Private equity firms are headquartered throughout the United States, but many are found in large cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. Accountants and auditors also are employed by portfolio companies of private equity firms and public accounting firms that provide contracted services to PE firms. The four largest public accounting firms are Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Staffing levels vary greatly based on the amount of assets under management by the private equity firm.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Web site (https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/segmented-landing/career-options) is a good starting point for aspiring accountants and auditors. It offers information on career paths, job-search strategies, writing effective resumes and cover letters, and acing job interviews.
The private equity industry is relatively small, and it can be difficult for a new accounting graduate to land a job. An alternative approach is to seek out employment at a public accounting firm (such as EY, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers) that provides services to private equity firms. Check out the Web sites of these firms to learn more about job opportunities. Many public accounting firms also interview college seniors on campus about potential job openings. Your college’s career services counselors can provide you with more information on corporate recruiting schedules, as well as help you hone your resume and interviewing skills.
Advancement opportunities are best at large private equity firms and large public accounting firms, which employ a significant number of finance and accounting professionals. With experience, a skilled accountant at such a firm can advance to the position of chief accountant, and then to funds administrator, controller, and chief financial officer. Finance professionals also advance by receiving pay raises and bonuses.
Participate in accounting internships or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office. The AICPA provides information about landing an internship on its Web site at https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/work-experience/articles/skill-development/peon-no-more/.
Read publications such as Accounting Today (https://www.accountingtoday.com) and Internal Auditor (https://na.theiia.org/periodicals/Pages/Internal-Auditor-Magazine.aspx) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings and career advice: