Since beginning her career at a big 4 accounting firm, Yanan Wang has always sought out opportunities to try new things. When a work friend left the firm for Salo, she took note.
“My friend’s experience was really positive,” Yanan says. “She told me that Salo values talent over everything.”
As she moved through her career, these words stuck with her. In 2019, Yanan joined Salo Compass®, a unique rotational development program for professionals looking to broaden their knowledge and industry experience outside of public accounting.
Salo Compass provides true direction
Because Compass is a salaried program that offers public accounting professionals a depth and breadth of experience, Yanan was able to discover what she loved about her work—and herself.
“I learned I have a real passion for consulting work,” Yanan explains. “With Compass, you get a wide range of experiences and projects.”
The mentorship and self-reflection in the Compass program make it possible for consultants to challenge themselves.
“Compass allows you to try new things and stretch yourself,” Yanan says. “For example, if you’ve never done an audit before and want to experience that, the Compass team will find a situation where you can learn.”
In her three years as a Compass consultant, Yanan worked with companies of all sizes and industries: software, electric vehicles, food products, banking, insurance, and more.
“That’s the beauty of Compass,” Yanan says. “I’ve gained the confidence and experience that equip me to basically do anything in the finance and accounting world.”
Consulting work offers clarity and flexibility
This confidence boost allowed Yanan to transition from Salo Compass into Salo Expert™ consultant work, which she considers ideal for her life.
“With every new engagement, I get to start fresh,” she says. “With a full-time job, even when you take time off, you’re going to return to a full inbox. With consulting, I get to take time off between projects, and start with a totally refreshed, clear mind. I don’t have to worry: ‘what did I miss?’ I can just start brand new.”
Flexibility is also key.
“When I worked full-time, work-related things were always on my mind,” Yanan says. “But now, I am able to set my hours and pace.”
Thirty-two hours per week, a commute that’s no longer than 30 minutes, and a 4-day workweek—these are all possible with Salo.
“At Salo, the business development directors (BDDs) check in with you; they are very involved and supportive,” Yanan says. “They know what type of work you like, what arrangements you prefer. They listen to you and are very accommodating.”
The BDDs also know what type of work Yanan likes best. They present her with options they believe will be a good fit for her.
“I like challenges, and solving problems,” she says. “It ties back to having a clear mind. I like to tackle something and then move on. Some people like to maintain systems. But that’s not what I’m enthusiastic about. I want to work toward something, complete it, and move on.”
The variety of projects and situations consulting offers is also important to Yanan.
“I’ve done projects for small and big companies,” she says. “Big companies are more structured: they give you tasks, and you complete them, with a team of others. Smaller companies usually mean you’re on your own. But you get to learn so much, and you’re so empowered.”
Yanan likes the contrast in both experiences. She tries to select opportunities based on what’s happening in her family life.
“If my family and kids need relatively more attention for a period of time, I try to go with big companies, which provide me more structure and support,” she says. “If I have more capacity, I can go with a smaller one, which is usually more demanding. I can be in either mode, but I don’t have to be there long-term.”
Focusing on what matters most
With a clearer balance between work and life, Yanan feels able to be properly attentive to other parts of her life she enjoys: yoga, dance, planning family events and vacations.
“I feel a lot of clarity now,” she says. “I’m able to be more in the moment with my kids, too. They’re at the age where it’s important for my mind to be there in our conversations. To ask them what happened at school, what their friends are doing, who they ate lunch with, who they played with. It’s so important to keep it all sorted in your mind.”
Yanan knows that consulting is her true path. But she recognizes that many people have hesitations about moving away from permanent full-time work.
“When I first left my full-time job, I was afraid to step into another permanent role. I thought, ‘What if I don’t like it?’ By doing consulting, if I don’t like it at any point, I can always go back to a full-time role. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and have gained valuable experience and skills. I’d encourage others to try consulting. If you’re not afraid of stepping into a permanent role, you should not be afraid to try consulting at all.”
Did this story spark your curiosity?
Are you looking to step out of public accounting and want to learn more about the Compass program? You can learn more or connect with the Compass team today.