There are dozens of factors that go into job satisfaction, not just the work you’re performing. The environment you work in, the people you work with, the benefits you have, the flexibility of your schedule, the ability to pursue other passions outside of work, and the salary you earn are all considerations as you start your jobs search. Being an Enrolled Agent offers a huge advantage when it comes to your career: there are hundreds of options, and there is no one-size-fits-all career path. We want you to find the perfect career as an EA, so we’ve put together a list of several different jobs you can have with an EA credential. This list covers the basic jobs you can have at different types of companies, but keep in mind that there really are hundreds of different careers EAs can have depending on the type of work, the industry, and the company. The world is your oyster!
Enrolled Agent Duties
Before we jump into the fun stuff, let’s cover what an EA actually does. A broad view of an Enrolled Agents duties includes preparing tax returns, advising on tax related matters, and providing representation before the IRS. However, an EA’s duties go far beyond these high level roles. They can work with corporations, individuals, trusts, non-profits, or a variety of other entities, and can work in tax areas ranging from calling the IRS on notices to helping clients strategize to legally maximize tax benefits.
Jobs You Can Have With an Enrolled Agent Credential
Public Accounting Firm Tax Staff
Public accounting firms are a great place for EAs to work for a variety of reasons: they often offer great benefits, including higher than normal paid time off and a strong sense of job security. At a public accounting firm, EAs can work as tax staff, helping to prepare returns and representing clients before the IRS. EAs will likely work with a variety of clients, from individuals to corporations, and will get highly experienced guidance on tax related matters. Public accounting is a great place to start your career and jump into other jobs, or it can be a great place to continue your career well into the future depending on your need for growth and your firm’s ability to provide it.
Small Accounting Firm Tax Staff
There are plenty of smaller CPA firms out there who have more clients than they know what to do with. This is a great opportunity for an EA – they can come in and take quite a few tax related matters off a small practice owner’s hands. EAs can take on a variety of responsibilities and grow into the role of a tax professional. Small accounting firms can also offer a lot of benefits in terms of scheduling, time-off, work from home opportunities, and growth.
Banks are regulated by the Federal Reserve and therefore have to deal with government oversight on a consistent basis. Having an EA on staff can help banks work with regulations while also making sure they are tax compliant. Banks offer similar benefits to public accounting firms: good salary, good benefits, and high job security. They also have an added benefit of having more paid holidays than most businesses. However, you may have less flexibility in terms of your schedule, so you’ll have to evaluate what’s most important to you in your career.
Law Firm Staff
Tax law firms will definitely benefit from having an EA on staff who can represent clients before the IRS (for example, if the client was audited) and deal with any IRS related notices received on behalf of the client. Law firms are also small businesses which may benefit from having tax personnelle on their staff to help them handle their small business taxes. Law firms offer different benefits depending on size. Similar to public accounting firms vs small CPA firms, a large firm will likely offer better pay, more security, and better benefits, while a small firm will offer more ownership and more flexibility.
Investment Firm Staff
Investment firms need tax professionals on staff who can help them minimize the tax obligations of their clients. An EA can advise investment firm staff on how to handle the purchase and sale of investments to ensure the goals of clients are met in any given tax year. Larger investment firms tend to offer very good benefits for their staff, as well as more progressive flexibility. If you’re an EA and you’re interested in investing, this would be a great opportunity to do something you enjoy while also having a lot of salary and work-time flexibility.
Department of Revenue Staff
A great benefit of being an EA is having the ability to work for the IRS or state departments of revenue. This is at the heart of an EAs core duties and responsibilities, and you’ll be guiding people through tax obstacles on a daily basis. Working in government means you’ll likely have better vacation, health, and retirement benefits, as well as increased job security. You may not be paid quite as well as if you worked in the private sector, but you may enjoy knowing you’re working for an entity meant to serve the public.
CEO or Owner of Your Own Business
Many EAs start their own tax preparation and planning businesses. You would perform all the essential duties of an EA: tax preparation, tax strategy, and representing clients before the IRS. You may also incorporate bookkeeping services into your practice, or start a small business with a partner who does advising and accounting related work to have a fully rounded accounting practice.
The sky’s the limit when you start your small business, and it really gives you a chance to work with your passions. Love architecture? Become a tax preparer who works specifically with the intricacies of the architecture business. There are so many small businesses out there in a variety of niches that really need tax and accounting help. You can be the one to help them take advantage of deductions, strategize to minimize tax liabilities, and advise them on specific accounting aspects of their business.
Having your own business offers the greatest benefits while posing the largest risk. You may have unlimited flexibility, but you’ll have to earn clients to make money. You can make a lot of money, but you may have more clients than you want to deal with. It’s all about balance when owning your own business.
Staff of Small Businesses in Various Industries
Most every business would benefit from having an EA on staff. Small business owners don’t usually have the time to deal with tax related matters or IRS notices, and would really benefit from having someone on staff who could help them with their accounting throughout the year and their taxes during tax season. Having an EA in house also means small business owners can actively take advantage of tax minimizing decisions on a regular basis.
Each of these areas offer upsides and downsides, and different firms within each area may offer different opportunities. You may find a bank that offers a great salary and flexible schedule, it’s just a matter of looking at your options.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to pick one of these careers to be in forever. You may start out in a public accounting firm, move to a bank, and then start your own business. Being an EA means you have the opportunity to try out a few different areas and see what you like. It’s a great career choice for anyone who enjoys helping people while also earning a great salary and having a fair amount of flexibility. If becoming an EA sounds like a great option for you, check out Surgent’s EA Review course.