employees that have strong level of communication skills. Despite the stereotype of an accountant, public accounting is a social business because there is interaction with clients every day. Public accounting is unique because the firms work with their clients, and the clients are their source of revenue.

No matter which type of accounting you go into you will find it to be difficult to advance in your career without obtaining your Certified Public Accountant license. After earning your license, you will be much more than an accountant, you will be a CPA.



This blog was from my own experiences; your path may be different.

Posted in: Academics, Advising & Support