Career Advice: Accountant to Investor

kreezo

New Forum Member
Registered
Hi,

Background:

I am currently 23 and I have a Chartered Accountant Designation working at Deloitte. I come from a business/accounting background. In the past my working hours are usually 9:00-6:00 and during the busier times of the year I work 8:30-11:00 and occasionally on the weekends as well. While I have learned a lot in this profession, this lifestyle is NOT sustainable. My 10 year plan is to become financially free by the age of 33 through real estate.

Objectives:

In the next couple of years while I am still accumulating my wealth/properties I am looking for a job that provides:
- steady income (70-80K) so I would be a more attractive candidate to qualify for a mortgage
- steady 9-5 hours to allow for purchasing/managing properties
- something related to real estate so I can learn and network through my day-to-day job.

Question:
- Are there any ex-CA`s out there? What sort of career path have you taken?
- Should I get my realtor/mortgage broker license?
- Suggestions for jobs/professions? (Commercial property development companies, mortgage brokers etc?)

Thanks,

Chris
 

jkcomm

New Forum Member
Registered
Hi Chris,

I am a CGA and have been working in industry for a good number of years. You`ve worked so hard for your CA... I wouldn`t just give it up yet!

Working in industry has allowed me to spend more time analyznig real estate and catch up with what`s going on. You and I can agree that hours are crazy in public practice. Abruptly changing careers is not something that I would do or recommend... so far it`s been working fine for me.

James
 

RedlineBrett

Senior Forum Member
REIN Member
When I was 23 (27 now, will be 28 next mo) I was in working as an engineer for a design company here in Calgary. Like yourself, I wanted to be in real estate full time but I didn`t have the wherewithall to quit my job and make the leap right away.

I got my realtors license more for educational purposes and for fun than anything else... never intended to be a full time real estate agent. I used my license (and MLX access) to do all kinds of market research and comparables before jumping into the market and flipping houses during the boom years. Then I had a friend that wanted to buy a house. Then another, then another. Next thing I knew I was earning the same income from real estate sales as I was as an engineer. I continued like this for a year - keeping all of the sales income in the business to fund more flips before I burnt out from trying to juggle two careers. felt like I had one foot on the dock and one on the boat so to speak. I was offered what I felt was a bit of an insulting raise from my boss which led to the decision not to have a boss anymore. Now I have my hand in 19 doors and 12 properties - all income properties - in Calgary and am top ten in the second largest sales brokerage in Calgary - over 270 agents. Never looked back. My engineering background has given me a huge advantage over my competition and what my business was really missing was more of my time.

The decision to go full time can only really happen when you can replace your old job`s income without a change in your standard of living. My advice would be to find a way to use your skills as an accountant to further your real estate ambitions. Can you do files for other investors? What about working internally for a larger real estate co? Can you start a small business on the side and slowly build it to be ready for you when you are done with being a full time accountant?

Lots of options and possibilities and ultimately you will have to figure it out as you go because your own experiences will be much more valuable to you than off the cuff advice from others... you will make some mistakes but don`t let them paralyze you with fear. Just treat everything like it was your first project and you`ll be fine!
 

kreezo

New Forum Member
Registered
QUOTE (jkcomm @ Apr 27 2009, 12:40 PM) Hi Chris,

I am a CGA and have been working in industry for a good number of years. You`ve worked so hard for your CA... I wouldn`t just give it up yet!

Working in industry has allowed me to spend more time analyznig real estate and catch up with what`s going on. You and I can agree that hours are crazy in public practice. Abruptly changing careers is not something that I would do or recommend... so far it`s been working fine for me.

James

Hi James,

So after you got your CGA did you just continue to work in public accounting? Are you still doing public accounting today - if so, how did you find the time for real estate then?

I`ll want to apply my CA knowledge in a profession where it adds value so my investment in it doesn`t get wasted but I would want to find a balance between the two and see what my career options are.

Chris
 

jkcomm

New Forum Member
Registered
Hi Chris,

To tell the truth, I have been working in industry while earning my CGA as the hours and workload don`t fluctuate a whole lot (except year ends!) I usually sneak half an hour of lunch time to read REIN topics and/or do some research on real estate in a specific area.

Brett`s post is excellent - reinforcing the idea that you can become a full-time real estate investor when you have enough cash flowing properties to generate a monthly income.

The way that I learn is: 1) do the math and 2) make an offer. Don`t steer yourself into analysis paralysis.

James
 

SusanPenner

Inspired Forum Member
Registered
Hi Chris:

The advice you`ve had so far and your ideas sound like you are well on your way.

