September 21, 2021

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Let’s Review: Deloitte Demotivation, Denim, Bad Managers

Since our friends out east are already battening down the hatches for snowmaggedon, let's kill this Friday afternoon pronto. If you want to get updates on this conversation, just hit the blue follow button below.

Accounting News Roundup: Deloitte Demotivation; Fearing a Niche; MLK Day | 01.18.16

Ed. note: We're observing Martin Luther King. Jr. Day so posting will be limited. If you see a story you want to discuss, feel free to post it in Open Items. Deloitte chief’s new year memo is a classic in demotivation [FT]We've noted before that Punit Renjen sometimes says ridiculous things. And then keeps saying […]

I’ve lost any and all motivation

Hi fellow bean counters, I'm a little frustrated and just need to rant and also ask a couple of questions. I've been in public accounting for four years and about to be in my fifth tax season. The firm I work for is a small regional, with two offices and about 50 employees. Our focus […]

Accounting News Roundup: Contingent Bonuses and Motivation; Apologizing for Embarrassing Emails; PowerPoint Karaoke | 03.19.15

Top Wall Street Lawyer Slams Regulatory Environment [WSJ]If you enjoy stuff like this: Rodgin Cohen believes the false notion of "regulatory capture" is causing all the problems between banks and the government. Why Leaders Lack Emotional Intelligence [Entrepreneur]For starters, they need to get some sleep. Apologize Quickly If You Send an Embarrassing Email [HBR]This should […]

What’s Your Motivation for Leaving a Mid-tier Accounting Firm for a Job with Big 4?

Contributor note: if you have a question for the Going Concern audience at large (including the useless dbags) or our team of accounting drop outs and degenerates, please get in touch.

Here’s a tip if you guys are thinking about submitting a question: it helps to know your motivation if you are asking for our advice. It’s difficult to tell you what you should do without knowing why you’re trying to do it, unless you’re asking us an obvious question like “should I take X position to make way more money?” because in that situation we obviously assume you’re in it for the money. There’s nothing wrong with that.

That said, this indentured servSo let’s commence to helping.

I’m currently working for a large mid-size firm as a Staff II and will become a Senior I next year on a relatively large public client. However, I’ve been debating whether or not I should follow up on opportunities to work at a Big 4 firm if it means I have to wait an additional 2 years to become a Senior I?

I know from my friends currently working in the Big 4 firm that new hires work for 3 years at the staff level before being promoted to Senior I. In addition, I may also slip one level from Staff II back to Staff I when I change firms. I’d essentially be 2 years behind my peers as a result of going to the Big 4 so I don’t know if making this switch would help or hurt my career. Is it really worth losing that much time in order to get the Big 4 name on my resume? Should I wait until next year in hopes that I could be recruited as a Staff III instead?

Surely I’m not the only one struggling with this decision, does anyone else have experience with this problem?

Thanks and Best Regards,
-Staff II(?) Auditor

Well, Would-Be Staff II, as you are probably already aware, the Big 4 item on your résumé is going to blow any of that mid-tier nonsense you’ve got going now out of the water (don’t get butthurt, mid-tier-ers. It’s not personal). The actual practical application of what you’re learning at a mid-tier firm versus what you might learn at the Big 4 is irrelevant here; it’s all about marketing yourself, and you’re better equipped to do that with bragging rights slapped all over your work experience. You’re pretty much only going to get those rights from the Big 4.

That isn’t to say you can’t gain valuable experience from your current employer, so it comes down to what you want to do career-wise and in what time frame you would like to accomplish it. Have you passed the CPA exam already? Are you itching to get out of public altogether? It’s pretty hard to try and push you in the right direction without knowing what that direction is. What do you want out of your career? Money? Prestige? Experience?

Why did you start mid-tier in the first place? Are you happy where you are? Do you enjoy the work and feel fulfilled? What is it you think Big 4 can offer that you aren’t getting at your current firm?

If I were you, I would wait it out, gain additional experience, keep those Big 4 contacts and try to make the jump when you have a little more leverage. The more secure you get in your skill set, the better equipped you’ll be to leverage that experience into a more ideal gig with a Big 4 instead of starting at bottom a level above the clueless interns.

