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Changing career in mid 30s


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I fell into an accountancy career in my mid 20s. The money is good but I feel like I have hit a bit of a dead end. I always saw it as a means to an end believing that there would be good exit opportunities into more interesting fields such as equity research, consulting, investor relations, financial journalism etc. 

Turns out these exit opportunities aren't quite as easy to get into as I thought. Although the pandemic hasn't helped as that made firms a lot more cautious about hiring generally. And all of these things are easier when you are younger. And I have discovered that entry level roles are quite limited and generally express a preference for recent graduates. There was one opportunity for a junior role they were open to considering my profile but they felt that I was overqualified and the pay would be too low for me and the progression wouldn't be fast enough and I'd get bored and I couldn't change their mind on that front. While other roles all require previous experience. 

I've done quite a bit of networking but while some of my contacts like me they say that hiring is dictated by HR so even if they'd like me in their team there is not much they can really do until new openings come up and nothing has materialized on that front. 

Further education may help. But I already have great qualifications and lack of relevant experience is the real issue. And I do not want to make a huge financial commitment to a MBA/Masters if there is no job at the end of it.

But at the same time I do not see myself being an accountant for another 1,5,10,20,30 years and I feel like I am going through the motions at work because it really does not interest me and I have lost a bit of hope that a successful career change is viable. So I am getting quite frustrated and depressed. 

And because I always had the career change in mind I have taken the path of least resistance when it comes to accountancy jobs doing easy jobs that haven't really enhanced my skillset or challenged me while still looking impressive on paper and have really been going sideways since the pandemic. 

So not really sure what to do now. 

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45 minutes ago, jazz_lover said:

equity research, consulting, investor relations, financial journalism etc

Have you considered bring a CFO for a financial/investment startup? And then learn more about the field there? Or How about being an accounting consultant at a financial consulting agency?

You definitely could use training/education or a contract role to get your foot in the door otherwise.

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How about law school or a combined JD/MBA?  My husband changed his career in his 30s, and I know many people who have.  Often yes it requires more schooling and I know that can be a real burden!  Good luck!

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I'm changing careers in my 30s.  

I know this might be out there but have you considered starting a YouTube channel doing financial reporting?  You would gain the experience and could gain a following.  You could be financed through Patreon if you have enough subscribers that like your content.  Just a thought.

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3 hours ago, RelaxByWater84 said:

I'm changing careers in my 30s.  

I know this might be out there but have you considered starting a YouTube channel doing financial reporting?  You would gain the experience and could gain a following.  You could be financed through Patreon if you have enough subscribers that like your content.  Just a thought.

If so I'd check if you need any licenses/certifications to do so -or insurance despite all the typical disclaimers.  

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Are you looking to go into a related field? If so, the transition will be easier than making a complete overhaul. I completely changed my career in my 30s. Quit my job when I was 30, went to graduate school full time for 3.5 years, and then started working again when I was about 34. I had to manage an entry level salary, but I was prepared because I planned for it. 

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Related field but of course being finance everything is very competitive and I'm up against people who are younger and have more directly relevant experience and entry level roles firms tend to prefer graduates. MBA/Masters might provide some kind of career reset but very expensive! 

My background is audit/group reporting so little experience with small business accounts/taxation so the starting my own business route isn't viable. 

I'm single and have no kids and no mortgage so could take a pay cut if necessary. 

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Just now, jazz_lover said:

Related field but of course being finance everything is very competitive and I'm up against people who are younger and have more directly relevant experience and entry level roles firms tend to prefer graduates. MBA/Masters might provide some kind of career reset but very expensive! 

My background is audit/group reporting so little experience with small business accounts/taxation so the starting my own business route isn't viable. 

I'm single and have no kids and no mortgage so could take a pay cut if necessary. 

I'd suggested law school.  I know of someone very smart who was in finance for years and went to law school in his 40s and did very well for himself.  He already had an MBA and was an investment banker.  I do not suggest your own business unless you have a lot of savings and can afford not to make $ for a couple of years.  Or have you considered teaching at the high school or college level in the financial/accounting arena?

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1 hour ago, jazz_lover said:

My background is audit/group reporting

Then you can work for an audit firm as a consultant. That's a very respected and high paying job that requires the experience you have. They'd take you in a heartbeat.

1 hour ago, jazz_lover said:

Related field but of course being finance everything is very competitive and I'm up against people who are younger and have more directly relevant experience and entry level roles firms tend to prefer graduates

Don't set yourself to give up like that. Apply for jobs and see how it goes. You never know where you'd be a great match!

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I'm not familiar with the consultant role at an audit firm. Is that like management or business consultancy? I trained with one of the smaller audit firms not Big 4 and I understand for the "sexier" roles at big 4 they like you to have worked a bit in audit for them first. 

Law school is a bit different in the UK. So don't think it is an option. I did think about a MBA/Masters in Finance or something but the cost would be like $100K.

I thought about one day teaching at college level as I also have a masters in economics so could maybe teach economics and accountancy/finance. But without a PhD I could probably only do it at some of the smaller business schools and there aren't many openings. But as a long term plan that might work. 

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1 hour ago, jazz_lover said:

I'm not familiar with the consultant role at an audit firm. Is that like management or business consultancy?

So small companies outsource their auditing and finance, and you would be their poc for questions, advice, ect. It can go in many ways depending how the consultancy model is built. In one model, you're like an account executive, work with several clients (perhaps while managing your team), and they rely on you on advice/consultancy to make sound accounting decisions. My audit and finance consultants saved my HR/ Office manager a$$ more times than I can count! And I always remember the accounting consultants I've worked with for some reasons. I even knew one who got tired of working at a big company, and decided to have his own consulting business. He's never bored, gets to know people, manages his own team at his own time, and people rely on him. Plus, he makes more bucks!

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