Here’s a fun article by Marc Rosenberg about “how totally uninformed young accountants are about CPA firms.” Now, you might think that this is one of those condescending KIDS TODAY posts, but it’s actually pretty self-aware. Rosenberg offers a picture of a profession that has an enormous perception problem, citing some pretty surprising examples. He […]
Crikey, it's like they're at the Price Is Right or something: Great meeting our interns @EY_IILC in Orlando last week. Check out the video of this passionate group! @EY_CareersUS pic.twitter.com/xgL0fRA9Ft — Steve Howe (@SteveHoweEY) August 11, 2016 Sure, they seem like an ethusiastic group. Watch out for the bullies, though.
Ed. note: Warning, there's some offensive language contained in this post.
Today in potential career limiting moves, we have a prospective PwC intern being accused of creating a bunch of “sock puppet” Twitter accounts to hurl bigoted tweets at high school football recruits.
Vault ranks lots of employers and this week they dropped their 50 top internships for 2016. There are lots of accounting firms on this list, so many it's almost unbelievable considering Vault invited more than 600 employers to participate. Here are all the firms that were list: Elliott Davis Decosimo (2) Plante Moran (6) Moss […]
When you wake up, someone will be complaining about how you don't know anything. Have a great time at the Disney parks, interns! Don't forget that fanny pack!☝#IILC — Joe Maturando (@JoeMaturando) July 29, 2015
It's New Year's Day in the Deloitte universe and new stars are being born: Alright folks, with all the interns we have starting this week across the country, what advice would you give them? — Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) June 1, 2015 My only advice is that when you're waiting for a new story to […]
Yes, this was actually posted over at /r/accounting and no, it doesn't seem this person is a troll: Next week is when Big4 interviews happen and I hope to not only be interviewed but also get offered an internship, but… At the beginning of August I have a week long trip that I had planned […]
We know those of you awaiting offers have been watching compensation threads tick by thinking to yourselves "man, I can't wait to get my offer and compare my salary to those of my fellow interns-turned-FTers in one big monetary weenie measuring contest on GC!" and day after day goes on with no one mentioning offers. […]
KPMG loves to give its interns a hand when it comes to dress, handing out gift cards and goodies at summer and winter intern training to give them a head start on their business caj wardrobe. The winter intern situation got a little awkward this year when KPMG decided the ladies needed camisoles while the […]
The New Jersey Society of CPAs has a breakdown of an average day for an audit intern, and by average we mean very average. As in, arrive at the office at 9am and leave promptly at 5pm. Do you remember those days? Let's see: 7:30am: Wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for work. 8:20am: […]
As we all know, firms of all sizes spend a lot of time and effort cruising campus to pluck the best and brightest from top accounting programs using all sorts of tactics like free dinner, tchotchkes, and even buttering up students' parents. Now, there is a new form of campus predator: your fellow student. We […]
Remember your first internship? The thrill of getting that company-issued laptop, of learning the ropes, of being mentored by senior staff in things you didn't learn in college like how to get a coffee order right? Well the McGladrey winterns are busy blogging about it, let's check in with Jamie, a tax intern in Iowa […]
Welcome Southeast region Winter Class of 2014 #Interns from schools ranging from Baltimore to Miami! pic.twitter.com/9Xr3nbmzwX — GrantThorntonCareers (@GTCareersUS) January 15, 2014 Why is this in black and white? Did GT blow its entire color budget on its sharp purple marketing materials? Oh whatever. Congrats, you kids!
