The main difference in culture is based on whom the accountant is serving.
- Public accountants serve different clients. Therefore, the focus is on the external client which usually means long hours and business professional dress code.
- Private accountants work for one client: their employer. Therefore, the focus is on business decisions that affect company growth. Depending on the company, the atmosphere tends to be more relaxed in comparison to public firms. Instead of long hours being the norm, they typically occur during certain seasons like month-end close, year-end close, tax deadlines, budget season, etc.
- Governmental accountants serve those subject to regulation. Government environments are usually the most relaxed environment in comparison to public firms and private companies.