Best Career Path

First time poster here, I was just hoping to gain some insights from those who have had or witnessed similar experiences. I normally search the internet for answers to my questions, but this one proved to be a bit too personal and specific! Here is the situation:

I recently completed university with a BBA in Accounting from a non-target. I wrote and passed Level I this past December. Ultimately, my goal is to break into finance, preferably somewhere in equity research, but at this point I am not setting my sights on an exact role. I am aware of my position relative to others and I know it will take some work to break into the industry.

My dilemma is that I currently have two job offers pending. One is as an entry level financial advisor with a big six bank here in Canada. The other is with an accounting firm that would allow me to work towards my CPA. I am just wondering what the best career path may be for me? Should I continue writing and hopefully passing the CFA exams and hope to move up to an analyst role with the bank or should I stick with accounting while writing my CFA exams and once I have my CPA start applying for analyst positions? I am aware that both of these choices can lead to an analyst role, I am just wondering which will give me the best odds and most options?


Which one pays more?

If you can sell, you’ll enjoy FA role at a bank a lot more and probably will make more money (if you are good), and might even end up sticking to it (with a juicy portfolio its the easiest way to make 200k+). If you are serious about breaking into “finance”, FA role won’t help you much because its 95% sales and everyone knows it. To be fair, vast majority of FA won’t build up their books to that juicy point and burn out before (plus im hearing some of the big 6 are changing comp structure to keep you selling adn selling, not just living off a nice portfolio like in the past).

Audit firm (assuming your offer is in audit) - much more straight forward. Better exit ops once you get designated, possible chance to move within the firm to corp finance and transactions, but you’ll hate your life, probably a lot, especially during crunch time.

If the workload in audit is something that scares you, you shouldn’t even consider Transactions.

I agree with that!. Currently working in Transaction department as an intern and I work more than full time employees working in audit!

Since you studied Accounting in undergrad I would lean toward the Accounting role and obtain the CPA designation first. This will likely open up more doors for you in the future and better pay opportunites than the CFA; which you can continue to pursue in the future if you find a role that you like and the CFA is relevant. You dpn’t have to do Accounting for the rest of your life but the CPA will help you get your foot in the door.

Clearly Greenman needs to give you his 2 cents here.

If you like working with people and enjoy selling the FA role would be fine. I would get some experience and if you like it then look for a job as an Associate with a baller senior advisor in the bank (i.e. if your at RBC then RBC Dominion Securities or a PHN Advisor). Typically the local bank branch doesn’t provide the best training experience for new advisors.

And yes the bank grid payout is quite low versus independants… you also get referrals from the local bank branch and they also pay for a lot of other expenses an independant advisor has to cover on their own.

From what I’ve seen at the big 5 banks, more people make the jump into ER out of an accounting firm after obtaining their CPA than they do from an FA role (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it happen here, tbqh). CPA’s are always desired by the banks and other FI’s, and you won’t get that by working as an FA.