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Hypothetical: Is Passing on a Promotion to Manager Because It Requires Relocation a Career Limiting Move?

Ed. Note: Have a question for the Going Concern career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

Dear GC,

I’ve been a reader of GC for a while. Thank you for the great advice you posted throughout the years!

Hypothetical situation: I’m a tax senior in a big public accounting firm. I’m doing well but I wasn’t promoted to manager this year because promotion requires that I relocate to another region and my family can’t move. In this situation, what can I do to help advance my career? Should I patiently toil for another few years until a spot opens up in my region? It seems like jumping into industry without a “manager” title will set me back significantly. Going to a competitor to get promoted also seems unlikely because I haven’t proven myself to the new employer. Would I literally be sacrificing my career for family in this case?

I am a young woman starting her career in tax in a public accounting firm. I saw others going through situation and I see myself running into this situation in a few years. Just want to ask this question so I know what to expect ahead of time.

Thanks for your advice!

Dear Hypothetical Tax Senior,

At the end of the day, this is a personal issue for you and your family to sort through. However, I hope the following points (and the GC community) can help you in your decision.

Things to consider:

1. Your professional network. How closely do you work with employees in this hypothetical office? Will you be able to move there before being promoted? Chances are, your network there is limited, so you will have to connect with and establish your credibility with an entire new office. Combine this with balancing the new responsibilities of being a manager and helping your family adjust to a new home, and you could be facing a steep learning curve, both professionally and personally.

2. Seek advice. Talk to your mentors about this. Is this a regular issue in your office? Have others before you made been in a similar situation, and if so, what did they decide to do? Is this a one year issue or is the possibility of being promoted to manager a distant possibility?

3. Look around you. Not in the job market sense but in the “how top heavy is my practice?” sense. Are managers currently doing the work of staff members because there is not enough to go around at the top? Is HR hiring into your group or have things been stagnant for awhile? Has your office lost a deal of client work to competition?

4. Look around again. Now I mean in the job market. All things considered, you need to do what’s best for your family. In that, you should be weighing ALL options. Jumping ship without the manager title is not necessarily a Scarlett Letter; it is something that can be explained in an interview at the very least.

Hypothetical: Mid-tier Intern Concerned About Breaking News to Her Firm About Big 4 Internship

Welcome to the Justin-Bieber-is-trending-on-Twitter-again edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a young collegian has an internship with a mid-tier firm next busy season but still dreams of the Big 4. Currently, she’s in talks with one B4 for a shot at a coveted summer internship. If she lands it, how does she break the news to her firm?

Does your partner get bent out of shape over weddings and other fun things? Are you single, fat and a hypocrite? Looking for a big change in your career? Email us at [email protected] and we do know of a terrorist organization that’s probably taking applications.


Hi GC,

I signed to do an internship with a mid-tier firm next busy season, and I’m pretty grateful for it. That being said, I still want to go the Big 4 route if possible. I have one recruiting season left before graduation, and I’ve been in some talks with one firm in particular that suggests I might have a chance at interviewing for a summer internship.

Should they make an offer, and I accept, how do I go about sharing (or not sharing) this with the other firm come next January? Should the mid-tier make a full time offer, how long can I wait before telling them yay or nay, just in case the summer one falls through? Am I shooting myself in the foot on this one?

Dear Two-timer,

We should all be so lucky to have a shot at two internships. Although your chances with the Big 4 firm aren’t a lock, this situation could prove tricky so I’ll go on the assumption (per your request) that you get the offer.

Now, then. My inclination is to advise you to not tell the mid-tier firm that you have a summer internship coming up, as it does not really your ability to perform work for them. Plenty of people have done two internships, so your case is not unusual and in my opinion, not necessary to tell them that you’re doing another internship in the upcoming summer.

That said, if you do decide to tell your mid-tier suitor about your Big 4 summer internship (I’m sure my advice has been ignored in the past) it could go one of two ways: 1) The firm likes you and they try hard to convince you choose them over those smug Big 4 bastards; 2) They’re on the fence and they reason “she’s got another opportunity coming up” and you’ll get cut right away.

So assuming you’re a likable, hard-working and don’t look like an absolute troll (you’ve got the internship, so this is unlikely), you’ll be in the enviable position of being able to choose exactly what you want. If the mid-tier firm makes you the offer, you won’t have a lot of time to decide (e.g. 30 days), certainly not before your summer internship is over. So if your experience at your mid-tier firm wasn’t so great, then your decision is easy. If you – gasp – really enjoyed it, then you’ll probably write us another email. And I’ll tell you to read this post.

How Would You Vote on the Deloitte Leadership Candidates?

Last month, we shared with you the concerns of a Deloitte partner who has a lot of issues with the processes around electing the firm’s leadership. As the partner explained it to us, “The elected individuals are the Chairman, the CEO, and a CEO ‘Alternate.’ The CEO ‘Alternate’ is there in the event that the CEO elect is also elected as the Global CEO (which will typically happen).”

