People have misconceptions that only developers and engineers work at tech companies. My experience has been different; I have done accounting jobs for companies such as Netflix and small startups that went public after I left.
Although I may seem unique with my skillset, I hope this helps all of my friends who have asked me how to get the job and what their options are.
Can Accountants work in Tech Industry, Startups, or Companies?
Yes! an accountant can work in the tech industry as one of the following:
- General Ledger (GL) / Corporate Accounting Team
- SEC / Technical Accounting
- Internal Audit
- Accounts Payable / Accounts Receivable
- Corporate Tax
Different Types of Accounting Jobs at Tech Companies & Startups
General Ledger (GL) / Corporate Accounting Team
The team ensures that the financial and operational activities of the company are accurate, now and in the future.
They keep accurate financials by making journal entries and by accounting for their balance sheet accounts. They also explain fluxes.
Most GL teams are broken up by Staff Accountant < Senior < Manager < Director/snr manager < Controller.
Generally, a GL accountant is responsible for one area of the business. For example, a senior accountant may be responsible for legal costs and fixed assets.
They make sure that invoices are correctly accounted for, whether fixed assets are capitalized properly and within the company threshold, post depreciation and reconcile ‘accrued legal’ and all related fixed asset BS accounts (assets, accumulation depreciation).
There are various requirements for joining these roles, but typically the bigger companies, like Google, require you to have previous experience at a Big 4 accounting firm or decades of experience. Smaller companies may be more willing to employ candidates with no accounting experience.
There is a lot of fine detail involved in the roles, so I will make a more detailed post later.
Technical Accounting from the SEC
This team ensures external financial reporting for the company. This includes SEC reporting (Form 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K, etc.), quarterly and annual census reports, and other financial and governmental statutory reporting. They also make sure new accounting pronouncements are implemented into financial statements and are compliant with laws.
It’s likely that if the company is publicly listed or pre-IPO there will be a chief marketing officer in charge of these departments. The reason for this is that larger companies usually have more financial assets to rely on to make their large promises come to life.
Big 4 Experience is typically Required or Preferred!
IA is a program that analyzes an organization’s risk, control environment, and operational effectiveness factors for accounting and compliance.
GRC professionals oversee the accounting process and analyze the operating activity of organizations in order to identify any dealings that may be fraudulent or illegal. Often, they work with external auditors to conduct further tests and evaluations.
The majority of large public companies have a small team to manage their IA. They usually hire outside consultants to work with that team.
Mentioning experience in a public accounting firm is usually required and most tech companies prefer the “Big 4”
Accounts Payable / Accounts Receivable
Your AP will handle supplier invoices, making sure they are timely and accurate
AR is in charge of transactions i.e collection of payments for the company’s services and goods.
This is an excellent choice for those who wanted to enter the accounting field but had no experience with public accounting and want a good entry-level job.
Get years of experience and avoid showing your certifications since these roles typically value years of experience compared to any certifications (CPA, CA, etc).
A Corporate Tax team is usually responsible for filing and maintaining paperwork from local, state, and federal taxes. Corporate Tax teams assist with tax returns, internal audit processes, and developments.
Corporate tax accountants review financial statuses to see if they abide by corporate procedures, and check what is the structure of the company. They help determine a budget and look at how it is structured.
When a company acquires another business, acquiring the employees, equipment, and associated liabilities is sometimes not enough. Businesses must also contend with convoluted and complex tax laws that require expert help.
Experience working in a tax setting is usually required. You may be able to skip this by working in a corporate tax setting.
Payroll teams file and track employee compensation data, including money withheld from wages and taxes and benefits the employee receives.
Public accounting experience is not required to become a payroll accountant. However, there is some payroll-related certifications that will help with getting to a big tech company.
Work-life Balance (from what I’ve Personally Seen):
The best roles in accounting – like those related to auditing – usually pay well at any company.
I think at a publicly-traded tech company – the roles that usually prefer CPA/Big 4 (Gl, IA, SEC) all pay well no matter what accounting department you are at.
However, the types of companies you work for determine how much you’ll earn. The more funded your company is, the better its salary.
Internal Audit is the time-consuming and not very interesting side of accounting. Companies generally hire a 3rd party to do the work for them, with tasks often dull and monotonous.
Internal auditors are in such high demand that they’re really difficult to find. From what I’ve heard but they truly work like 35 hours with a few busy times per year.
Technical roles at SEC/Reporting go through a lot of busy periods during quarter ends and often work late until they file the 10K/Q. However, during the mid-months, they are often in maintenance mode and prepping for quarter-end. There are limited positions, such as IA.
GL / Corporate: 75% of the accounting jobs you see for tech companies deal with closing the books as a GL/Corp accountant.
Work/Life balance is honestly dependent on the company you’re working with. I would say depending on how thin your team is – it could be pretty brutal (esp quarter ends).
I’m talking about long hours of unending work and deadlines.
However, most big tech companies already have processes in place and they can afford to hire extra heads.
Quarter ends, especially, can get really really tough. However, non-qtr close & mid-month weeks are generally pretty light (30-40 hours).
At startups, you will prob be wearing tons of hats (Ap/Ar/payroll, etc..) and doing work with no prior documentation – but you’ll definitely learn the most.
If you are coming from a B4/ public accounting company I would NOT recommend doing AP/AR/Payroll unless you enjoy those tasks or if you’re having a lot of difficulties getting into other roles such as GL/IA/SEC. AP/AR/Payroll is critical for companies but usually, these jobs are reserved for accountants with less technical skills and lower pay.
I would say (I’m biased here) that my favorite role at a tech company is closing the books, which most people find categorized as “Accounting.” The work is exciting and you will have to automate projects when they come up. You will interact with many departments and see the financials behind some of the best companies. Some find that this is more technical than operational accounting, but either job can be enjoyable because GL hours are typically shorter and either IA or SEC teams don’t usually complain about work until quarter-end approaches.
