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From military to public accounting


Terrance Mingo

I am currently transitioning from the Marine Corps and have a desire to enter into the realm of public accounting. In preparation for the move into public accounting (hopefully into a Big 4), I was able to obtain a Master’s in Accounting as well as pass all four parts of the CPA exam while on active duty. I will need the experience in order to obtain certification. While studying for the exam, I started teaching accounting/finance classes at one of the universities on base in order to remain somewhat relevant in the field. I have heard that much of the recruitment for the Big 4s come from the college campus or through internships. With being an atypical applicant, what guidance or insight can you give pertaining to any possible gaps in my education, skill set, work experience that I will need to fill in order to be competitive for a Big 4 in the discipline of audit and assurance? I have so many questions and as the days draw closer to my retirement, the anxiety also grows. I am currently in Okinawa, Japan and that seems to add to that anxiety. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

19 January 2020 2 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

Hello Terrance.. Thanks for your service.. Passing the CPA exam and having a masters degree are huge pluses. Being in Japan can be a benefit. Most to the big firms have offices over seas in the major economic and financial countries. Try and contact the big U S Accounting firms in Japan. That will give you an indication of what is going on and maybe the next step. These international American firms are always looking for individuals who can travel domestically and internationally. Your military background, commitment and experience level will be a plus. You will need to learn the firms internal processes. That may be a challenge for you, since they want you to do things their way, consistently. If you want to work in NYC, or any large city, let them know. Your maturity will be a big advantage, but your light experience may mean some entry level assignments until you can prove your self. Have fun with this, and do not worry, you have valuable assets for these firms.


Scott Berry Carson City, NV

Hello Terrance, I recommend that you select the geographic areas that you want to live in and contact the offices of the big four firms in those areas directly. Having passed the CPA exam puts you at the top of a select group of candidates for the big four firms. Each office has a person that focuses on recruitment. Find out who that person is and contact them and tell them you're interested in potentially joining their firm. They will be impressed with your initiative and drive. You might also consider the larger regional CPA firms. They can also offer excellent career opportunities.
Good luck with this process Terrance and thank you for your service to our country.
Very best,
Scott Berry

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