By Keiter CPAs
The benefits of a medium-sized accounting firm vs. a Big 4 firm
Working at a Big 4 firm is the goal of many college accounting majors. If you are considering going Big 4, you may be wondering; what is it really like? One of Keiter’s newest partners Ryan Beethoven-Wilson reflects on his experience at a Big 4 firm and why he transitioned to Keiter, a medium-sized firm.
Leaving Northern Virginia to return to Richmond
Ryan started his career at a Big 4 firm in Northern Virginia. Working at a large firm, he felt that while he was surrounded by colleagues who possessed excellent technical abilities, there was not much room for him to really contribute because he was one of several thousands of people. “I didn’t feel like it was a place where new ideas were being heard and I really wanted a change,” Ryan states. Ryan was also tired of the bureaucracy that existed at large firms and wanted more opportunities to make a meaningful impact directly with client relationships. During this time, Ryan contemplated leaving public accounting altogether. Ryan and his wife, Meredith, who is also a CPA, decided it was time for a career and location change.
Ryan and Meredith came back to their hometown of Richmond, where they both joined the Keiter team. Ryan was drawn to the Firm’s resolve to stay independent, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of its team members. He was impressed by how Keiter not only talked about delivering exceptional client service, but also lived up to it in its values and actions.
From senior associate to partner
Ryan’s career at Keiter progressed rapidly. He started as a senior associate and soon became a supervisor. Within a year, he was promoted to manager. When he became manager, Ryan received so much support from the leadership team that he was able to clearly see a path to partner. “I really felt like I was rewarded and appreciated for my hard work,” Ryan stated. He felt like he was able to make his career what he wanted it to be based on his own personal strengths. Over his 11-year tenure at Keiter, he has had the opportunity to directly contribute to the firm’s business and growth goals. Ryan serves as a leader in the Firm’s industry niche teams for Professional Services, Technology, and Manufacturing, Distribution and Retail. His tax service specializations include Emerging and Growth businesses as well as Qualified Opportunity Zone investments.
In addition to client-focused work, Ryan has had the opportunity to take active roles in various internal initiatives. He contributes his ideas and insights to the Recruiting and Workflow Committees, where he is a valued member. He also participated in Keiter’s Values Based Leadership team which reaffirmed the firm’s core values, an area that he is passionate about.
Ryan’s dedication to community service aligns with the Firm’s mission, and he has received full support from Keiter to devote his time and talent to various local causes. He has been able to develop his community leadership skills during his time at the Firm and currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for the Chesterfield Education Foundation and on the Tax Advisory Committee of the Virginia Society of CPAs.
Relationships that fostered career growth and development
Throughout his career progression, Ryan benefitted from mentors and coaches that supported his career and personal goals. Ryan reflects on all the people at Keiter that have been influential in his growth and development stating, “I have the privilege of working with and learning from many talented professionals who inspire me every day and I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such amazing people. It’s difficult to single out folks individually, but several coaches and mentors have been instrumental in my career success, notably Vince Nadder, partner, Paul Heckman, partner, John Murray, partner, Gary Wallace, managing partner, and Mike Gracik, director. They may have started as official coaches and/or mentors, but I now consider them personal friends.” Working at a medium-sized firm like Keiter gives you the opportunity to build close relationships with partners, which is another advantage over larger firms.
Are you considering a public accounting career or firm transition? Keiter is your firm for career development opportunities and relationship building. View our entry-level and experienced positions.
About the Author
The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.