The Most Misunderstood Phrase In Accounting

November 19, 2019

Andrew Finnorn | Staff Accountant | Published by Crow Shields Bailey

Throughout the recruitment process, you will hear firms speak of their dedication to a work-life balance. They are referring to the ability to balance the demanding work load of public accounting and life outside the office. It is used as a way to overcome the common belief that public accountants work 24/7. The most important thing to understand is that this challenge must first be overcome at the employee level, then assisted by the firm. This can be accomplished by answering three easy questions.

What are you balancing? The things that you value evolve as you progress through life. When you first enter the workforce as a young adult, time with friends and participating in hobbies are often your main focus. As changes happen, such as marriage or having children, you will find that your priorities and interest will also change. Discovering what is important to you is the first step in creating your ideal work-life balance.

When is the deadline? You will learn very quickly in public accounting that everything revolves around deadlines. There is always another deadline waiting around the corner, and understanding the workload is a key to success. Once you understand the “work” ahead, it allows you to build a schedule that can tackle the sometimes overwhelming workload, and allows for “life.” The anxiety that is felt with approaching deadlines can be mitigated by attacking the work load early. The more work that can be completed on the front end allows you to maintain your desired work-life balance.

Does this firm understand me? With the diversity of the workforce, firms must have an understanding of what is important to each employee. As addressed with the first question, each individual will have different priorities in life. You should search for a firm that aligns with your values. This requires getting to know the firm beyond an interview, and not getting caught up in a recruiting pitch. Current employees and their experiences can often give you an insight into the firm’s values. Look for an opportunity during recruiting events to interview the employees.

As a result of the public’s perception of accountants working 80-hour weeks, the work-life balance has become a point of emphasis for recruitment platforms. Is a work-life balance truly accomplished at the firm level? Yes, they play an important role, but they are only part of the equation. Your understanding of the balancing act and the ability to schedule ahead will allow for the ideal work-life balance in your career.



The Big Question: Should You Work At A Large Firm Or A Small Firm?

January 17, 2019

Kenny Crow, III, CPA | Supervisor Published by Crow Shields Bailey

Exploring the Benefits and Challenges of Large vs Small Firms

Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working for two successful accounting firms. Both of these have provided me with valuable experiences where I have gained a diverse perspective for the unique benefits of working for different sized public accounting firms.

My first job out of college allowed me to work at one of the largest firms in the southeast that was located in Central Alabama. After working in Birmingham for six and a half years, I decided to move to Mobile, AL in early 2018 and began working at Crow Shields Bailey PC (CSB), a mid-size public accounting firm.

Experience level. One of the main differentiators of working in a large vs. small firm is the pace matched with the level of experience you gain. At the start of your career, joining a smaller firm always helps in rapidly gaining a larger breadth of experience. At a firm like CSB, you get to see jobs from start to finish and truly understand the scope of what you are working on in its entirety. In the larger firms, the work is distributed into smaller chunks between more employees, so the experience you gain is narrowed to one focused area or industry.

Big name clients. Working at the larger-sized accounting firm, I was able to partner with some of the largest private companies in the southeast. Partnering with large clients provided the opportunity to support complex financial statements and face issues that could take CPAs at smaller firms many years to obtain a similar level of experience.

Industry expertise. At larger firms, you tend to get concentrated experience in certain industries and work strictly in either audit or tax. This creates an avenue to become a proficient expert in the areas that you specialize in, but prevents you from being able to comprehensively consult with your clients on all accounting-related matters. At CSB and other similar sized firms, you have the opportunity to gain experience in all types of industries and every line of business. This allows you to be your client’s preferred advisor in tax, audit, financial consulting, forensic accounting, and many other matters.

Path to Partner. With the bifurcation of audit and taxes or industry specializations occurring so frequently in large firms, younger CPAs at major firms may find it more challenging to serve their client in every financial consulting facet as they move towards the path of partner. As younger CPAs at larger accounting firms trend towards industry specialization, they have to invest a significant amount of time to staying updated on industry and accounting literature for areas they lack experience in. CPAs in small firms naturally gain this experience and knowledge more quickly as they progress in their “multiple hat” career paths. Many Baby Boomers and Generation X CPAs that are currently serving in a partner-level position began their careers in an environment where they were involved with all levels of business and worked in several types of industries, similar to CSB.

Leadership opportunities. I have also found that as you progress throughout your career path, you have more opportunities in smaller firms to positively influence the firm’s culture and take on leadership roles, but one can still bring invaluable leadership impact to larger firms if you find the right mentors and support teams.

Regardless of the path of public accounting you choose, you can’t go wrong with a career in this industry. Working at both large and small accounting firms has its benefits and the key to choosing the right one is truly understanding the differences between the two and prioritizing what is important to you. If you have any questions or want any additional information about working at a large accounting firm versus a smaller accounting firm, please contact Kenny Crow, III at [email protected].


Why CSB?

December 5, 2018

Kenny Crow, CPA | Managing Shareholder | Published by Crow Shields Bailey

Why CSB?

At Crow Shields Bailey PC (CSB), the culture is focused on putting our team first. As a result of that, we experience tremendous success in recruiting the best and the brightest—professionals that bring fun and passion into our work environment every day.

We work hard for the opportunity to play hard. Our creativity is fostered through open dialogue and being receptive to new ideas and better ways to combine our diverse talents to achieve a desired result.

CSB takes great pride in our community involvement. Individually, we encourage our team to explore passions, utilize their talents, and openly give time and resources to worthy causes that positively impact our region. Each year, CSB selects an annual charity focus, and our team donates 20 or more hours a month to other philanthropic efforts.

When you join CSB, we invest in your future. We help you identify a meaningful career path and train you to optimize your potential. We discovered a long time ago that the success of our team members in climbing the ladder to the top only fuels our practice growth. Everyone wants to help each other expand their skill set, and work together to support our firm’s mission.

Our RSM alliance partnership provides consistent training and leadership development opportunities. So, if you were a bit shy about making presentations to professionals, speaking to a group of bankers, or having a high-level conversation with an important client or prospect, your confidence will soar after attending peer training programs across the country. CSB has evolved into a well-respected firm known for its consultative approach to helping clients achieve their financial goals.

So my question is, why not join a firm like CSB, where peers respect you, where you are challenged to become the best version of yourself, and where you have a high probability to succeed personally and professionally?