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The Big Four Reasons to Join Accordion

A Better Way to Work in Finance: The "Big Four" Reasons to Join Accordion

The media is calling it the “Great Resignation.” In the last year, more than 24 million employees have left their jobs, setting an all-time record.

Economists are calling it the “Great Upgrade,” arguing that the current workforce dynamics are less about quitting, and more about workers finding “better” jobs.

At Accordion, we’re calling it the “Great Reflection.” We’re not seeing finance professionals and accountants question whether or not to continue to work in finance, but rather reflecting on how, why, where, and for whom they work.

These shifts in workplace preferences shouldn’t come as a surprise. Employees’ priorities and goals have evolved into something radically different from their pre-pandemic aspirations.

Accounting professionals of all stripes – but particularly Big Four alumni – are rejecting the traditional paradigm that limits accelerated access to clients, opportunities for growth, skillset advancement, and career progression. And, they’re taking harder and longer looks at the ethos of the organizations that employ them.

The Big Four is synonymous with tradition, training, and competence. All good things. But it’s also synonymous with structure and organizational hierarchy. At Accordion, we learned a long time ago that many accountants and finance professionals are looking for something more. And now, in this post-pandemic era, we’re finding that even more finance executives are starving for more of the “more”:

  • more variety in projects and teams;
  • more cross-practice opportunities across all corners of the finance world and sub-finance specialties;
  • more accelerated career progression based on merit, not tenure;
  • more opportunities to gain leadership experience;
  • more collaboration (not competition) with peers;
  • more skillset development; and
  • more facetime with clients for whom they are doing meaningful, sophisticated work.

There’s no doubt that the “more” list is long – but it can also be condensed into some universal themes. As we see it, Big Four alums have four BIG reasons to consider a career move toward a more entrepreneurial environment (like Accordion):

Reason #1: The Want to “Do”

There’s a misnomer about consultants – that it’s all concept and plans and playbooks and guidance. Accordion is about doing – it’s about rolling up your sleeves and applying theory to action. It’s about coming up with cross-practice solutions that benefit the client while enabling our people to build skillsets across the finance spectrum. Clients come to us because we think outside of the box in non-prescriptive ways. Every engagement is approached uniquely – but always with a problem-solving attitude.

Sarah Bailey

I had spent over a decade at the Big Four and I was eager to explore something new. Specifically, I was ready for a change in the type of work I was doing for clients. Accordion offered the opportunity to be much more hands-on within the Office of the CFO. Instead of checking a client’s work, I’d be doing the work alongside the client – serving as both an actual practitioner and as the CFO’s strategic partner.”

Sarah Bailey
Managing Director at Accordion (previously, Sarah worked at Deloitte and EY)
Meet Sarah
Nathan Pearson

At Accordion, I’m able to interact ‘up close’ with the client and provide a more hands-on approach to consulting. I have the chance to lead projects, gain facetime with C-suite stakeholders and PE sponsors, and really dive deep into improving the company's financial processes – implementing best practices that truly enhance the value of the deal.”

Nathan Pearson
Director at Accordion (previously, Nathan worked at KPMG and Deloitte)
Meet Nathan

Reason #2: The Itch to Be an Entrepreneur

Accordion is a high-growth company in a high-growth industry that rejects the hierarchical ethos of traditional accounting firms and other finance organizations. We’re the firm for budding entrepreneurs who want to drive growth – without the risk of a start-up, and with the stability of an established (but scaling) organization.

Pamela Stern

Accordion is the perfect hybrid between a well-established firm and a fun, fast-growing startup. As we continue to expand geographically and across practice areas, all team members are encouraged to take a seat at the table – to pave their own path and make their mark on Accordion’s future. This creates an electric atmosphere that is fun and exciting.”