I would also have a candid conversation with whomever you’ve been speaking to at the Big 4 about your concerns. Don’t come off as a money-grubbing, work-averse dick but definitely express an interest in being involved with work on par with what you’ve been doing with your firm, not taking a step back. Feel free to embellish whatever paperwork you’ve been assembling up until this point into a full-blown PCAOB-compliant masterpiece.

I’m sure any number of mid-tier grunts who read this site religiously can talk you out of making the jump, and for good reason, while others will tell you to jump now and worry about how quick you ascend the Big 4 ladder later. A smaller firm allows you a better chance at truly learning your trade instead of simply going through the motions and checking boxes; think of mid-tier as stripping at the pole as opposed to mopping up the floors. You probably won’t put stripping at the pole on your resume but you’ll be gaining practical experience you can segue into a better opportunity.

I’m not clear on the opportunity you’re after here. Can you clarify?

Former Big 4 Employee Has Some Thoughts on the Motivation Behind Becoming a Partner

For many of you in public accounting, the idea of becoming a partner in your firm is either a career aspiration or a thought that borders on lunacy. A few might fall in between those two spectrums but if you ask most people, they’ve got a pretty definitive answer on the “do you want to be a partner?” question.

Awhile back we received a message from a former Big 4 rank and file who had some thoughts on the matter:

When you enter Big 4 as an associate, the assumed goal is to make Partner. This seemed like a great goal at first, kind of like making it to the 12th grade in high school, or getting a degree (or two) from a good college. Or maybe even being voted in as the President of your sorority or fraternity. Take your pick. It’s the culminatied work, dedication, a little luck and a dash of favoritism from the Powers on High. However, the more I worked in B4, and the more I saw the “pyramid” continue to rear its ugly shape, I became appalled that anyone could WANT to be Partner.


We’ll just briefly chime in here to say that equating high school graduation to making partner is a bit of stretch (and we let a lot of things go). We know lots of people that graduated high school that could barely operate velcro sneakers.

Back to the rant:

The obvious reasons why someone would want to make Partner? Money, fame, money, power, money. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty much just for the money. But at the cost of what? More often than not: a tough family life (perhaps divorced, an affair or five, missed family dinners), working on the weekends, hardly seeing your kids due to work (e.g. weekend working, wining and dining clients, etc), and – the part that disturbed me the most – the fact that you are making your money from the “blood, sweat, and tears” of the miserable little minions working til all hours of the day and night for YOUR profit. I honestly don’t think that I could ever, in good conscious, become a partner, knowing the levels of stress I (directly or indirectly) put on my little “worker bees.”

Okay, time to jump in – to insinuate that partners (and aspiring partners) are simply motivated by money is silly. For starters, most partners will never pull down the salaries that the Jim Turleys and T Fly of the world are pulling down. Secondly, there are plenty of people working in public accounting – believe it or not – that really enjoy the auditing/tax/advisory work they do. If this is something an individual is aspiring to do long-term, having some skin in the game (“your profit”) is a worthwhile goal.

As for as personal lives go – more than 50% of human beings that get married end up getting divorced, so that’s weak and most partners (at least in our experience ) are not the lady-killer/man-eaters that you describe.

Continuing on:

Perhaps it is this mentality alone that makes me wholly unfit to ever be a partner or even a C-suite bigwig. Perhaps being a female I see the dog-eat-dog corporate world at a level that is far too emotional and compassionate.

But then again, who knows? Perhaps, hypothetically, by the time I finished the long uphill journey to Partner, clawing my way to the top, I would be so engrossed by the money and power that I wouldn’t have the time or space in my thoughts to think of the “little people” that were making my money-making factory churn. I would be immune to their complaints, responding with, “Stop your whining. We’ve ALL been there before. Just keep putting in your time, and everything will turn out okay.”

“Engrossed by money and power”? Now we’re getting ridiculous. This is public accounting, not an über-competitive hedge fund or the hallowed walls of the U.S. Capitol.

