“with every average – someone must be below average”

Yahoo! Exaggerates Accounting Degree’s Hotness

Check out Yahoo! on in-demand degrees, some of you might recognize #3:

Degree #3 – Bachelor’s in Accounting

The curriculum in this hot degree could prepare grads to pursue number-crunching accountant career opportunities. Courses generally cover basic accounting concepts, preparing financial statements, and research of real-life cases, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: The numbers don’t lie. The Department of Labor projects 22 percent growth in accounting careers between 2008 and 2018. Career opportunities can include everything from working for companies or individual clients, according to the Department, which notes that the averageccountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program

If you follow the link to “the right accounting program,” it will take you to an email form so you can be mailed great educational matches for you, apparently.

It appears Yahoo! ran almost the same accounting advertisement before, calling accounting the #2 career built to last, with an average salary earning potential of $67,430.

The BLS says this of accounting’s unusual makeup in its report (keep in mind it was published in May of 2009):

Although accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services employed a relatively small percentage of all bookkeeping clerks, this was the second largest occupation in the accounting services industry, representing about 11.4 percent of industry employment. (See table 6.) Accountants and auditors was by far the largest occupation in the industry, with 286,110 jobs making up about one-third of industry employment. Tax preparers was the third largest occupation in accounting services, with employment of 61,160. Most of the other large occupations in this industry were office and administrative support occupations.

In that same report, the median salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $33,800. Maybe I am reading the statistics wrong but knowing a career has “an average salary earning potential of $67,430” is not the same as hearing that the national average for that career is $33,800. Yes, where you live matters. Yes, your lifetime earning potential is influenced by lots of factors that make you notably non-average, like how hard you try, what skills you pick up along the way, how good you are at playing the game…

Anyway, here’s a snip from the report to see how it all pans out:

I still don’t see how those numbers work out to this being a reason those who are desperate to work should pile into this career option.

Yes, if you are a money-hungry, elite accounting program prick (I’m not berating you, in fact I’m in love with a lot of you, your ruthlessness is hot), you will probably come out of the gate making those $33,800 losers fetch your coffee but average is just that, average.

I find it sort of reckless on the part of Yahoo! to post numbers like this without the context of actual prospects in accounting and the caliber of individual needed to thrive in the sort of environment accounting provides. I say “caliber” with the most seriousness I can muster, I assure you.

Comp Watch ’10: KPMG Town Hall Results in More Questions Than Answers

After hearing that KPMG was following suit with a mid-year compensation surprise, we’ve now been tipped that any hope you had of seeing a little extra moolah has been crushed:

Last night was KPMG’s New York Office (NYO) townhall meeting. During this meeting, close to 2,000 NYO employees of the firm gathered in a hotel in Time Square to listen to a series of presentations from the CEO, COO and Office Managing Partner (OMP). During this four hour presentation, they covered an array of topics, including: compensation and benefits, technology, etc.

Depsite hearing that the firm will be allowing staff (associates and senior associates) have KPMG email access on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry phones, no further details were provided about what they will be paying for, if anything.

They also announced that they were keeping up with the average regarding compensation, but made it a point to mention that with every average, someone must be below the average, hinting that we were that someone. After finding out that there will be no mid-year bonsues or raises, some left the meeting rather disappointed… at least there was free booze and food (like any other normal KPMG event).

But wait! This sounded a little weird to us since our sources on the original story were solid, so we checked in with another source who told us the message was simply non-committal, “They didn’t really confirm/deny what was going to happen with the mid-year stuff.”

So all this “Yes? No? Maybe so,” probably isn’t so helpful but that’s where things appear to stand.

Back to our original tipster, who is now hearing talk of next fall’s associates receiving a boost in their starting salaries:

Later that evening, however, many of the recent hires (new associates in 2010) were beginning to hear that the 2011 new hires (for next year) were already receiveing salary adjustments (upwards into the $60,000’s), in addition to their already higher starting salaries and sign-on bonuses.

So my question is: Does KPMG plan on compensating the new associates (that started in 2010) that did not receive a sign-on bonus this year, or perhaps have any plans to bring their salary closer towards the industry average?

Starting salaries have been consistently rising over the years and with increased competition among the firms for the best recruits, you can expect that to continue. Whether that results in adjustments for KPMG’s latest class of new associates remains to be seen, since a mid-year surprise is still uncertain. We should say, however, expecting more money after being on the job for 2-3 months is a little presumptuous. We understand the frustration but, seriously? You can barely open Excel at this point.

As you hear more regarding the mid-year compensation (or lack thereof) email us with the scoop.