Accounting background with CFA charter

Hey Guys- I have a question for you all. So I have an accounting background ( Accounting undergrad, Fund accountant at a hedge fund and almost done with the CPA) and I am a L3 candidate. The more I speak to recruiters though, the more they discourage me about the possibilities of me landing a front office position ( ER, PM etc). I was hoping that the combination of the CFA/CPA would put me in a decent position to land an entry level job but i am starting to think that I may have wasted my time pursuing the CFA with my background. Do any of you know anyone who has an accounting background and has broken into Finance? If so has the CFA helped them in any way? I would also appreciate any advice on how I could put myself in a better position to get out of this dreadful field. Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give.

your life as you know it now is what it will always be, forever and ever.

Well, the bad news is that accountants tend to be “branded” as such in the eyes of finance front office people. This will make it harder for you to land certain kinds of jobs. The good news is that there are jobs for which companies like to hire people with accounting backgrounds. Many of these have to do with fundamental analysis - analyzing companies based on financial statements and reports, etc. In any case, expect to be stereotyped into the category of people that specialize in analyzing accounting data for various purposes. Unless you are somehow adverse to this, I recommend that you sell yourself this way. Good luck, in any case.

An analyst in my shop has a CFA & CPA & went from E&Y audit > portfolio accounting > buyside analyst. We are a fundamental shop and value his skills. I know an ER guy with CFA/CPA who started off in accounting.

cool thanks guys. It def gives me some hope. I am going to just stick it out, and make sure I pass L3 in June. Then hopefully some opportunities will open up.

I wouldn’t worry about it…having the CFA/CPA is only a positive. As long as you have a personality, the front office is always a possibility. I don’t know you so I can’t comment on that aspect, but it’s silly to think the CFA or CPA would ever hurt you in landing a front office job. At my bank, of my three immediate directors in origination (i.e. front office), all three have the MBA, two have CFA, and one has CPA.

You really think those recruiters give a damn about your future? No, they care about placing candidates on open positions so they can get the commissions. Of course they are going to discourage you from going to FO because they have BO roles that 1. They have to fill and 2. You fit the profile of an ideal candidate.

Yeah, if they can place you in that BO position you are really a PRIME candidate…so why would they want to push you for something that you arent a perfect fit???

I’d say it’s very difficult to go from any accounting job to front office, and honestly fund accounting is not the best accounting experience. I work at big 4 and people would got from audit to transaction advisory and then to PE or boutique I-banks (not audit to front office job), but even that route is done now. My recruiter said the same thing, in this economy there tons of much more qualified candidates than you for each position. Top MBA would be your way in not CPA/CFA.

egomez83 or CFA=NOLIFE, did you guys apply for membership yet? Did CFA approve?

I did apply and I was approved. I listed every aspect of my job that aided/informed the investment decision making process in any way and luckily it was enough. IUnfortunately, I hear they are getting stricter these days with the requirements. I applied for an affiliate membership as soon as I passed L1 to make sure I had enough time in case I was rejected and had to reapply multiple times. I suggest all other people that are unsure of their experience do the same.

Good news for you - one of our senior equity analysts has CFA/CPA combo. Bad news for you - she also has a Harvard MBA

Thx for the response egomez83. Do you think you can give me a few pointers offline via I can send you what I want to send in this time and maybe you can help in the right direction since it sounds like have similiar backgrounds. I have applied once and got rejected and really need this experience to count towards the CFA. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. Thx

CPA/CFA…what a brutal combination dude that basically all the credentials you’ll ever need IMO to go FAR in finance/accouting.