Once you make partner, the struggle is just beginning. Being at the top of the totem pole for an individual team might seem like a powerful spot but it’s anything but. The politics reach a whole new level when you make partner that most of us can’t even imagine. So, while you may think that partners consider staff and managers “little people” many of them probably feel like little people as well. Plus, they have significant (and sometimes grossly unrealistic) expectations placed on them, so any pressure you’re feeling, they’re likely feeling it as well.

Partners are still human and they have to make hard decisions that affect people directly and most of them are consciously aware of this. How each of them handles that responsibility is obviously different but you make them sound like soulless robots and that’s simply not the case.

So what’s the motivation, partners? If our reader is right, then proceed to tell us your stories of fame and fortune (yachts, trips to Monaco, et al.). But if you want to set the record straight then we invite you to level with the haters out there.

Earlier:
The Partner Track: Open Thread

Deloitte Has Stepped Up the Motivational Techniques to Include PowerPoint, Gift Cards

Yesterday we shared with you some motivational words of wisdom from Deloitte. Today the firm is stepping it up a notch, not just offering words, but a PowerPoint presentation informing the troops about Winter 2010 C.P.R. (Cash, Prizes, & Rewards). The long/short is that Green-Dotters will be eligible to win gift cards starting tomorrow, once in February, once in March, and a grand prize on March 31st.
While we’re impressed with this particular method of distraction/motivation, the best part is that there is a key slide that includes an admission that they know, that you know, that your life is temporarily over:
Picture 3.png
Whether your slim chances of winning one of these gift cards is worth A) your skin not seeing a ray of sun for three months B) not having any semblance of a social life or C) your significant other screaming “That’s it! It’s so over! You can sleep at the f—ing office if you like being there so much!” has to be determined by you and you alone.
CPR 2010.ppsx

Our Speculation About the Motivation Behind Deloitte’s Most Recent Survey

heelys.jpgBig accounting firms like doing surveys. We’ve often thought about the motivation behind the constant surveys and further wonder if firms ever josh the numbers around out of a personal vendetta against its rivals, enemies, former clients, etc.
Deloitte’s survey that states that American consumers are planning on spending less this back-to-school season causes us to speculate as to why the Big D would do such a survey? It’s a nice little press release we suppose. Shows that the firm is plugged into the current state of the economy, etc., etc. But then we got to thinking about how Heelys, the obnoxious shoes with wheels, recently dumped Deloitte because their fees were too high in favor of Grant Thornton.
Far be it from us to speculate about the temperament of a Big 4 accounting firm when it has business swiped away by a second-tier firm but isn’t it possible that Deloitte is bitter about the whole sitch? Isn’t it possible that Deloitte is merely putting out this survey as a way to scare consumers out of spending money on back-to-school junk like Heelys?
Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Spend Less, Save More [Bloomberg]

Tax Manager, Global Tax Reporting

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Tax Korean Business Network (KBN) Associate – Winter 2022

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USA – Tax – ITTS – Transaction Tax Advisory – JD/LLM Staff 2 – Summer/Fall 2021

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USA – Tax – ITTS – Transaction Tax Advisory – JD/LLM Staff 2 – Summer/Fall 2022

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Tax Seasonal Intern – Winter 2022

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Public Accounting Firms Don’t Need to Increase Salaries to Retain Staff Says Guy Who Obviously Never Worked In Public Accounting

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Apply Now Job Title: Tax JD/LLM Intern – Summer 2022 Location: Washington, DC Hiring Company: PWC Time Type: Full-timeTravel Requirements: Up to 20%A career within Corporate Tax services, will provide you with the opportunity to help our clients meet their tax obligations while managing the impact tax has on their business. You’ll advise clients on […]

Merger & Acquisition Tax JD/LLM Intern – Summer 2022

Apply Now Job Title: Merger & Acquisition Tax JD/LLM Intern – Summer 2022 Location: Washington, DC Hiring Company: PWC Time Type: Full-timeTravel Requirements: Up to 20%A career in our Merger and Acquisition Tax practice, within Tax services, will provide you with the opportunity to help our clients meet and manage their tax obligations across unique […]

