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Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Old Sep 2nd 2013, 6:08 pm
  #1  
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Default Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Hello, I am a CPA in the USA and have looked at some of the recruiting websites like Hamilton's etc. They claim or seem to apply that working in the Caribbean can boost your career and that it is possible to make more money than comparable positions. Can I get some feedback from anyone who has gone through these recruiting agencies and the Caribbean experience? How much can an experienced (3 years) CPA make and will I get a boost in my career? Thx.
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Old Sep 2nd 2013, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

I spent two years in Bermuda (not the caribbean but similar enough I think) when I was at a more advanced stage in my career, about ten years post qualification.

I had a team of about 15 or 20 qualified accountants so my comments based on my own experiences as an individual and also as a manager.

Certainly I did very well financially and as Bermuda is one of the tax free locations it was particularly lucrative. From memory (I left in 2008) the three year accountants would be on about $100k or so, which is not bad tax free although it is an expensive place too and you would be spending a lot on rent. I have heard that rents have declined since my day though as expats left post GFC.

I really disagree that it is good for the CV though, I was CFO so the job title was great for my CV and still is, but to go as a regular accountant I don't think it will do you many favours.

I worked for a global organisation and I found attitudes to me, before they had any dealings with me, were negatively biased because I was in Bermuda (even though I was CFO)! It is common for people to have the perception that you work five hours a day and then party on the beach from 3pm. You should also consider that in the Caribbean you won't be exposed to cutting edge thinking or technology and even if you stay current, there could be that perception that. You are not.

I definitely think working in the Caribbean should be something you do for a life experience not for a career one. If you want to work somewhere that will progress your career and look great on a CV, then you should be heading for New York or London.
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Old Sep 3rd 2013, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Originally Posted by Bermudashorts
I spent two years in Bermuda (not the caribbean but similar enough I think) when I was at a more advanced stage in my career, about ten years post qualification.

I had a team of about 15 or 20 qualified accountants so my comments based on my own experiences as an individual and also as a manager.

Certainly I did very well financially and as Bermuda is one of the tax free locations it was particularly lucrative. From memory (I left in 2008) the three year accountants would be on about $100k or so, which is not bad tax free although it is an expensive place too and you would be spending a lot on rent. I have heard that rents have declined since my day though as expats left post GFC.

I really disagree that it is good for the CV though, I was CFO so the job title was great for my CV and still is, but to go as a regular accountant I don't think it will do you many favours.

I worked for a global organisation and I found attitudes to me, before they had any dealings with me, were negatively biased because I was in Bermuda (even though I was CFO)! It is common for people to have the perception that you work five hours a day and then party on the beach from 3pm. You should also consider that in the Caribbean you won't be exposed to cutting edge thinking or technology and even if you stay current, there could be that perception that. You are not.

I definitely think working in the Caribbean should be something you do for a life experience not for a career one. If you want to work somewhere that will progress your career and look great on a CV, then you should be heading for New York or London.
Thanks for the info Bermuda Shorts.
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Old Nov 19th 2013, 8:32 pm
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

You should look at working in the Caribbean as a life experience, possibly an opportunity to make money, but not always a career enhancement. It also depends on which island you intend to work. Most of the ex British colonial islands favour UK and Canadian chartered accountants. All the US CPA that I met worked for US Banks.
I worked in the Caribbean in the 80's in a CFO position in a local business in the Bahamas. I cannot say it enhanced my career. In fact it took some years for it to dissolve into the background of my resume. Things have changed and a big consideration for me now if I was thinking of a role in the Caribbean is personal safety. Check out the crime rates behind the glossy tourist brochure and you might change your mind. I would not take a wife and kids.
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Old Dec 2nd 2013, 3:31 am
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Also having the same problem if I should take the leap to work in Caribbean. The pay is very attractive especially in Cayman.
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Old Dec 2nd 2013, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Cayman is Ok for your career for 3 years. Apartment rents are very expensive as the islands are so small. Many accountants who go there to work for professional accounting firms end up working for client banks and trusts. It can give you a big "in" to working in other offshore locations.
Read the small print for anywhere you consider relocation.
Nassau Bahamas, another popular move for accountants, is just 21 x 7 miles. There have been over 100 murders this year.. None of them to my knowledge Brit Chartered accounts , but includes some unwary tourists
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Old Dec 2nd 2013, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Accounting Jobs in Caribbean - Worth It?

Originally Posted by multivitamins
Also having the same problem if I should take the leap to work in Caribbean. The pay is very attractive especially in Cayman.
Comments same as above.
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