Oh dear, have we taken the Big 3 joke a little too far?

I just received my internship offers (audit), one from each of the Big 4. The office culture I like the most and felt I had the most connection with is KPMG. However, I know KPMG’s reputation as the “worst of the big 4”. I don’t want to stay in public accounting forever and want the firm name on my resume to say something when I am looking for jobs in the future. Since I have other options, am I dumb to turn them down? Deloitte has offered the most money, but I don’t want to chase money, I want to go somewhere I’ll actually like. I just don’t want people to look down on my choice, or have to deal with crappy audit software and be miserable.

Well congratulations on a grip of offers; for someone in a predicament, it’s a pretty nice predicament to be in. That being said, I think your best bet is going to be to ignore the complaints (there are plenty, and not just about KPMG) and listen to your gut.

Who told you KPMG is the worst of the Big 4? I really hope you’re not going solely on what has been said here on Going Concern, because it’s fair to say we get trolled pretty heavily by competing firms (and by firms I mean PwC) trying to start a who has the biggest dick contest on the Internet. For as much as we joke about how KPMG isn’t really a Big 4 firm, for all intents and purposes they are. Hey, our own downward-dog-facing, veggie-eating public accounting refugee Caleb came from there, so they can’t be that bad. OK, maybe he’s a bad example of what good comes out of the firm. Forget I mentioned it.

Yes eAudit sucks according to those doomed to use it but are you really getting into this line of work for the cool, totally functional software?

Who are you worried about looking down on you? It’s KPMG, not GT (I kid, GTers). For real though, it’s KPMG, not Johnson and Johnson, CPAs in some guy’s basement. You’ll still be getting the Big 4 experience and exposure to large clients that you’re after. KPMG’s reputation is mostly an inside joke, it’s highly unlikely that someone in private industry looking at your resume is going to exclaim loudly that you’re some kind of loser for spending your internship with them. Seriously.

What I would suggest to you is to keep in touch with your points of contact at the other firms just in case and take the KPMG gig. If your heart is telling you KPMG is the one and you don’t have any real evidence proving otherwise, it’s worth a shot. If it doesn’t work out, having those contacts at the other firms will come in handy – and even if you stick around at KPMG for awhile, you can expect the poachers to reach out later anyway. Point being, let everyone down softly but keep those doors open in case you need to GTFO through them later.

You are not dumb for turning down other options if you feel your choice is the best. You are, however, dumb for not taking an opportunity that excites you just because some people have said some not so nice things about it.