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Recruiting Season: Looking for a Firm with “Longevity”; The Big 4 Toss-up; Opportunities Missed

Welcome to Rock the Recruitment Season. We'll be winding up the 2012 series very soon so if you still have a question about recruiting season, email us at [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line.

The recruitment season questions have slowed to a trickle, so you best get them in while you can, especially if you're still one of those undecided voters out there. When we've sufficiently exhausted the questions, we'll share the salary information we've compiled so that the public accounting veterans can start resenting their future subordinates. If you've received an offer, send us the good news with all juicy details. Now, to this week's letters.


So I have multiple offers, all from top 10 firms. The money is pretty much essentially the same, and I am not concerned about a small difference but what I am mainly concerned with is longevity and growth, but I am caught up in which firm to choose. My offers include McGladrey, BDO and CliftonLarsonAllen, all in the DC area. There are certain things that attract me to all 3 firms, so I am looking for some insight as to why I should choose a particular one. Each one has their positives and I am in a hard place deciding.

Not concerned about a small difference in money? Are you ill? Are you actually an accountant? 

"Longevity and growth" are pretty vague terms but that kinda sounds like you'd like to make a career at one firm that is going somewhere – ANYWHERE. There are signs that each of three firms you mentioned are making moves to position themselves as the best non-Big-4-non-Grant-Thornton firm out there, so we'll try to break those down for you.

McGladrey – McGladrey relocated its HQ to Chicago from Minneapolis back in July and announced that it would be adding 300-500 new employees in Chi-town alone. At the time, Mickey G CEO Joe Adams said, "Establishing our headquarters in a global business hub is an important step toward enhancing perceptions of McGladrey as a major firm and achieving our domestic and international growth goals." That sounds like a man with a plan (or a cleverly-worded quote from the PR bank). Whether you're part of that plan is another matter entirely, as the firm is consistently dogged by layoff rumors and bonuses usually go to golfers.   

BDO – Ordinarily, it'd be pretty easy to dismiss Bravo Delta Oscar but the firm made two acquisitions in the month of October and Wayne Berson seems to enjoy keeping people on their toes, so the chatter is that things are getting better there. Plus! The firm has traded its life-threatening Banco Espirito lawsuit for a much more manageable Joe Francis lawsuit. WIN!

CliftonLarsonAllen – It's been a year since Clifton Gunderson and LarsonAllen forever enjoined their accounting firm love for each other and by all accounts the honeymoon has a dream. Oh sure, there was a little issue that came up with the New Mexico Finance Authority. And yes, there is a connection to the alleged fraud in Dixon, Illinois but other than that things seem pretty great.

Since all these firms can claim ambitious future plans in their own way so the "longevity and growth" question isn't really answerable. It may be worth your while to consult the images you see in your toast or start getting hung up on the money like everyone else.   


Among the 3 Big 4 offers [in Charlotte] it is a toss up. PwC has the "Best Firm" factor. I really liked Deloitte's office and they had the most professional presentation. EY gives me the opportunity to work in the NYC office a few weeks a year and the people were great. From reading the site, I expected everyone would be miserable and unpleasant, but I am rather looking forward to starting a career in public accounting (call me naive). What are your, and the snide commenters', thoughts on my options?

If it's such a toss-up, I suggest basing your decision on which firm had the best pre-interview get-together refreshments. Anything less than a complete spread of chicken wings (with ranch and bleu cheese), mozzarella sticks, several pizzas, pretzels, and nachos with a plethora of toppings should result in an immediate disqualification. No one likes a cheapskate. From there, think about the people you met. If you can't imagine yourself having a halfway decent conversation with anyone on the subject of anything BUT work, then that firm is to be avoided. You're going to be spending lots of time with these people, it'd be a shame if they were boring. If you need further help from there you can always peruse our culture or college football team analysis. It sure beats asking your friends.


I am currently a junior in Accounting and plan to graduate in 4 years with 150 credits rather than stay 5 years. However, I screwed up this recruitment season for internships by being too picky and not open to all opportunities. Most accounting firms recruit in the fall but is there any chance they will be back during the Spring, specifically Big Four? My school is a target school for recruitment and they are having another business career fair this Spring for the first time. Also, if I end up not getting an internship this summer, should I stay an extra semester to try for internships again next Fall? Or is it better to stick with my four year plan and apply for full time jobs next fall knowing that I will not have internship experience. 
Sorry, Mr. Choosy, the Big 4 won't be back in the spring unless there's a Bubonic Plague outbreak that wipes out 75% of their recruits. Stick to your plan and do your best to land an internship between now and next fall.
Good luck, everyone.