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Are Smaller Accounting Firms Better to Work for?

May 08, 2019

As college students with accounting degrees prepare to graduate and enter the industry, many are faced with deciding on which firm to go to. Accountants are in high-demand but before you decide to join one of the larger, national firms, consider this…

*Despite their modest size, local practices have many real advantages that give them a competitive edge in recruiting, retention, client service and other vital business areas. PCPS is undertaking many new efforts to support its small firm members, and is rededicating itself to initiatives and publications that highlight the small firm advantage.

That advantage stems from a smaller practice’s flexibility, collegial atmosphere, opportunities to be hands on and its grassroots ingenuity. Senior members who are genuinely friendly and let employees know that having good staff is a big part of what makes them successful offer tremendous encouragement to firm members in good times and bad.

Ambitious staff members get more opportunities in small practices. At the same time, staff members who don’t want to advance to management level still can find challenging work. Many employees choose small firms because they don’t want to spend a lot of time on the road, but the biggest advantage is the involvement of management in the work process. Typically clients work with decision makers in the firm.

Women find it easier to advance at small firms, which is encouraging since they continue to enter the profession in high numbers. But work/life balance continues to be a priority for talented professionals of both sexes and at all levels.

From a partner’s point of view, it’s easier to feel like an owner in a small firm. At a larger firm, even partners feel like employees.
Small firms don’t have to change what they’re doing or try to be more like large firms. They simply have to recognize all the good they have going for them and reinforce it, both inside and outside the practice.

*Referenced by the Journal of Accountancy: http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2006/Jul/TheSmallFirmAdvantage.htm#sthash.kX4CNS7D.dpuf.

Written by Kathryn Diedrichsen, COO, Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs