There are dozens of factors that go into job satisfaction, not just the work you’re performing. You should also consider factors like:
- work environment and the people you see each day
- the flexibility of your schedule
- work-life balance and the ability to pursue separate passions
- the benefits and salary you earn
Being an enrolled agent offers solid career benefits: there are hundreds of options, and there is no one-size-fits-all career path.
To help you find the perfect career as an enrolled agent, 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. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of different careers EAs can have depending on the type of work and industry. The world is your oyster!
Enrolled agent duties and daily tasks
Before we jump into the fun stuff, let’s cover what an EA actually does. A broad view of an enrolled agent’s primary duties includes:
- preparing tax returns
- advising on tax related matters
- providing representation before the IRS
However, an EA’s duties go far beyond these roles. They can work with corporations, individuals, trusts, non-profits, or a variety of other entities. They can also 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.
Enrolled agents 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. Therefore, they must 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 benefit from having an EA on staff who can represent clients before the IRS (for example, if the client was audited). An EA can handle any IRS-related notices received on the client’s behalf.
As small businesses, many law firms will benefit from having tax personnel on staff to handle their own 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. A small firm will offer more ownership and more flexibility.
Investment firm staff
Investment firms need tax professionals on staff to minimize clients’ tax obligations. An EA can advise investment firm staff on how to handle the purchase and sale of investments. They will ensure that client goals 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 interested in investing, this would be a great opportunity to do something you enjoy. At the same time, you’ll earn a competitive salary and gain work flexibility.
Department of Revenue staff
An attractive benefit of being an EA includes opportunities with the IRS or state departments of revenue. This is at the heart of an EAs core duties and responsibilities, as you’ll guide people through tax obstacles daily.
Working in government means you’ll likely have better vacation, health, and retirement benefits. You can also rely on job security.
You may not be paid quite as well as if you worked in the private sector, but you may enjoy working for a public-serving entity.
CEO or business owner
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. By partnering with someone who does advising and accounting work, you can start a well-rounded accounting practice.
The sky’s the limit when you start your small business, and it gives you a chance to dive into 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 need tax and accounting help.
Become the person 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 have uncapped earning potential when you do this well, but you could also feel the stress of juggling too many clients. Consider finding a balance when owning your own business.
Staff of small businesses in various industries
Most businesses would benefit from having an EA on staff. Small business owners don’t have the time to deal with tax-related matters or IRS notices. It’s an advantage for them to have someone on staff to handle accounting throughout the year and 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.
Weigh your EA career options
Each of these areas has ups and downs, 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 all a matter of broadening your horizons and investigating.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to pick one of these to be your lifelong career. You may start out in a public accounting firm, move to a bank, and then start your own business.
Being an EA means unlocking opportunities to try different areas and see what you like. It’s the perfect career choice for anyone who enjoys helping people while earning a competitive salary and gaining flexibility.