ALRIGHT ALRIGHT, we get it, you've been waiting for this thread. Seems a little early this year but we're getting harassed about it enough to think it's time to get this puppy rolling: Where's the 2014 full-time/summer internship thread? Offers are already going out. If you look at how we have done this in the […]
In all the commotion, we've neglected to congratulate those summer interns who have successfully navigated the summer without blowing their chances at a full-time offer of employment. It's no easy task, although if you followed our Definitive Guide to a Successful Public Accounting Summer Internship, it probably wasn't that bad. So for all the copy […]
I realize that we won't find the next Banksy in the 2013 Deloitte intern class, but come on, you guys. Maybe print out some of your Excel art and stick that up there. Something. Of course, not everyone can be at the conference, so if you have a message you'd like to post, you may […]
Hey, INTERN. Yes, you there wearing your hangover like a scarlet letter on this lovely Friday. Down your third gatorade and listen up. This is everything you need to know to not completely waste your summer away in your internship. You earned a coveted internship, but I am not going to stroke your ego […]
With full-time personnel already on notice, E&Y figured any interns not already familiar with insider trading should be made aware that material, non-public information about a client should not be used to trade securities. Nor should you pass it to your golfing buddy, local jeweler, or connection for hard-to-get concert tickets. A tipster sent us […]
Today, there are a lot of dazed tax interns walking around, wondering what happened to the last three months of their lives. However! They aren't so out of it that they can't help but wonder what their full-time offers look like compared to their peers around the country. We've had a couple of requests this […]
Sorry, winter interns — it's just that we've been, ya know, busy. Just like those senior associates who haven't had the time to take you to lunch. Or that manager who you thought wanted to get to know you better. Or that partner that never pronounces your name correctly. There's no shortage of love, just a […]
Over the years, we have received many questions regarding criminal histories and a life in public accounting. Not surprisingly, most of these cases have revolved around drugs or alcohol. We aren't talking about major meth production rings (that might be a small disqualification) or moonshining operations, but your run-of-the-mill silly college mistakes like getting tossed […]
Names changed to protect the "innocent" though really there is nothing innocent about this email sent from one busy intern to staff making the rounds today: Hey Bob, Hope things are going well. As interns we do not have access to ARMs so until Jack informed me I was unaware I was working 10 hours […]
Ed. note: With only a week before Christmas, you can't walk into any building without hearing Manheim Steamroller or Michael Bublé blasting through the soundsystem. It's enough to make you want to punch out one of those Salvation Army bell ringers. If you can't beat 'em (and not go prison), join 'em, right? So, in […]
Kiss that Green Dot Internship good-bye, you inconsiderate beasts. Love it…I just received a handwritten thank you note from an intern candidate I took to lunch last week. Those will NEVER go out of style! — Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) November 30, 2012 Better go brush up on your Judith Martin, rubes. [via @LifeatDeloitte]
Right now, many accounting students are giving serious thought to their futures. Right this very minute, in fact, a few are gnawing their already bloody fingernails waiting for a Going Concern blogger to tell them what to do with their lives. They can't trust their parents and friends so it's only natural that they ask […]
Welcome to the latest Recruiting Season Q&A. This is where we answer several questions from anxious accounting students. Remember, you won't know if your question is stupid unless you ask. Email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Recruiting Season Question" in the subject line. Just a reminder – we're compiling the starting salaries for new associates […]
Welcome to this week's roundup of baffled buckaroos. Each week we'll try to save some hapless accounting students from embarrassing themselves somewhere along recruiting trail. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at email@example.com with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. We'll kick things off with a follow-up from last week when "Pissed […]
Good night nurse, we get a lot of emails during recruiting season. In order to answer as many questions as possible, we'll do a lightning round of sorts each week so none of the little grasshoppers out there feel left out. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include "Recruiting Season Questions" […]
Remember earlier this month when we showed you some images from the Ernst & Young International Intern Leadership Conference? It illustrated just how E&Y rolls out the black and yellow carpet for its interns from across the globe – charter buses, gorilla hugs, and a dude in a Big Bird Yellow tux. We've uncovered more […]
If you have a problem that your spouse, friends, or Labrador can't seem to fix, why not ask emotionally detached accounting bloggers who can barely run their own lives to help? Email us your questions and we'll pull it together just for you. Dear Going Concern, I know you get a lot of these […]
Last week we mentioned that many interns were doing happy dances after learning that none of their summer behavior warranted a one-way ticket back to whereverthehellyoucamefrom. Based on the comments, Ernst & Young seemed to have the jump on extending offers but now this week, it's the Xerox technicians at Casa de Moritz getting the […]
