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Accountants - new, experienced, aspiring

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Student loans & jobs [Dec. 13th, 2009|01:32 pm]
Accountants - new, experienced, aspiring

cpamembers

[ohei]
Hi guys, I have a question about student loans and finding jobs after graduation...

I would like to start school, but at the same time I would like to avoid debt and am reluctant to take out student loans. For those of you who have taken out loans and are now working, how long did it take you to find a job? I hear 'everyone needs accountants', and there isn't a shortage of companies looking for them, but is this really the case? Also, have you been able to pay off your student loans without a problem, e.g. being late on payments? For those who have paid off their loans, how long did it take? Did you ever struggle with payments? Have you had to cut back on other expenses in order to pay off your loans?

It would also help if you could list information, such as amount of loans, years in school, what job you have, where you are located, etc.

x-posted to _accounting
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ravfladermus
2009-12-13 09:49 pm (UTC)
All of this depends on your area. For me the loans were worth it. I had about $7-8K though because I also worked to pay tuition. I have never had issues finding a good job but in my experience it helps if you are willing to be aggressive and work hard. Depending on your area it might be very difficult to find a job if you're not a CPA or CPA candidate. Some states require a masters degree or equivalent others you can sit for the exam with just a bachelors.

I would take everything the accounting department tells you with a grain of salt. Look in the newspaper and see how many job listings you can find with the salary amount compared to other jobs. Keep in mind that by the time you get out of school it might change. It wouldn't hurt to network with local CPAs to find out about the profession in your area, you might even get a job or internship that way. Find out if you really need to go to a certain school in your area or if any school will do. My state posts CPA exam pass rates of all of the colleges in the state so if your state does something similar that might help. Pick the cheapest school with decent pass rates if the accountants in your area aren't college name snobs. In fact if you can, go to community college for the first 2 years and save money. In my area no one cares where you go to school as long as you pass the exam.

If you take out loans you have a couple of risks: 1) that you will fail out of school and still have to repay the loan, 2) that you won't be able to find a job when you graduate. Something to think about.
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[User Picture]From: lolobird
2009-12-14 04:30 am (UTC)
I live/work in a city where we don't have any of the big 4 offices, but we have some decent size firms. I have a load of student loan debt, because I didn't pay cash for any of my education and we made too much money for me to get any grants. I was able to get a scholarship for one year, which I would highly recommend you look into if possible. I've had no slow-pays or missed any payments on my loans. I'm in no hurry to pay them off, so I'm just following the normal schedule, but I could be paying extra if I wanted.

But, back to your original question, I had no trouble finding a job at all, but that was 2+ years ago. Having an internship really helps in finding a job. It's a lot easier if you're willing to move for your career, but I would do what the previous poster said and look at your local job listings to see how many accounting jobs are open.
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[User Picture]From: exhibitv
2009-12-16 04:40 am (UTC)
First, I think that a college degree is very important, and I would go into debt to do so. I would try and find a decent state school where you can get in-state tuition and where recruiters go. If you want to pursue public accounting, all the large firms have a fairly strict recruiting methodology that they follow and they only visit certain schools in an area. It is very important to be at least CPA eligible in your state in order to be considered for hire at any large firm.

As far as the saying that "everyone needs accountants".. in public accounting there is ALWAYS a need to hire the lowest level, as each year the associates move up and the firms need to hire again to have staff at the lowest level. With the economy, the competition has gotten more difficult because firms need less people in this position as most firms have lost clients who have gone out of business or no longer require big firm accountants. The industry is not as stable as it once appeared a few years ago, but it still has a security for jobs that other industries probably lack.
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[User Picture]From: jones4carrie
2009-12-22 01:14 am (UTC)
It's not crazy easy as a person who just graduated with a degree in accounting. I havent been hard core job hunting since Im in grad school, but Ive been looking and applying and haven't gotten anywhere. My GPA was a 3.0 so not too good, but still it's hard. This is in New Jersey
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