For a few years during college, while I was home during summer and winter breaks, I worked for a company whose CFO and Controller had previously worked at a Big 4 firm together. Sometimes they talked about their former jobs at the Big 4 firm and it left me with an impression. They would talk about the high stress and high pressure environment, as well as the extremely long work hours throughout the year. Given everything they said, I felt like a career in industry was the way to go for me.
My Dad was an accountant and when I told him that I didn’t want to go into public accounting, he urged me to re-consider. He said it is a lot easier to go from public accounting to private accounting than the other way around. And he said having public accounting experience on my resume would be very beneficial for my career. “Try it for a couple of years and if you don’t like it, make the switch,” he told me. While I didn’t always like his advice, especially when it differed from what I wanted to do, I knew that he had always steered me in the right direction. And what he was saying made sense. So I decided to do as he suggested; I accepted an offer from Kreischer Miller.
Now I sit here, having just celebrated my 11-year anniversary with the firm. Why have I stayed for this many years? Because Kreischer Miller is so different from the stories I had heard about public accounting. While I didn’t want the hours and stress that I had heard about Big 4, I do enjoy a challenge. At Kreischer Miller, I’m challenged but not overwhelmed. I genuinely enjoy working with my co-workers and, in times when deadlines loom and the pressure is on, I think that is crucial. Working in audit, I liked going out to clients and learning about different industries and how each client operated. Also, flexibility is encouraged here. If there is a reason I have to come in late or leave early, I can work any other time during the week to make up for it.
Two years ago, Kreischer Miller approached me about taking a new position within the firm – leading a support group for the Audit & Accounting practice. I had a one-year-old son at the time and while I enjoyed my job, the idea of coming into our office every day as opposed to travelling to different clients was suddenly more appealing. I gladly accepted the position. I thrive on taking a teamwork approach and I love to teach. This position involves a lot of time teaching new hires and interns. I was given the opportunity to create and grow this process myself, while always knowing that help and guidance were available whenever I needed them.
Working here has allowed me to continually learn. Each day brings something new. Had I worked for another accounting firm, it’s hard to say whether I would have stayed in public accounting. The environment at Kreischer Miller, coupled with the interesting work, are why I’ve made a career in public accounting.
Debbie Smith is a senior accountant in Kreischer Miller’s Audit & Accounting group. She joined Kreischer Miller in 2007 upon graduation from West Chester University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her husband and two sons. Contact Debbie at Email.
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