Pamela Stern
Managing Director, Head of Accordion's Financial Accounting Advisory Services Practice (previously, Pamela worked at Refinery 29, KKR, and Deloitte)
Meet Pamela
Kim Thi Tran

From my very first encounter with Accordion, I was struck by the entrepreneurial energy – and it’s contagious. We are truly building and expanding this firm together. Leadership is guiding us in way that is both nimble and smart – enabling us to elevate the way we service the private equity community.”

Kim Thi Tran
Senior Director at Accordion (previously, Kim worked at Alvarez & Marsal and PwC)
Meet Kim

Reason #3: The Desire to Drive Change in PE

Private equity is the unicorn of the finance world – not in the valuation sense, but in the sense that it’s the rare sector that’s evolving and growing at record pace. In PE, the cadence of work is accelerated and the finance team plays a unique, demanding, and rewarding role navigating portfolio company growth (while simultaneously serving both management and sponsors).

Is it challenging? Yes. In fact, it may be among the most challenging roles for finance professionals who serve the Office of the CFO. But therein lies its beauty and, dare we say, “sexiness.” PE is fast-moving, its demands are sophisticated and nuanced, its stakes are high, its needs require collaboration with analytical athletes and fintech professionals beyond accountants…but the value contributed is measured, acknowledged, and rewarded. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “if you can make it in PE, you can make it anywhere.” And Accordionites thrive in PE…

Gaurang Gupta

I have been deeply exposed to the PE industry during my time at Accordion – learning not just the inner workings of PE, but also the trends that influence the next wave of transactions. The dynamic project environment – along with the opportunity to work exclusively with portfolio company C-suite and PE sponsors – is very unique compared to my previous experiences. The projects I typically work on are fast-paced and vary by size, industry, and transaction cycle, which enables me to learn quickly.”

Gaurang Gupta
Managing Director at Accordion (previously, Gaurang worked at EY and Ecolab)
Meet Gaurang

Reason #4: The Hunger for a Better Way to Work in Finance:

Culture, culture, culture. Every company says they have a unique one. Every company talks about its collaborative spirit, its embracive and inclusive environment, its willingness to provide work-life balance. But those who have been around the block in finance know better. Culture must exist beyond a mission statement on the website. Work-life integration must mean something more than generous vacation days.

Now, especially during the Great Resignation/Reflection/Upgrade, people want to work for companies where the ethos of the organization is lived out loud, where work is challenging, but the person doing that work is valued, and their priorities are more than accommodated; they’re embraced. Accordion was founded to provide its people with “a better way to work in finance.” It’s more than a pithy soundbite:

Jonathan Tasca

From a culture standpoint, the people here are fantastic – not only in terms of their skillsets, but in terms of their genuine compassion for one another. There’s a spirit of camaraderie that stems from wanting to see one another succeed, both professionally and personally. Because of this, my job feels like it fits into my life – rather than my life fitting into my job.”

Jonathan Tasca
Director at Accordion (previously, Jonathan worked at PwC)
Meet Jonathan
Shauna Watson

Unlike traditional finance roles, you’re able to manage client expectations in a way that accommodates your family, friends, and commitments outside of work. That’s not to say we don’t work hard – Accordion is filled with some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met – but we also work smart. It’s less about putting in long hours at the office and more about getting the work done right. As a mother of 2 young kids, this is an aspect of our culture that I greatly appreciate.”

Shauna Watson
Managing Director, Head of Accordion's IPO Readiness Practice (previously, Shauna worked at RGP, Northrop Grumman, and PwC)
Meet Shauna

In Summary:

None of this is to say that there isn’t a place for the Big Four or for the people who have found a home there. As highlighted above, Accordion is filled with executives who have chipped their teeth in large accountancies and consultancies – all of whom considered the training to be invaluable.

However, all of this is to say that there’s another way to work in finance – one that existed well before the pandemic led to the Great Resignation, but nonetheless now mirrors the new paradigm that many finance professionals are, finally, ready to experience.

We happen to think it’s a better way. Come see for yourself…

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