Welcome to the Friday edition of “Accounting Career Couch” (aka “I’d like some advice from a Big 4 expat turned blogger and a bunch of bitter bean counters”). Today we hear from a prospective KPMG advisory associate who has a secure job but is also looking for a little payoff after going back to grad school. Is joining the House of Klynveld a smart move or the stupidest idea ever? [effect]

Unsatisfied with your career choices to date? Are you an old school type not sure what to make of the Millenials? Having second thoughts about thr this weekend? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll get you on the path to peace with subordinates or just getting a piece.

Returning to the career conundrum du jour:

Hi! I’ve started reading your blog because I’d accepted an entry level offer with KPMG that got deferred for a few years as I finished a graduate degree. I have an engineering background and went to work for Accenture after graduation. Left after a year and a half to get a graduate degree (in NO way related to technical consulting or accounting. Yes, the folly of youth and following a passion), during which time I began doing Business Analyst/SAP functional work for a state government agency (Child Support). I applied to KPMG because I felt like I tanked my career, and needed to get back into consulting to open my career options.This decision was driven mostly by the salary increase and not the work. I’m also risk averse, and don’t want to leave a secure job (in a rather boring city) to possibly get laid off in nine months.

So, my question is, do you think it is wise to take an IT advisory with KPMG? Do you think the economic climate would be productive? Am I taking a step back by starting again at entry level?


Between A Rock and KPMG

Dear Between,

Motivated by money, eh? Wow, you’re a rare case.

Look, like most people that write in, you list out everything that you want without prioritizing. “I want a good salary, work with smart, attractive people, job security and enjoy my work. Oh! And it would be really great if I could keep to 50 hours a week max. What do I do?” and that’s the first thing you need to do here. Somewhere in the back of your gray matter you’ve got to know that you’ll have to sacrifice something. Remember in the old days when winners on Wheel of Fortune had to spend all their cash winnings on the various material garbage? Did you ever see someone buy that ugly-ass Dalmatian first? Of course not. Figure out what you covet the most and let that lead your decision.

That being said, good money (relative term) and job security don’t usually correlate within a Big 4 firm. That is, if you want the big bucks, you work in Advisory Services. If you want job security, you work in audit or tax (although not even that is guaranteed).

In your case, you’re looking at a job in IT Advisory services. Will it pay well compared to what you’re doing? Yes. Will it open more doors for you down the road? You bet. If the demand in your market dries up in the next 9 to 12 months are your chances of getting let go good? Maybe. What you accomplish in that 9 to 12 months makes the difference. You have to ask yourself if the risk is worth it.

Here’s our advice friend – take the risk and go with KPMG. You went back to school to give yourself more options didn’t you? This is a pretty good one. You’ll get great experience, expand your professional network and if there’s plenty of work you may just have a decent career on your hands. Unless, of course, that doesn’t interest you.