I might have overloaded you with too much information. My DMs are open and I’ll try to send back a more detailed post.
ALSO SEE: Can Accountants Work Anywhere In The World?
The 9 Places To Find Accounting Jobs At Tech Companies
If you’re looking for a career in tech, you might be wondering where to find jobs. Fortunately, there are a lot of options available, and accountants can make great additions to the tech workforce.
Here are some places to look for tech jobs:
It offers reviews on many companies, and they’re very helpful in deciding what company to work for. Reviews are mandatory reading when considering joining any company.
This was created as a social networking site. This is where you will want to show your work experience. Recruiters from tech teams are often looking for connections on Linkedin.
This website is created that provides information on available jobs and various filters. You can search for accounting jobs at tech companies with filters built specifically for accountants (CPA requirements, Big 4 preference, etc.
Check out BuiltIn to explore tech companies and read about their benefits, perks, and culture!
is a platform for remote jobs in the technology sector. However, stay around and you could find some gems.
Feel free to ask a follow-up question of clarification, and I will continue providing an overview of the content.
Start by looking through the job listings on Google. This is one of the most popular platforms for finding jobs, and it has a wide variety of positions available.
Another great place to search for jobs is Indeed. This website has a comprehensive list of job openings across all industries, and it includes information about salary ranges and qualifications required for each position.
UpWork is another great resource for finding tech jobs. This website lets people post freelance projects and hire workers to complete them. This can be a great way to get started in the tech industry if you don’t have any experience working with computers or software programs.
Is Tech a Good Place for Someone who has no Prior Professional Experience in Accounting?
Hi, I think it’s a good place to start because people who work in tech know that it’s more interesting and they’ll want to join your other projects.
If you have no professional accounting experience, you are most likely looking for a staff accountant position at a startup or small company.
From there, try and get promoted to senior so that you will have more opportunities for promotion. If it is difficult to find a staff position, then work for the accounting department of a non-tech company and apply when you have more experience.
Or better still, join a lesser role (AP/AR) and try to promote your way in. I would advise against the latter because it does take a good manager to recognize your skills but it’s been done before (I’ve done it haha).
Skills and Programs to be Proficient at to Get a Good Tech-Accounting Job
- CPA (obviously)
- Excellent communication skills. Consider joining a Toastmasters meeting, where you will find supportive crowds and engaging speakers. Having a strong command of verbal speech is much underrated.
- Microsoft Excel! Trust me – your manager who takes 10 mins to run a pivot table will call you a genius.
- Learning visualization skills such as Tableau or Google Data Studio can help speed up your promotion. These skills are often used to create data visualizations that reveal important information and make data easier to understand..
Salary Expectations and Risk
Accountants who want to work in technology face a number of challenges, including a lower salary than their counterparts in other industries. However, the rewards can be high if you are able to find the right position.
Below are three key points to keep in mind when looking at a salary for an accountant working in tech:
1. The pay may be lower than in other industries, but the risk and complexity of the projects are typically higher.
2. Accounting and finance skills are advantageous, but not essential, for many tech positions.
3. Be prepared to put in long hours and learn new skills fast.
How to Choose the Right Tech Company
Looking for a tech company to work for? There are a few things you should consider before making a decision. Here are four tips to help guide your search:
1. Consider the company culture. Do you want to work for a company that is laid-back and relaxed or one that is more competitive and demanding? It’s important to find a company where you feel comfortable with the atmosphere.
2. Think about the hours you are available to work. Are you available to work long hours every day, or do you need some flexibility in your schedule? Many tech companies require employees to be available around the clock, so it’s important to research this information before applying.
3. Research the salaries of the companies you are considering. Make sure you understand what the average salary at each company is so you can accurately compare them. Also, be sure to factor in benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans into your calculations.
4. Ask around. Talk to family and friends who may know someone who works at a tech company that might be a good fit for you. You never know – they may have some great advice that can help make your decision easier!
When to Start A Consulting Business
There is no one answer to this question as it depends on your background and what you are interested in doing.
However, most people suggest that you should start a consulting business if you have experience in accounting, business administration, or finance.
There are a few other things you will need before starting your own consulting business, such as a good network of contacts and the determination to succeed.
Motivation and Compensation
Accountants in the tech industry are in high demand due to the growing demand for technology expertise.
There are many ways to become an accountant in tech, but the most common route is to earn a degree in accounting and then pursue a career in accounting or auditing. Accountants working in tech typically earn between $60,000 and $110,000 per year.
The biggest advantage accountants have working in tech is that the companies they work for tend to be very understanding of the complexities of tax law and financial reporting.
This means that accountants working in tech can often play a significant role in ensuring compliance with company policies and regulations.
Another big advantage accountants have working in tech is that the pay is usually very good. Many companies offering accounting positions also offer excellent benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans.
If you are a CA, then your skills can be used for a company’s tech department. For example, SAP’s finance module can be created with the help of computer-aided analysis and design degree holders such as CAs. It is best if you have a higher degree like CISA or DISA.
There are jobs that don’t require technical knowledge and even those people can work at a tech company.
Technical expertise will be an advantage in a tech job, so you should get background knowledge if you want to come into the world of tech. You can take multiple courses from websites with certification, like Udemy and Coursera, and showcase what you have learned with one or two personal projects.
There are a few things that accountants need to keep in mind when working in tech:
1. Accountants need to be comfortable with numbers and be able to understand complex financial reports.
2. They need to be able to communicate effectively with others in a technical setting, whether that’s through email or face-to-face meetings.
3. They should have experience working with software applications such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
4. Finally, they should have experience working with digital files, such as PDFs or images.
Hope this helps!