James Gellas


“They say the average person changes careers seven times in their life,” he says. “I never expected that, in the middle of my 20s, I’d have made a career change already, from accounting to human resources. Now, as I look to change careers again, and go into investment banking, I’m finding that my accounting background and CPA license is well respected and continues to open doors for me.”

The power of the CPA license is not lost on Gellas, who started his own recruiting firm a year ago in Los Angeles in response to the huge demand for accounting professionals in the marketplace. “I serve as a high-level matchmaker between candidates who are looking for the right opportunity and companies that are looking for qualified accountants,” he explains.

His early work as a CPA introduced him to all sorts of people and gave him insight into various businesses—and that’s what appealed to him most.

“My clients ranged from a one-man shop, exporting beef out of the basement of his house, up to a multibillion-

dollar international company,” he says. “Depending on the size of the company you’re working with, you really get the chance to see things from a different perspective. I was helping one guy essentially run his entire business; whereas, for the larger companies, I’m there more as an adviser and helping prepare financial statements.”

Gellas comes away from each job with experience and working knowledge of almost every aspect of a business, big and small. This firsthand insight exponentially expands his career possibilities.

“I emphatically recommend becoming a CPA,” he says. “It sets a great foundation for a future in business, even if you decide you ultimately don’t want to go into accounting. It’s a dynamic profession—more so than people think. People still have this impression of bean counters and the green eyeshades, but it’s not like that at all. There’s no question that

earning the CPA was challenging, time consuming and costly. However, I can confidently say that already it has paid for itself several times over.”