Putting Accounting Firms’ Quest to Dominate Magazine Lists into Perspective
We’ve hypothesized about accounting firms’ quest to dominate every magazine list on Earth. Admirable goal, no question but the motivation has escaped us.
Until now. We’ve been enlightened:
Going back to the dominating magazine lists – its a lot like the bald middle aged guy (Big 4 accounting firms) that buys a Corvette (magazine awards) to compensate for a lack of equipment size (crappy work environment) to attract the ladies (slaves).
That pretty much clears it up.
Interns – Where Are They Now That They Could Be Useful?
Editor’s note: This is the latest post from Daniel Braddock, your friendly Human Resources Professional. He could very well be considered a hypothetical love child of Suze Orman and Toby Flenderson. Following his varsity jacket wearing college days, he entered the consumer markets as an auditor for a Big 4 firm in New York City. He spent three brisk years as an auditor before taking the reins of stirring the HR kool-aid. He currently resides in Manhattan. Daily routines include coffee breakfasts and scotch dinners. You can follow him on Twitter @DWBraddock.
You might agree with the sentiment that now would be a fantastic time to have an extra set of hands ticking and tying through the night. Where are those lovable interns when you could actually put them to good use?
I’ll tell you where they are. They’re sitting in class or – depending when this is published – already at the bar for Tuesday’s dollar beer night. They’re getting their McStudy on, prepping for what promises to be one of the best summer internships in the job market today.
As Francine McKenna mentioned, the Big 4’s intern programs are regarded as some of the strongest. Why? It’s certainly not because the programs offer rigorous, reality-driven experiences. The bulk of interns experience your firms during the summer months; nothing like busy season. Many of you were interns yourselves, spending 8-12 weeks basking in the attractive glow of the 10-year partner track and abundance of work/life initiatives.
The fundamental purpose of an internship was – for a long time – a simple machine: offer students the ability to “test” a career in public accounting while providing H.R. with a fulltime hire “pre-screening” process. Programs have elaborated to the points of gross extreme (more about this on Thursday), but the general principle remains.
This is why I disagree with Francine’s comment that, “hiring more interns instead has big pitfalls, for both the employee and the firm.” Personally, I’d rather my firm hire its entire new fulltime class from the previous intern pool, and why the hell not? As light and fluffy as the experience is, the internship program can weed out the few incompetents that snuck through partner interviews. Of course, that’s assuming management gives half a damn and spends more than 1.7 seconds completing the H.R. performance reviews for each intern.
The root of the problem is that the “best” internship programs have lost touch with the core values of the past. Ten years ago interns were local students working part-time in order to save money for a car payment or next semester’s books. The experience was elementary but worthy nonetheless. Now, the current state of the Big 4’s programs are a product of keeping up with the Joneses. Summer months set the competitive stage for training sessions, mentorships, ball games and beers. Stir in a high paying salary (with the possibility for overtime!) and H.R. wonders where the Millennial Generation’s sense of entitlement originates. The Kool-aid is spiked with the fruits of privilege.
Don’t expect things to change anytime soon.
Accounting Firms Plan to Offer Less Internships in 2010
Back again for round two of the latest Big 4 domination of a BusinessWeek list.
The entire list with company profiles is now available but we’ve pulled some of the more interesting items for your enjoyment, after the jump.
Intern hiring planned for 2010 and interns hired for 2009:
• Deloitte: NA; 2,233
• KPMG: 1,700; 1,745
• Ernst & Young: 1,800; 1,971
• PwC: 2,175; 2,278
• Grant Thornton: 328; 388
&bull RSM McGladrey: 225; 330
Average Total Pay:
• Deloitte: $10,000
• KPMG: $10,900
• Ernst & Young: $9,585
• PwC: $9,848
• Grant Thornton: $11,716
&bull RSM McGladrey: NA – Average hourly wage was $21.33
Interns who received full-time offers:
• Deloitte: 73%
• KPMG: 90%
• Ernst & Young: 92%
• PwC: 89%
• Grant Thornton: 60%
&bull RSM McGladrey: 62%
Interns with offers who accepted:
• Deloitte: 82%
• KPMG: 93%
• Ernst & Young: 92%
• PwC: 93%
• Grant Thornton: 56%
&bull RSM McGladrey: 88%
We don’t know who’s responsible for auditing these numbers so take them for what they are. That being said, if they are indeed kosh, what is up with Grant Thornton’s numbers? With the exception of the average total pay, not too impressive, even when compared to the firm that sponsors Natalie Gulbis.
