International Accounting Jobs - Not Quite James Bond But Still A Great Adventure

International accounting jobs are an exciting and growing opportunity.  Accountants are needed around the world in a variety of industries.  The challenge of learning trade regulations, tax implications, and world capital markets can be very appealing.  In addition to the professional challenges, practicing accounting abroad exposes you to live in a different culture and location.  

Are you adventurous?  There are some things to consider before you just begin looking for international accounting jobs.  We’ll give you some advice and help you position yourself to move your career overseas.

Planning and Careful Consideration

The world is becoming smaller all the time.  Thousands of people decide to take their career, along with their family, overbroad every year.  Most find it to be one of the best experiences of their professional lives.  To make sure you have the same positive experience, you need to prepare and plan carefully.

  • How Long? – One of the first steps is determining how long you wish to work abroad.  Do you plan to live and work abroad for a short time, perhaps only a few years, and then return home to continue your career?  If so, your needs are different than someone who wishes to relocate abroad permanently.
  • Where? – Before you make a decision to move abroad, travel.  Gain an understanding of the culture and lifestyle of countries you are considering.  Are you comfortable with the language?  Are you able and willing to adjust to the standard of living, political situation, and lifestyle of the country?  Determining your overall fit and ability to adjust in advance of relocating will help you avoid a difficult transition.
  • What? – Expose yourself to international accounting standards.  Learn the big picture of accounting life in another country.  If you are employed at a multi-national firm already, ask to work on a few international projects.  The more you learn about international taxation, standards, and procedures the more prepared you will be for your new role.

Qualifying for International Accounting Jobs

While there are some entry level positions available internationally, competition is strong.  As a foreign applicant you may have a disadvantage for those positions.  To increase the opportunities available to you and give yourself an advantage obtain your CPA License prior to moving abroad.

International organizations find it difficult to evaluate your skills based on your academic record alone.  For this reason they look for an active CPA License on your resume or curriculum vitae.  Taking the time to achieve your CPA will place you in a better applicant pool and open up opportunities for you.

If you plan to work for a relatively short time abroad and then continue your career at home, a CPA License is considered adequate for most positions.

If you work for an organization with international business centers, consider contacting your human resources department.  Many companies have transfer options abroad for professionals interested in international accounting jobs.  These positions give you the advantage of familiarity with the organization and industry.  In some cases your organization may even subsidize your housing or travel expenses.

Challenges and Rewards

Remember, relocating to a foreign country is not as simple as relocating to a different location at home.  You will need to obtain a visa and work permit to work in another country.  You may also be required to complete additional paperwork or receive immunizations or health exams before travelling.

When you arrive, you will be faced with potentially learning a language.  You will certainly need to adjust to cultural differences both within the office setting and outside the office.  Familiarize yourself with the laws, traditions, and political climate of the new country to make transition as easy as possible.

Working abroad is very rewarding, despite the challenges.  If you thirst for adventure, you will certainly find it abroad. 

Professionally international accounting jobs will benefit you significantly from the experience you gain working with international standards aka IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards).  In addition you will demonstrate an ability to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances making your more appealing to your next potential employer