Recently, we were able to confirm the candidates and thought we’d share them with all of you since some of you might not be aware of who they are:

Punit Renjen, for Chairman of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte Consulting)

Barry Salzberg, for CEO of Deloitte LLP (Current CEO of Deloitte LLP)

Joe Echeverria, for CEO Alternate (Current Managing Partner of U.S. Operations)

What’s not immediately known is when Deloitte partners will be voting “Yes or No” on these candidates. One of our sources speculated that the vote could be as early this week.

In our previous post, we learned that the partners vote up or down on these candidates as a group as the partner in our last post explained “The partners get to vote ‘YES or NO’ on the ‘slate’ of candidates that is advanced.” Since we know a lot of you out there in Internetland are Deloitte employees but not partners, we thought we’d get your perspective on this slate of candidates and whether you would give them a “Yes” or “No.” And since the comments box allows for further explanation, feel free to elaborate on your vote. We know of one person who will be voting no.

A message left with Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandal was not immediately returned.

Deloitte Partner Encourages Brethren to Take Back Their Firm

If You Get a 76 on the CPA Exam, Would You Ask for a Retake?

We’re really not sure why someone would ask this question but they did so bear with us, we’re sure you’ll be just as baffled as we were when we first read it.

Via the CPAnet forums

Let’s say you passed a section of the CPA exam with a low score (say, 76). Is it possible to take that section again?

If you feel that you could do a lot better, and the score is important to you for any reason (job searching credentials, bragging rights, whatever), can you just take that section again?

Bragging rights? When was the last time you pulled out your 98 on FAR and slapped a lower colleague across the face with it? I’m not sure who this person is planning on bragging to but here’s a hint: NO. ONE. CARES. And when I say “no one” I actually mean absolutely no one; not the recruiter, not your boss, not your boy/girlfriend and certainly not your coworkers who probably lie about their own scores and have taken BEC four times to no avail anyway.

Nowhere in the candidate bulletin does it say anything about retaking a passed exam because, well, there’s only one person on the planet who would consider this and it’s the guy who posted the question on CPAnet. No one in their right mind would even consider retaking an exam part that they have passed, regardless of whether they got a 75 or an 80, a pass is a pass and I think we are all in agreement on that.

It’s possible, of course, if said candidate wants to wait 18 months, allow his passing score to drop off and give it another shot. But why oh why would anyone even think to do such a thing?


What if Accounting Firms Had Their Own Version of WikiLeaks?

We were a little surprised to learn that both KPMG and PwC had brief mentions in the WikiLeaks cables, however it is far less surprising that they were quite humdrum and didn’t bring anything new to light.

From the Swiss site, inAte>Wikileaks published cable referenced 09MOSCOW3144, created December 30, 2009, classified as confidential and originating from U.S. Embassy in Moscow, on alleged pressure that the Russian government has exerted on PwC to disavow its “clean opinion” audits in the Yukos Oil, aided by the reported raids on PwC office in Russia and threats to recall Russian audit license of PwC, closing this market for the Firm.


Wikileaks also published (09LONDON2598, for official use only, originating from U.S. Embassy in London, created November 11, 2009) KPMG’s sceptical reaction on the Queen’s opening speech in Parliament on November 18, 2009, where Her Majesty sets out one of the priorities for new legislative session – to develop a new Financial Services Bill, requiring form systemically important banks to establish plans for recovery and resolution, that ensure banks’ financial continuity, later called by journalists “living wills”.

Like we said – meh.

Now, what happens within a Big 4 or other large accounting firm is rarely a matter of national security (Francine may disagree with us) but there’s little doubt that firm CEOs, partners and other notables have said things that would range from the slightly embarrassing to the absolutely mortifying. Consequently, reactions to those statements would also range widely from mere chuckles to ”OH NO YOU DI’INT!” Because our imagination has a tendency to run wild, we’ll dispel a few of our own scenarios that we imagine being in the Big 4/mid-tier version of WikiLeaks:

Prior to the unveiling, Bob Moritz emails Tim Ryan, “Between you and me, the new logo looks like a half-finished Lego™ project.”

• Barry Salzberg and Jim Quigley are known inside some Deloitte circles as “Team Propecia.”

• After the OT loss to Michigan State, John Veihmeyer is so upset that he sends an email to Henry Keizer stating, “THAT’S IT! NO RAISES THIS YEAR.” Keizer responds to JV, reminding him that ‘if that punk Jimmy Clausen had stuck around’ they wouldn’t be in this situation and he shouldn’t take it out on the firm’s employees.

• Emails between two Ernst & Young partners in Jericho, reveal that they’ve been hoarding the extra bathroom keys because they can’t stand asking the receptionist.

• Various Deloitte partners are quaking because it is common knowledge that Arnie and Annabel McClellan have an elaborate spreadsheet detailing their various fetishes.

• In numerous exchanges Stephen Chipman begs Ed Nusbaum to let him ‘drop this ridiculous accent’ just like Ross did on Friends.

• High-level executives at McGladrey considered putting ecstasy in the punch so people would be happier but ultimately decided against it (Phoenix/Vegas went their own way) because it would have resulted in too many accountants dancing for no apparent reason.

Jack Weisbaum = The Most Interesting Man in the World. (Just like several actual WikiLeaks, everyone knew this to be true but it was not discussed openly.)

Perhaps you have your own theories or documentation regarding other exchanges. Please share with the group at this time or email us.