To add insult to injury, BW uses this picture which some people will be quick to point out is no longer part of GT’s Global Six campaign. Maybe the claim that the GT interns don’t get coffee is bunk?
For the Big 4, it looks like there will be fewer internships available in 2010, which reflects the slimmer hiring budget that has been discussed here. The good news is that unless you do something like arrange an awards ceremony that includes “Most Likely to be the Office Whore” using a work email, you’ll probably get a full-time offer. Discuss the stats and outlook for the menu/coffee gophers in the comments.
Earlier: Deloitte Tops BusinessWeek’s ‘Best Places to Intern’ List, KPMG Gets the Silver
Deloitte Tops BusinessWeek’s ‘Best Places to Intern’ List, KPMG Gets the Silver
All right Deloitte. What are you paying BusinessWeek? Seriously, you take the “Start Your Career” crown and now you’re just getting greedy with the arbitrary magazine list championships. You’re risking backlash if you continue to dominate:
Our ranking of the best U.S.companies for undergraduate internships highlights employers who have put together an outstanding experience for students. Accounting firm Deloitte tops our list, followed by rivals KPMG (No.2) and Ernst & Young (No.3).The last of the Big Four accounting companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, comes in at No.5, right behind consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.
This is getting ridiculous BW. Four out of the top five spots go to Big 4? Do they really have an unbreakable stranglehold on your list methodology?
To compile our list, we judged employers based on survey data from 60 career services directors around the country and a separate survey completed by each employer. We also consider how each employer fared in the annual Best Places to Launch a Career, our ranking of top U.S. entry-level employers released in September of each year.
So, the employer’s own surveys are judged and you consider a list previously issued by you? Unless we’ve been misled, those employer might not have gone so well. As for considering your own list to make a new list, does that mean that this is basically the same list but with a different name?
Putting the methodology hocus-pocus aside, we notice that while Deloitte took home the gold medal, KPMG got the big talk up for their global rotations:
Two years ago KPMG realized it had to make a substantial investment in its internship program if it hoped to woo top students from larger consulting and accounting firms. So the company decided to offer interns an opportunity to gain valuable overseas experience. KPMG lets student interns spend four weeks in the U.S. and four weeks abroad. “It’s extremely competitive [to recruit top students], and this is a differentiator,” says Blane Ruschak, executive director of campus recruiting at KPMG.
A chance to work overseas is precisely what appealed to Andrew Fedele, 21, an accounting and economics double major at Pennsylvania State University. “I was sold pretty much when I first read about [KPMG’s] global internship program.” He spent four weeks in Chicago and four weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa. “South Africa has just such an interesting history. To go there and live with the locals and work with them was really exciting.”
What did KPMG get in return? Exactly what it hoped: Fedele accepted a full-time job almost immediately after KPMG made its offer at the end of the summer.
The article does manage to point out that “KPMG…hired nearly 900 fewer entry-level employees this year. But 91% of those full-time hires were former interns, whereas only 71% of new hires in 2008 were interns.”
The trend of fewer non-interns getting hired on at Big 4 (in this case KPMG) firms was something that we touched on in August, although BW doesn’t bother mentioning that it’s most likely due to the slashing of the firm’s hiring budgets.
We can’t give this latest meaningless index any more thought. If you’ve got an opinion on the latest jumble of the Big 4 in a BW list, leave them in the comments.
Best Places to Intern [BBW]