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Career Guidance (CFA Level III Passed + CPA - Big 4 experience)

Hello all,

I go through the posts in this forum and I find it very inspiring. It motivated me during my preparation period as well. I passed my CFA level III exam this year and I am very happy to know that all my hard work paid off. However, I always have this dilemma in my mind regarding my current work experience. I have been working in big 4 accounting firm as a tax accountant for past 4 years. There is good career growth in my industry but at the same I want to join finance world as well. Now I have completed my level 3, do you think it is worth looking for Finance jobs? Especially with accounting experience, I don’t think I will get other jobs than entry level.

There might be people like me who have passed their CFA exams but not working in Investment/Finance industry. I would love to hear your thoughts/experience. Thank you in advance!

also interested.

I see no downside to quietly applying to jobs (without alarming your employer) and seeing what pops up.  Maybe go to a few CFA society events and try to network a little.  Find people that interest you and try to setup meetings over coffee or a beer to talk about their industry and ask a lot of good questions.  If you’re networking its very important to approach it out of genuine curiosity and relationship building, not with the immediate goal of getting a job.  Ideally if you’re networking correctly its like planting seeds throughout the industry, often the way it works out is that six months or a year after you initially met someone, if you’re still in contact on good terms they’ll reach out about a position they are aware of and forward your name over.

What city are you in and what’s your age?

If you’re interested in actual analysis there are definitely some good opportunities in fields like transaction advisory and valuation advisory which are available within the Big 4 as well as smaller boutiques like Duff & Phelps.  Alternatively if you’re young enough and in a good market for it there could be opportunities in ER or IB at smaller boutique shops.  Another thing to consider is simply applying the CFA towards tax accounting either in more specialized investment tax advisory roles or through private wealth offices where the focus is as much on tax mitigation as investment performance.

One thing to be careful about since you’re still feeling things out is not to get caught up in it and make rushed or over eager decisions, it sounds like you enjoy your current role, so set a high bar before you consider leaving and make sure its the right move.  There are a ton of cool sounding but ultimately boring and dead end roles within finance that need to be avoided.

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