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After you graduated college did you go into public or private accounting? How did you make that decision? What would you say to students graduating in accounting, what would recommend them to go into?

Ben Ellingson

Answered by:
Ben Ellingson, Partner

From the start, I had my mind made up that I wanted my career to be in the private side of accounting. During college, however, I started to see a little of both, and changed my mind to starting my first official job in public accounting. At the time, the decision was driven primarily by suggestions from my peers and mentors that public accounting was a great stepping stone to any number of career paths. After a few years, my interest to move into the private side had all but gone away. There is great variety in public accounting: variety in the clients you work with, the people you work with, your daily schedule, etc. I very much enjoyed the opportunities I had to build new relationships and have an ever-growing and changing career path.

Although I don’t have the benefit of having worked on the private side of this profession, I think that if you enjoy building and maintaining relationships with people and enjoy challenge and variety in your schedule, public accounting would be a great fit. That said, I also know a number of people that have their careers on the private side and find their positions equally as rewarding. I think that public accounting is a great place to start for anyone interested in the accounting profession, but that wherever you choose to land, you should find a company that shares a culture that would be enjoyable with a schedule that fits – after that, it’s hard to even call it “work”.

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