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Accounting Career Conundrums: Would Be Wintern In Urgent Need of Advice, a Proofreader

This message came in with the subject line “Offers received – URGENT.” Never fear. The GC team is here to drop everything else we are doing so we can provide this budding accountant immediate support. [Ed. note: Amber is nicer than I am. This is a lie. We are not on call for your personal issues nor do we care to turn around your urgent pleas for help overnight. However, Amber was nice enough this time to help on this urgent matter.]

Hi I have received two offers from BIG 4. One firm said you can start FT in Sept 2014. Another BIG 4 firm said you can Intern with us from Jan to March (Winter Internship). The FT firm said they would “prefer” that I don’t do that has offered an Internship for the winter as well but does not have nearly as competitively. I would prefer to the Winternship elsewhere, then come back in Sept 2014 FT as discussed.

Is this okay? Or if you Intern at one BIG 4 then you are unable to start elsewhere. It’s not in my contract, everything is at-will – it will just be “complicated” as the recruiter said. Would this be okay? I don’t want to lose my FT. Please help me! Thank you so much!

Best, [redact]

Dear Stressed Student,

First and foremost, congratulations on receiving two Big 4 offers. You done made us proud!

I am going to be frank: the writing in your request is on the borderline of awful. I know, I know. I make complaints about writing often. But I can’t help but point to it as I sit here and pontificate about careers in accounting.

Behind every complaint is a request. My request to you, and anyone considering a note to GC seeking out career advice, is that you take the time to proofread your work. In this case, your request needs to make sense for me to be able to provide a meaningful answer. I had to read your request four, five, six times and rewrote my response because my initial interpretation of your situation changed. In other words, you wasted my time. This shit will drive your future colleagues crazy. Time is money and CPAs aren’t down with you wasting either their time nor their money. Climbing down from my soapbox now….

From what I can piece together, you have two offers. A FT offer that will commence September 2014 and another offer for a winter internship that pays more and will take place this January to March.

News flash here, kids: Internships, for the most part, are recruiting tools. In fact, the firms won’t make much, if any, money off your services until about the second year of your career. It takes a lot of money and time to train you. Can you see the theme here?

That being said, my recommendation is for you stop wasting resources and commit to only one firm. It is not cool for you to date one Big 4 firm this winter and commit to be in a relationship with another firm starting next fall. Doing so evokes the Facebook relationship status of “It’s complicated”, which is the exact same thing a recruiter told you.

If you heed my advice, what’s next is for you to choose the right firm. It sounds like the firm offering the internship is more appealing to you. I recommend you investigate if their internship will parlay into a FT role or not. Often times they do. The risk, as you noted, is that you may jeopardize a FT offer. So if it is probable you will get a FT offer from the internship and you are confident you can show your stuff from January to March, then I say go for the firm you really want.

Honestly, I tell all candidates to go for the firm they really want. You are going to spend more time at work than with your family and friends. It is important that you enjoy how you spend your time or you are able to see a direct correlation between a short-term sacrifice and a long-term benefit.


Judg(ment) Judy