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Here’s Some of the Loot Big 4 Firms Are Giving to Recruits (UPDATE) – Even More Stuff

Earlier this week, DWB put out an open call for accounting firm recruiting schwag. Pictures, comments, hell we’d even take your extras but none of you have bothered to email me to get my addy. Your lack of sharing ability will be forgiven but not forgotten, dear readers. Luckily, one recruit out of Toronto sent us a few images of the corporate treasures that Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC are tossing to those receiving offers. We’ve laid out the images on the following pages for your viewing pleasure and included our tipster’s thoughts on each.

Apparently this is how the E&Y stuff arrived. Someone needs to work on their bo”” rel=”attachment wp-att-49718″>

EY offer package – “Cheaply made luggage tag, ball point pen, and passport wallet. A bunch of junk.”

Signing package for EY – EY branded luggage and carry on.

KPMG Offer package – “Dr.Seuss’ Oh the places you’ll go (Party Edition, nonetheless). Neoprene logo computer bag.”

Signing package for KPMG – “No one has received it yet.” UPDATE: Apparently there is no signing package from KPMG, however our tipster did say that the computer bag “was the best pre-signing gift of the three firms, so maybe that’s KPMG didn’t give out anything else.” The House of Klynveld is also throwing a second signing party for the newbies, whereas E&Y and PwC are just throwing one.

Offer package for PwC (not pictured) Now on the following pages – “PwC – PwC branded cookies, $50 prepaid AMEX credit card, hand signed PwC card.”

Signing package for PwC – “Choice between two options. (1) Backpack, binder, coffee mug. (2) Gym bag, water bottle, umbrella.”

PwC Signing

This recruit told us that he’ll be accepting with PwC but didn’t elaborate on whether he was choosing the coffee cup or the umbrella but did say that PwC is coming on pretty strong to those receiving offers:

Another student who has offers from both EY and PwC received a call from the CEO of PwC to ask her to join PwC. Now I wish I hadn’t signed yet, so I could have talked to him.

Choose wisely, grasshoppers.

That cookies looks repulsive but our tipster says that “It’s soft and looks amazing.” Right.

Say Six Words About Work, Win an iPad (Serious)

Consulting, outsourcing and investment provider Mercer and SMITH Magazine have partnered to launch a new online contest called “Six Words About Work,” and plan to publish a book featuring the best contest submissions. By participating, you could win a fancy new toy!

The free contest, a new edition to SMITH’s Six-Word Memoir® series, is open to the general public and will be conducted in four phases beginning June 29 and ending in late August. Each two-week phase will feature one work-related submission topic for contest submissions. The contest topics include:

  • Why I do what I do
  • What inspires my very best work
  • The best boss I ever had
  • Biggest lesson I learned at work

The contest will be held in the US, UK and Canada. Participants will submit their Six-Word Memoirs via the SMITH website. Each country will have four winners, one for each phase of the contest, selected by a panel of judges. Winners will be chosen based on the submission’s creativity, quality and relevance to the topic. Winners will receive their choice of a new Apple iPad or BlackBerry® PlayBook™. Winners will be notified on or around September 1, 2011.
Complete rules are available at

You read that right: you can win an iPad (or PlayBook) by coming up with something clever. What could be easier?

The current challenge is to write six words about bosses (come on now, you guys can do this), of which “Evaluation conducted over vodka on ice.” is a definite front-runner. You have until August 13th to answer this one.

Get on it!

Conquering the CPA Exam, One Step at a Time

One of our favorite sources of CPA exam info, This Way to CPA, has put together a very helpful list of suggestions for candidates trying to conquer the CPA exam. Just a few of the tips (many of which we have shared with you here previously):

Know your strengths. Confidence is good, but so is honesty. Know where you’re good – and where you need to improve. From there, you can design a study plan that works harder for you.

Write out a plan. What are you going to study, how are you going to study, and when? Maybe it’s all in your head, but it can’t hurt to write it all out to make sure you stick to the plan.

Use the free stuff. You can spend a lot of money getting ready for the exam. Which is perfectly fine. But don’t overlook the totally free tutorials, sample exams and other tools provided by the AICPA. After all, we make the test.

Our favorite was “get a lucky charm or something,” which shows us that the AICPA is not above superstition. That probably should be taken as an admission that the exam is part crapshoot, part dedication but we’ll save postulating on that for another day.

