Millennials have a serious case of wanderlust. The majority of the young adults this group desire to see the world and take advantage of cheap travel opportunities; and, they plan to do it while they're still young. The result is a significant part of the workforce who collectively want to experience the world like no other generation has in the past. Luckily, the digital workplace is often allowing them to do it.
We've got encouraging news for those of you who want to travel the world but also want to start a career as an accountant. You don't have to choose between the two! The career options available to CPAs who wish to travel are becoming more abundant as the global and digital markets grow. According to information shared by the AICPA, almost 40 percent of companies continue to send more employees overseas. Experts say that the amount of US companies operating abroad brings ample opportunities for those who have considered the expat life and are ready to take the plunge.
Who's Going to Send You?
If working abroad is a real goal in your life, it's best to begin researching firms and companies who have a significant presence in overseas operations. (Hint: Many Big 4 firms offer international rotations.) When finding an employer, you want look for a company with an HR department that knows how to provide the support one needs when living and working as an expat, including knowledge on immigration policies and foreign housing. Another aspect to consider is at what point in your career you wish to be traveling. Some companies prefer their employees to have a bit of experience under their belt before sending them abroad, while others hire entry level associates and send them abroad right away.
If long-term traveling doesn't appeal to you, many companies have short-term traveling assignments. In these scenarios, they iron out all of the details for you and you just show up. You'll have help securing a short-term work visa and the company would coordinate living arrangements. You may also be able to find a firm that has an interest in (or at least the capability of) letting you work remotely to travel on your own.
A common concern is your family. Those who aren't married and don't have any kids will find it easier to choose a globe-trotting career. While it is a much simpler choice for those without family considerations, professionals with families can make it happen. If you have children, finding a school for international students may help your children settle into a new country easier; though, many times, children have a better time adapting to a new environment than adults. Your spouse or partner's life also comes into play, and may require him or her to change jobs as well. However, if your family is as ready to embrace change as you are, it could end up being an adventure of a lifetime!
Anticipate a Two-Year Rotation or Assignment
Companies often offer two-year programs for those willing to take an assignment abroad. These can lead to extensions or permanent placement. Working and living abroad for any amount of time can be stressful, especially on your first assignment, but the rewards are worth it. Learning about a new culture, establishing friendships, and tasting an all-new cuisine are just a few of the perks you get to enjoy while adding a stamp to your career that will stand out on any resume. The initial commitment is a big one; but then, it will just become life as usual.
The good news is, as an aspiring CPA exam candidate, you're heading in the right direction towards gaining an international career. Companies want to send their top talent, and that includes having your CPA license. So apply for that passport, brush up on IFRS, and consider living and working abroad!