Alex Philstrom, Business Consultant, Minneapolis

Consulting is full of built-in challenges that allow me to fully contribute my experience and skill set to different companies. It also provides constant development, which my previous roles often lacked.

Johanna Klotz
Accounting consultant, Chicago

Choosing consulting

When I transitioned from public accounting to a role in the private sector, I found one of the biggest differences between the two career paths was with professional development opportunities. Being a high-energy person, new challenges at work are key motivators for me, but I wasn’t finding the career advancement and learning opportunities I needed. In my accounting manager role, I discovered that I thrived on the challenges that come with short deadlines and defined on-ramps/off-ramps. As I was realizing this, Allie from Salo reached out with a personalized message and I was intrigued to learn more. I was excited to hear that consulting had the challenges I was looking for and was hooked from there.

Finding the challenge I needed

Consulting is full of built-in challenges that allow me to leverage my experience and skill set in a different way, and for many different companies. I find excitement in quickly getting up to speed on a project and bringing the best value to the client. Consulting also provides constant development, which my previous roles lacked.

Being a great consultant

Having worked on several projects, I’ve recognized a few tricks that have helped me become a better consultant. The keys are to build trust quickly and make sure you’re staying on top of the rapidly changing landscape.

As a consultant, you are brought into a company to make changes. Being new can be tough and when you’re making assessments and updates, you have to work to build trust with the existing employees and demonstrate how you can help. The beginning is the toughest part, but if you can push through and build productive relationships, you can make progress and open the door for change. The willingness to change can be a hurdle, but it’s also the key to success for everyone involved.

Additionally, in the current finance and accounting landscape, acquisitions and mergers are happening at a record pace. With the new business models, it’s critical to keep up and continue learning and developing your skills to bring the best value to the client.

Advice for others

Success as a new consultant requires personability, flexibility, confidence, a detail-oriented mentality and a lot of patience. It’s a unique way of working but has a lot of benefits – I strongly suggest considering it as a career because you’ll develop so quickly.

The current market environment has never been better for project-based work. Because there is such a need for accounting professionals, you can find work that you’re truly passionate about and you can say no to work you don’t enjoy. Also, since projects typically have a defined start and end date, you can choose where and when you work. I think it’s so important to start each day excited about your work, and consulting lets you take your knowledge and experience and use it to build relationships and add value for many companies. What’s not exciting about that? If you’re not enjoying what you’re currently doing, why not try something new? Or at least explore it.