Yes get out of the CA firm and head into industry to manage the work week hours. From my experience, you can still work 40/60/80 hour weeks in industry, so choose your new company/position wisely. Small companies will work you hard as they are lean on staff. Financial Reporting positions in most companies will expect the 60+ hours especially at quarterend. I believe the real estate industry is a valid option, however, if you are in Alberta I would also consider the oil and gas industry as they pay 15-20% higher (on average) for the same accounting position as another industry. 70/80k would be probably your starting salary (I`m assuming you wrote the UFE around last year).

I`ve been a designated accountant for close to 13 years. In my current company/position I`m a Senior Analyst and I`m only expected to work 40 hrs a week. A few years ago, I declined the manager career path as I saw how most managers/controllers put in 60 hours a week. I joined REIN in 2007 and bought 5 houses in 2008. Having an accounting backround certainly helps with the analysis and walking into bank negotiations. I won`t move from the oil and gas industry until I decide to "retire" to real estate. For time management, I have "office nights" twice a week and as we add more properties I do plan to consider going down to a 4 day work week at the salary job and 1 day a week devoted to real estate. My husband and I have found that networking within our companies has created potential JV investors which we plan to follow up on this year (as we are now out of $$$)!!

Hope that helps.

Good luck

Susan
 

lyndsy

New Forum Member
Registered
Very inspirational thread here.

Brett I admire the hard work you`ve put in at such a young age to get to where you are today.

Susan it`s great to see a woman`s point of view with success.
 

kreezo

New Forum Member
Registered
QUOTE (SusanPenner @ Apr 29 2009, 12:37 PM) Hi Chris:

The advice you`ve had so far and your ideas sound like you are well on your way.

Yes get out of the CA firm and head into industry to manage the work week hours. From my experience, you can still work 40/60/80 hour weeks in industry, so choose your new company/position wisely. Small companies will work you hard as they are lean on staff. Financial Reporting positions in most companies will expect the 60+ hours especially at quarterend. I believe the real estate industry is a valid option, however, if you are in Alberta I would also consider the oil and gas industry as they pay 15-20% higher (on average) for the same accounting position as another industry. 70/80k would be probably your starting salary (I`m assuming you wrote the UFE around last year).

I`ve been a designated accountant for close to 13 years. In my current company/position I`m a Senior Analyst and I`m only expected to work 40 hrs a week. A few years ago, I declined the manager career path as I saw how most managers/controllers put in 60 hours a week. I joined REIN in 2007 and bought 5 houses in 2008. Having an accounting backround certainly helps with the analysis and walking into bank negotiations. I won`t move from the oil and gas industry until I decide to "retire" to real estate. For time management, I have "office nights" twice a week and as we add more properties I do plan to consider going down to a 4 day work week at the salary job and 1 day a week devoted to real estate. My husband and I have found that networking within our companies has created potential JV investors which we plan to follow up on this year (as we are now out of $$$)!!

Hope that helps.

Good luck

Susan

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your reply! Ideally what I am looking for would be a 40 hour job paying 80K and giving me the flexibility to pursue other things on the side. Responding to the posts above, my short term plans is to continuing having a full-time job for the next 5-10 years for the cash flow, security and ability to get a mortgage.

I know I want to get into something related to real estate and on the flip side of things I know I don`t want to do financial reporting/internal audit. Other than reporting, what other jobs are out there where a CA would come in handy and is remotely related to the real estate industry (ie mortgage broker, developers, bank)? Mentioned above was, large commercial real estate property developers? Any other ideas?

Thanks for the comments so far!

Chris
 

RedlineBrett

Senior Forum Member
REIN Member
QUOTE (kreezo @ Apr 30 2009, 09:30 AM) Mentioned above was, large commercial real estate property developers? Any other ideas?

Thanks for the comments so far!

Chris

Most people don`t grow up saying "I want to be a real estate agent someday" or go to university to be a mortgage broker. Most people in the real estate industry come from other backgrounds so don`t feel intimidated by that.

The world of real estate services (sales, financing, property management, renovations etc) is a sales driven business where there are very few barriers to entry. You don`t need a degree, all you need is a cell phone, a computer and drive. Because of that it is highly competitive and you need to be special to shine through. You can get by doing it part time but if your clients know you are part time they may not want to do business with you! But that is totally up to how you run your business and work out the balance. Nearly all people make less than 100k a year, but a handful make over $1,000,000.

Getting a gig with a developer would get you access to higher level commercial real estate or residential construction - the type you are unlikely to encounter much of in the REIN world. Some frontline sales might help you.

Working within a bank might be an option. One thing you might want to consider is the world of appraisals. Way less sales but it will get you good at evaluating property and you can definitely do it part time. Won`t make much $$ but you could make it work with a full time job.

Other options include advertising consultants, home staging, property management, sales/office assistant work etc.
 
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