For where to find the “free stuff,” check out our previous comments on the topic and get to clicking.

Head to This Way to CPA for the rest of the tips but remember that all candidates are not created equal. Some can do better with a study buddy or the support of like-minded individuals while others prefer to isolate and be miserable (or make others miserable with their miserableness).

Some of these tips may or may not apply to your personal needs, which can only be determined by you and not any CPA Review Swamis out there or random folk on the Internet who have never stared into your bitter little 10-key-pounding heart. So my first suggestion would be to look long and hard at your own personal needs before you go looking for ways to improve your experience and succeed.

Free CPA Exam Resources for Candidates from the AICPA

Note from AG: We know it’s busy season and the last thing you’re thinking about is the exam but just in case you’re one of the lucky ones who has nothing else to do but sit for BEC for the fourth time and have a question for us, get in touch. I’ll cover anything from how to prepare to what to do on test day but sorry, I am not available to take the exam for you.

If you are a CPA exam candidate and haven’t, at a minimum, tried a quick Google search to gather everything you need to know to conquer the exam, you probably deserve the 50 you’re going to get when you bomb research, do simulations wrong or blow off multiple choice because you don’t realize that the exam is on a plus point basis. But for those of you who have done your due diligence and are still feeling a bit lost, This Way to CPA has put together a decent list of items you must check out.

First, the CPA Candidate Bulletin. This handbook covers everything from scheduling to application and includes contact information for the state boards of accountancy so you know who to pester when your application takes 10 weeks. This is a good place to start and a must-read for anyone even considering taking the exam. Reading through this will help you put together a framework of what to expect when you start testing, and will help you ask better questions when you start looking for a review course or additional guidance.

Second, while the actual content of the CPA exam is proprietary and guarded closer than the gold bars that may or may not be in Fort Knox, the AICPA publishes a comprehensive list of topics covered, and also gives you an estimate of how many of those types of questions will appear on your exam. Check out the Content and Skill Specification Outlines, which have always been readily available on the AICPA’s website, for this information as well as a breakdown of skills tested in the CPA exam.

Third, while most review course software is good practice, since the exam is property of the AICPA, no review course is allowed to copy the exam environment exactly. That’s where the tutorial comes in. You can do 5 practice questions (including sims) for each section and familiarize yourself with the exact exam environment as it will look when you take it. This way you aren’t thrown by that weird pencil icon and can practice flagging the many multiple choice you will probably have to go back and guess on. The AICPA recommends all candidates use the tutorial before exam day, no exceptions.


(UPDATE) The Greatest Tax Day Tradition: (Rumored) Free Stuff!

It’s here people. April 15th. It’s great for a lot reasons: A) you (or your grateful significant other) get to say good bye to that nasty-ass beard B) you can get some rest and C) all around, your life ceases sucking (or sucking less). And along with marching against all things taxation (regardless of representation) it has become tradition for giveaways.

Buzz around the Internet for a nanosecond and you’d think the entire universe was being given away.

We already told you about the Blizzardmobile setting up shop in DC but for those of you not in the Nation’s Capital, here’s a quick rundown of some other freebies that me be closer to you:

Starbucks – Bring in a reusable cup and get free coffee.

Dunkin’ Donuts – Although we can’t find anything on their website, DD is known to give you a free donut with a purchase of the best (chain) coffee on Earth.

Subway – Again, rumor has it that Casa de Jared is handing out free cookies today. Nothing on the site, however.

PF Changs – If you didn’t get enough Chinese cuisine during busy season, head over to PFC’s to get 15% off your tab.

McDonalds – Once again, supposedly you can purchase a Big Mac and get a second for $0.01. If you aren’t able to handle two (we don’t recommend one but whatevs), just give it to a homeless person.

Boston Market – Buy one plate and get one free with this coupon.

If you’ve got news of more freebies, or just (rumored giveaways) let us know or discuss.

UPDATE: Looks at least one Subway is balking. From a Salzberg Soldier:

The Subway in Raleigh right outside of Deloitte has advertised buy-one get-one subs on tax day for the last week or so…but when we went in and ordered, they told us they had decided not to do it. They also mentioned that they took down the posters they had in the windows because “they didn’t make sense”. No bargains at Subway today.