Tax Associate – Summer/Fall 2022

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Associate – Summer/Fall 2022 Location: Phoenix, AZ Hiring Company: PWC Time Type: Full-timeTravel Requirements: Up to 20%A career within Corporate Tax services, will provide you with the opportunity to help our clients meet their tax obligations while managing the impact tax has on their business. You’ll advise clients on their […]

Wealth Management Tax Services Seasonal Intern – Winter 2022

Apply Now Job Title: Wealth Management Tax Services Seasonal Intern – Winter 2022 Location: Phoenix, AZ Hiring Company: PWC Time Type: Full-timeTravel Requirements: Up to 20%A career in our Wealth Management Tax Services (WMTS) practice, a national practice in our overall PwC tax practice, will provide you an opportunity to work with the largest and […]

Tax Japanese Business Network (JBN) Intern – Summer 2022

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Japanese Business Network (JBN) Intern – Summer 2022 Location: New York, NY Hiring Company: PWC Time Type: Full-timeTravel Requirements: Up to 20%A career within Private Company services, will provide the opportunity to help private companies with a range of business advisory needs such as audit, tax compliance, and planning to […]

Call Center Supervisor (Tax Knowledge Required)

Apply Now Job Title: Call Center Supervisor (Tax Knowledge Required) Location: Melbourne, FL Hiring Company: OneMCI TAX EXPERT SUPERVISOR   Looking to work for a fast growing company? Start your career here at MCI.   If you are a highly motivated individual and posess excellent communication skills, we need your help in managing tax customer […]

Fall Intern, Tax

Apply Now Job Title: Fall Intern, Tax Location: Denver, CO Hiring Company: Frontier Airlines What Will You Be Doing? The Tax Intern will assist Frontier’s Tax team with indirect and direct tax compliance obligations. The Intern will also assist with tax research and with monthly-end, quarter-end and year-end closings. Essential Functions * Compilation of information […]

Tax Associate (Venture Capital niche) (46350)

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Associate (Venture Capital niche) (46350) Location: San Mateo, CA Hiring Company: Sensiba San Filippo LLP With over 40 years of experience Sensiba San Filippo LLP (SSF) believes in providing our clients with more than just a tax strategy or compliance report. At SSF we use our professional and personal skills […]

This LinkedIn Influencer Parody Video Is Pretty Accurate

Because we all could use some #MondayMotivation. @pashagrozdov you wouldn’t believe who interviewed me 😭🙌 #linkedin #comedy creds: @milligram96 ❤️ ♬ original sound – Pasha Grozdov

Associate/Sr. Associate Tax R&D

Apply Now Job Title: Associate/Sr. Associate Tax R&D Location: Washington, DC Hiring Company: Alvarez & Marsal Associate/Sr. Associate – Tax Research & Development A&M’s R&D team works with clients on tax engagements which require a team of specialists with deep tax technical knowledge and experience in key federal tax areas. We help companies identify permanent […]

Tax Insurance

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Insurance Location: Ghent, NY Hiring Company: VOLVO CAR FINANCE LIMITED It’s not about cars. It’s about people. The human-centric focus of Volvo Cars is what makes us different from all other car companies, and it’s at the heart of everything we create. If you want to join us in our […]

Work Opportunity Tax Credit Specialist

Apply Now Job Title: Work Opportunity Tax Credit Specialist Location: Oklahoma City, OK Hiring Company: Paycom Software, Inc. Job Details Level: Entry Job Location: Oklahoma City Office – Oklahoma City, OK Position Type: Full Time Education Level: High School/GED Salary Range: Undisclosed Job Category: Client Setup & Service Description Tax Credit Specialists support both our […]

Individual Tax and Trust Reviewer

Apply Now Job Title: Individual Tax and Trust Reviewer Location: Melville, NY Hiring Company: Wagner & Zwerman LLP Wagner & Zwerman LLP is a dynamic, mid-size public accounting firm located in Melville, Long Island and due to our firm’s continuous growth, we are looking for a full-time staff to prepare complex individual and trust tax […]

