Looking for work at an accounting firm?

Before you start applying, you should give some consideration to what kind of firm will be the best fit for you. When looking for accounting jobs—especially if you’re starting out your career—it may seem like you should throw your hat in everywhere, but it’s important to remember that finding a firm that suits your needs and interests will result in a better experience for you and your future employer!

There is no wrong answer, but there are a few things to consider when deciding which firm is best for you.

1. Size of the firm

The size of a firm  can usually give you an indication of how much work they actually do, and in turn how much experience they’ll be able to offer you. Peruse through the website before going straight to the careers page to take note of a few things. How many partners, directors or teams are there?

  • Small-sized accounting firms are a great opportunity if you’re looking for one-on-one time with your mentors and the benefits of a smaller, “work family” culture.
  • Mid-sized accounting firms are good for getting a wide range of experience while still benefiting from the tight knit culture and support of a smaller team.
  • Large accounting firms are the place to be if you are looking to become highly specialized in a particular area of the accounting profession.

Our advice? Channel your inner Goldilocks, spend a few minutes poking around online and find the firm that is just right. 

2. The types of work the firm specializes in

Whether you’re passionate about personal tax or are only interested in working with businesses; love non-profit work or can’t get enough of working with stratas; it’s important to review the types of services a firm offers before you apply. If they don’t do any work in your area of interest, it’s probably not worth your time applying. If they do lots of work that interests you, you can tie that into your application to put yourself ahead of other candidates!

3. The location and social culture of the firm

This one is about all those little things that could make or break your experience at a firm. Will the commute be unbearable? What about the location? Do you want to work downtown or do you hate the idea of the traffic and parking situation? 

Are you new to town? Maybe working alongside teammates your age would be a good fit for you. How about after-hours team building? Are you hoping to turn off the monitor and run out the door at 5pm sharp to pick up the kids? Or are social events and frequent fun gatherings important to you?

Don’t wait until you’ve already started at a firm to learn about the culture—do some  investigating when you’re applying and don’t be afraid to ask questions during your interview.

4. Benefits and overtime 

This one is huge when it comes to your career as an accountant. Benefits such as health and dental insurance, vacation time and sick days are generally pretty standard but overtime can be  treated quite differently from firm to firm. It’s not an industry standard to offer paid overtime or banked time—some of the largest and most prestigious CPA firms don’t have a policy in place to address overtime hours.

Mid-sized firms like RHN are more likely to offer banked time off to their team members in addition to paying out your overtime. This means that you can get paid out for overtime on your paycheque and/or you can take some of those hours in vacation time at a later date. Some of that time might even be logged at time and a half (so you get an hour and a half in banked time for every hour you work). That means when you inevitably need to work long hours during tax time (for example), you’ll get to enjoy some extra time off when things slow down!

5. Remote work capabilities and policies 

If being able to work remotely is important to you,  you should ask about it at the start. Some companies prefer to provide this option and for some it’s a hard no. If the position isn’t clearly labeled on the job posting as remote, on-location or hybrid, it might be worth reaching out to their hiring manager to ask. 

If nothing else, be sure you have the conversation during your interview—but be open to flexible arrangements if you can! Some firms may prefer to have you start out in the office, with the option of working remotely once you’re onboarded and settled in your position.

Job searching for accounting positions?

RHN is a mid-sized firm with offices in Vancouver, Richmond, Kelowna and Osoyoos. We pride ourselves on offering our team members both the breadth of experience that comes from a bigger firm and the community feeling of a smaller firm.

If we sound like a good fit for you, we’d love to hear from you!

Visit our careers page for info on our current openings. 


This post has been prepared for general information purposes. It is not advice. The information presented may not fit your unique situation, please consult one of our trusted business advisors at RHN CPA for further clarification and interpretation of your circumstances.