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Accounting Exit Opportunities

Does anyone have experience working at a small company? I was furloughed and I’m looking for other opportunities, and I’ve had a few interviews/chats with the Co-founder of this real estate company...

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Real estate accounting is harder than you think, esp if it's a developer so I would keep that in mind. Also are they commercial vs multifam? The accounting is going to be a mess, esp if they are commercial (more rules).

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They attract low income, they specialize in mobile home communities

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It doesn’t look like a good opportunity to me. I think you will be doing a lot of admin type of work at least at the beginning. Maybe good to learn the operation of a small company but doubt you will learn a lot about accounting/FP&A there. The benefits and compensation seem lacking. Keep I kind bonus is discretionary

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Keep in mind your recruiter is getting paid by selling you. Your interests are hardly aligned. I would trust them like a used car sales man after they go to the back to get you their best offer.

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Smaller companies are a gamble on reaching a position you actually want vs the one they start you in. They have to have growth in order to determine that position is a necessary carve out rather than putting the responsibilities on top of your regular job. Also, in my experience, smaller companies have small shared service teams and basically 3-4 people will handle the job of 20-30 at a bigger company so if you’re not used to that level of responsibility and wearing multiple hats, it can be an adjustment. Plus it’s very project based. You’ll have core responsibilities and then there will be various projects to help the company scale and operate efficiently. The lack of HR practices is both kinda normal & a red flag. Smaller companies tend to start with whatever is cheapest operationally and then as they grow, source employee feedback on things to implement/change such as 401(k) match. I’ve avoided real estate because the accounting is not a remote interest for me but speaking from experience, if the package is a concern, it’s not a good choice.

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The company is between 5-10 years old, the corporate staff is probably around 5-7 people (apparently none are accountants by trade), and there are property managers at each of the properties and a few regional managers around the country. It seems to be relatively small scale right now, but they’re looking to grow, and looking for an accountant to help with more of the day to day operations, taking some work off the Co-founder’s plate. I’ve expressed wanting to grow into more of a finance/analytics/FP&A role and the Co-founder loved that desire and said there are absolutely opportunities for exposure there (he has a finance background). I don’t really have any experience with real estate but it’s something I’m interested in. The reason I ask about experience with small companies is because this would definitely be a change for me, the salary is lower but the external recruiter said the Co-founder is conservative with salary but usually gives out decent quarterly bonuses depending on business performance, I’d have to figure out my own healthcare for the first 3 months, and following those 3 months, I’d be eligible for their plan, but the company doesn’t cover any of the premiums, there is apparently a 401k plan set up (no employer match) but the Co-founder said he’s not familiar with it since no one has ever expressed an interest in participating (but that it could be a project for me if I was interested), and he mentioned a share plan where employees may get a small % share of each new deal, but that it’s not set up yet (but again, another project I could work on if interested). It seems like an interesting opportunity, but I’m a little concerned about the lack of HR/admin type set up and wondering if it’s an indicator of other processes within the company that may be iffy. Any thoughts?

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I lime to read executive recruiter job descriptions - to figure out what they are looking for in the job I want 5-10 years from now. Most of those require 5-10 of industry experience and a lot value successful work in large, publicly traded businesses with global operations. Those are three big take aways for me personally - being able to work across groups with people who don’t have a direct report relationship, in operationally sophisticated businesses, and do business around the world. Industry experience is a key too - sometimes geography doesn’t give you much choice (Houston). But it will have an outsized impact on your career. Ask anyone who spent 20 years in retail how that’s working out lately? Probably not as well as healthcare or consumer products.

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