Tax Senior Associate, TAS

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Senior Associate, TAS Location: Philadelphia, PA Hiring Company: BDO Job Summary At BDO, we believe our Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) practice offers the potential for career advancement in an environment that emphasizes talent retention. BDO’s TAS leadership prioritizes each team member’s professional and personal development. By choosing BDO, you are […]

Tax Accountant, CPA

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Accountant, CPA Location: Los Angeles, CA Hiring Company: Casbon & Associates LLC Opportunity for Tax Accountant, CPA for an established Business Management firm in Encino. Offering a great career path, work/life balance. We are also looking for our West LA location. Job Summary Excellent opportunity for a seasoned Tax Accountant […]

Friday Footnotes: You Deserve a Raise; Data Literacy; IRS Wants Your Body | 5.21.21

How to ask for a raise when the pandemic nears its end [Journal of Accountancy] With a growing portion of the population in the United States and some other countries vaccinated and at least some aspects of life set to return to normal, you may feel it’s time to raise the question of compensation with […]

Which Big 4 Firm Had the Most 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Winners?

On May 5 the AICPA announced that of the 75,000 brave souls who sat for the CPA exam in 2020, 89 of those managed not only to pass each part on their first try but also scored a cumulative score of at least 95.50 which is necessary to qualify for the esteemed Elijah Watt Sells […]

Here’s Your Open Thread For the Fifth CPA Exam Score Release of 2021

We’re seven and a half months away from Christmas but that didn’t stop the benevolent overlords of the CPA exam from gifting candidates with an early score release this week. Scores were due today according to the AICPA score release schedule. #CPAExam candidates! Waiting for your score(s)? They will be released tonight at 7 p.m. […]

Tax Consultant

Apply Now Job Title: Tax Consultant Location: Tulsa, OK Hiring Company: Creative Financial Staffing Tax Consultant Opportunity Are you frustrated with having to wait on promotions and getting direct exposure to clients / senior managers who can share their knowledge and shape your career trajectory? Are you ready to make a move to a more […]

How Are Auditors Handling the Start of Busy Season?

How’s everyone surviving their first Monday of the new year so far? Today is a double whammy for our auditor friends. Not only is it the first official workday of 2021 after holiday break but it’s also the start of the grueling marathon that is busy season. I went on Twitter to see how auditors […]

Why You Should Just Read the Chapter Already

I had a dream the other night that I was back in managerial accounting. A few of my classmates back then would call it a nightmare. It was second semester of my sophomore year and somehow this general business course was harder than the first intermediate accounting that I was also taking at the time. […]

Man With Massive Cojones Goes on Record as a CPA Living With Mental Illness

Have you seen the cover of the February 2020 Journal of Accountancy? Just in case you don’t feel like digging it out of the mailbox (or out from the bottom of the birdcage), here you go. Not only did the JofA choose to do an article about this important topic, but they also went all […]

Another Grant Thornton U.K. Audit Was a Total Disaster

So say the folks at the Financial Reporting Council in the U.K., which fined Grant Thornton £650,000 earlier today for crapping up the audit of a publicly listed company in 2016. The name of the company wasn’t released by the FRC, which is bogus, and neither was the name of the engagement partner at GT […]

Attn Minority Accounting Students: The AICPA Wants to Send You to a Leadership Conference (Free!)

Setting aside the snark for a moment to let you younguns know about an opportunity specifically for minority accounting students interested in attending the AICPA Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop, which is going down May 13-15, 2020 in fabulous New Orleans. The AICPA Foundation is covering the entire experience including the cost of student attendees’ transportation […]

This Accounting Student Is So Desperate For an Internship He’s Hitting Tinder to Find One

OK look, I’m old and spent my entire 30s in the same relationship so I don’t know a thing about Tinder other than what I’ve heard from friends and seen posted in meme form. There’s swiping involved, I know that. Man, you kids don’t know how good you have it. Back in my day, we […]

Friday Footnotes: Accounting For Robots; KPMG Partners Get Bitten; EY Law Gets Cred | 10.18.19

Art of Accounting: Lessening compression oppression [Accounting Today] A big problem for almost every accounting practice is the tax season workload compression. It is what it is, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some suggestions on how to pull work out of tax season and push it into November and December to better […]

Did Bands Play When KPMG U.K. Asked Employees to Hand Over Their Work Phones?

