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Accounting News Roundup: Leaving Public Accounting and Padded Résumés | 06.07.16

Leaving public accounting

Why do people leave public accounting? Ed Mendlowitz touched this topic, noting two major reasons:

  • Without a doubt the major reason is work/life balance. People feel they cannot have a reasonable work/life balance in public accounting and look to private industry for a better combination.
  • Another major culprit is tax season hours. Many CPA firms have untenable overtime requirements, with some firms requiring staff to work as much as 65 chargeable hours during a tax season that can start in the middle of January and run through April 15. This means no personal life or activities for a quarter of the year.

Firms should find the "People feel they cannot have a reasonable work/life balance" reason the most troublesome. This suggests that despite good pay and career prospects, the grinding culture of the accounting profession is just not worth the effort for most people. And despite many firms' best efforts to support work/life balance, they ultimately fail because old habits die hard.

Combine that with a multitude of career opportunities and people will find a job that suits them best outside the profession. Professional success isn't enough for most people these days. Everyone wants it all and accounting firms still don't understand how to give it to them, so lots of people leave.

Padded résumés

Remember Patrick Murphy? He's the former Deloitte auditor who's running to be the Democratice nominee for Marco Rubio's Senate seat. Murphy has been pushing his CPA credentials in this campaign, but Politico reports that he's been exaggerating those chops a bit:

Though he said he “spent several years” as a CPA for the firm, and his 2012 campaign website said he “joined the respected accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche as a CPA” after he graduated, he had his CPA license for about nine months while he worked for the firm at its Miami office, according to Murphy’s Colorado CPA licensure records and his LinkedIn profile.

Murphy worked at Deloitte from September 2007 to May 2010 but he technically wasn't a CPA that whole time. Plus, as you may have realized by now, Murphy worked the system in order to get his CPA:

Murphy did get his CPA license from Colorado in Sept. 2009 after passing the exam in Vermont. He left the firm in May 2010, and he renewed his license in 2015. Murphy did not meet the academic requirements to get licensed as a CPA in Florida, but did in Colorado at the time.

Those "academic requirements," of course, are the 150 credit hours. And speaking of academics, the Miami Herald reported that Murphy embellished his achievements at the University of Miami.

Murphy claimed to have earned “degrees in accounting and finance” from the University of Miami. He actually earned one bachelor’s degree from UM in 2006 in business administration with his major areas of study in accounting and finance.

Yes, state hopping to sit for the CPA is lame. Murphy's claim of "several years" experience as a CPA is a stretch at best. And claiming two degrees out of one is shady. Most of this is forgivable except when you're running for the US Senate. Still, RealClearPolitics shows Murphy leading his Democratic opponents by 9 points.

CPA, CMA, CITP, et al.

And now for some (mostly) legitimate (excessive) credentials:

Benjamin Mulling puts great stock in two three-letter acronyms that follow his name: CPA and CMA.

Mr. Mulling, chief financial officer of wheel maker Tente Casters Inc., is passionate about the CMA, which stands for certified management accountant. He is global board chairman of the organization that bestows that title.

The executive spends a total of 40 to 50 hours a year taking classes to maintain his credentials as both a CMA and certified public accountant.

“The CPA is what helped me get my job; the CMA is what helps me do my job,” he said.

Mulling is also a certified information technology professional, so that puts his letter count at 10. And if you're rolling your eyes, then you're not alone. Excess accreditation "can be humorous, but I wouldn’t hold it against somebody," says a guy.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about PwC US Chairman-elect Tim Ryan's dress to impress efforts. And in Open Items: Transition from IT Auditing/Attestation to Cyber.

In other news:

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Image: Patrick Murphy, official portrait, 114th Congress