After Tabby Kinder of the Financial Times broke the story on Sept. 30 about KPMG U.K. taking back all the mobile phones that it had issued to hundreds of employees to cut costs, she shared a text on Twitter she got from an accountant that I found humorous because the accountant found the topic of […]

Leslie Seidman Wants Everyone to Know That GE’s Financials Are A-OK

Remember Leslie Seidman, the former chairman of the FASB? Well, she is now, among other things, a member of General Electric’s board of directors and chairman of its audit committee. She made an appearance on CNBC on Aug. 15 to comment on the report from Madoff whistleblower and forensic accountant Harry Markopolos that accuses GE […]

Which KPMG Scandal Is Worse: PCAOB ‘Steal the Exam’ or CPE Training Exam Cheating?

Since Monday when the SEC announced it had fined KPMG $50 million for not one but two scandals involving auditor misconduct at the firm, I’ve been thinking about which scandal is worse. Is it KPMG audit partners stealing confidential information from rogue PCAOB employees in order to better the firm’s audit inspection scores OR is […]

Young woman studying

The Definitive Guide to Choosing a CPA Review Course

I’ve been writing about the CPA exam for, yeesh, it’ll be 12 years this summer. TWELVE YEARS. I wish I could say that’s like half my life, but I’m old now so it’s more like a third of it, which is still a pretty sizable chunk of it, all things considered. In that time, I’ve […]

Going Concern March Madness: Ultimate Tech Showdown

Once upon a time, our former dear leader Caleb — who is not exactly known as the pinnacle of red-blooded, sports-loving American male — got the bright idea to gift the accounting profession with its very own March Madness competition. Although it was wildly popular those first two years, it also ended in embarrassment for […]

Failed CPA exam

Here’s Your Open Thread for the Final CPA Exam Score Release of Q1 2019

Congratulations, kiddos, you made it through the first quarter. I’m sure there were many victories, failures, and breakdowns along the way but so goes the ballad of CPA exam domination. March 19 marks the 1/4-way point for CPA exam scores this year. As we round the bend into the second quarter, I’d like to remind […]

The Good News Is Robots Won’t Take Your Job, the Bad News Is When They Do They’ll Be Like Interns

We’ve been talking about robots taking your jobs for years now, always coming to the same conclusion that AI won’t make skilled CPAs, auditors, and other higher-level accounting professionals redundant. Phil the bookkeeper who has been doing taxes out of a beauty salon backroom in a podunk strip mall may not be so lucky, but […]

convince boss work home accounting

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Ditch the Accounting Office and Work From Home

It’s OK to admit it–you want to work from home. But if your boss forbids it or limits your remote work time, what’s an accountant to do? If you’re lucky, you work for an employer that embraces remote work and flexible work-from-home policies. If you’re tragically unlucky, your company is resisting the remote trend and forbidding […]

university controllers

How Two CPAs Ended Up Back in College As University Controllers

Robert Kuehler and Alan West have a few things in common: both are CPAs, both started their careers in public accounting, both have accounting degrees, and both went back to college—not as a student or professor but as a state university controller. As associate vice president/university controller at the University of Colorado, Kuehler oversees a […]

controllers no cpa

No CPA, No Problem: Why Some Controllers Opted for Other Professional Credentials

Joel Konts was told over and over again during college that if he didn’t sit for the CPA exam and work for a public accounting firm after he graduated, he wouldn’t have the best of luck making a career in accounting. “I also knew that if I didn’t go for my master’s degree right after […]

voluntold accounting firms

Beware of Public Accounting’s ‘Voluntold’ Assignments

Employment-at-will. It’s a lovely sentiment; if you don’t like it, quit. Easy. But, all jobs require you to do things that aren’t your cup of tea. Once you sign an offer letter at your accounting firm of choice, your schedule will be decided months in advance by the scheduling overlords (i.e., whichever unlucky partner or […]