It seemed like only yesterday we were welcoming the summer interns to their first taste of capital market servitude. Now that it's August and they've sufficiently been pranked, pandered, and paid per hour, the full-time offers for interns are starting to roll out. Yes, you will be seeing many of those Xerox technicians back on […]
Ahhh interns, gotta love 'em. Ernst & Young loves them so much they hold a yearly conference for the kids who stand out as best and brightest at Disney World, bringing out 1,800 interns from around the world last year. This year's party has just started but thanks to the EY Careers page on Facebook, […]
Suffering from Big 4 burnout? Want ideas for your Sarbanes-Oxley 10th anniversary celebration? Need help making a smart the least stupid choice at the vending machine? Email us your questions and let us feel your pain. Hi GC, Looking for some advice. I am interning at a small firm and I am 95% sure I will […]
Just starting out your career and unsure of your path? Worried that drinking Dr Pepper 10 and using too much Axe body spray might give your co-workers the wrong impression? Need help picking out your outfit for your first day as a new hire? GC is here to help, hit us up. I'm currently a […]
There's nothing quite like an enthusiastic intern who wants to be prepared for their first day on the job. And when I say, "nothing quite like," I mean, "Nothing quite as barf-worthy." Make no mistake, the effort is appreciated young grasshoppers, but you should know that the senior associate or manager that you are corresponding […]
If you're like me, you checked out on earlier than normal this week due to the long weekend of bad decisions ahead. It's a welcome reprieve for those of you that are firmly entrenched in the day-to-day amusement park that is public accounting. However, very soon the latest crop of presumptive capital market servants will […]
Do you have a question about, well, anything but are surrounded by fools who couldn't possibly enlighten you? The sages of Going Concern are here to help. Email us with your questions. Dear Going Concern, I recently finished my winter internship with KPMG and I am not sure how I felt about it. On […]
The following slides were sent to us from a reliable source who works within public accounting in a capacity that does not involve actual accounting. Call that talent acquisition if you'd like, all we know is that our source sat in on an actual seminar about recruiting talent that included these actual slides. I don't […]
From the mailbag: Just a FYI most of the PwC winter interns should be receiving their full time offers this week. "Good news" is relative of course, as this news could very well mean that, by accepting this opportunity and turning down a similar chance with KPMG, the chances of making partner some day are diminished. […]
Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC. Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary GC,I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory. I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January. Is […]
Ed. note: Troubled this busy season? Email us your predicament at email@example.com. For the most part, the emails we receive seeking advice are genuine. We have struggling GPA’ers and struggling interviewers. Managers tempted by the partner carrot and the curious public-to-public hopper. And generally, you all turn out solid, noteworthy advice. This is not one […]
Allegedly, this stunt was pulled earlier this morning in a Big 4 audit room somewhere in the Boston area. If you'd like to claim responsibility for this stroke of genius or have other samples to share, email us.
This is our second intern-themed post this week, which gets me thinking that some of you are neck-deep in coffee jockeys. This can be a trying time for those of you that are A) impatient B) dicks C) control freaks D) all of the above. As such, the following has probably crossed your mind at […]
Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your problem(s) but only if you’re comfortable being mocked in an older sibling kind of way.
I know my question is somewhat specific but I just accepted an Internship offer for E&Y FSO Assurance in NYC and was interested in gaining some insight into the 3 divisions within FSO Assurance. First, I would love to hear your opinion on the pros and cons of each of the three sectors (Asset Management, Banking, & Insurance) including which EY is best known for. I was also wondering if there was a clear leader in each of those sectors in NYC and was wondering which of the Big Four was best nks so much for your help. I know I am still a year away from having to actually select one of those options but gaining people’s opinions never hurt. Thanks so much.
Congratulations on landing a sweet summer gig with Uncle Ernie. You’ll be working for a great firm in a great city making a great salary while fetching great coffee for your superiors. Cheers!
But really, welcome to New York. You’re smart in thinking ahead to the fact that where you start with your internship will lead to a fulltime offer with the same group. This is because internships are essentially training camp for your first year – make it through the summer successfully and you’re in the club. I did a little digging within my professional circle to uncover some of the EY clients that you’d have the potential of working on, as well as my own two Lincolns.
Insurance – Let’s start with this one because I have a feeling that the group consensus will be unanimous: DO NOT JOIN THIS GROUP. Sure, it is a small, “family-like” practice in the financial services industry, but you’re not coming to work for the warm and fuzzies (if you are, avoid public accounting altogether). You’re coming to make yourself a valuable asset to future employers – one, three, or ten years from now. Can you receive accelerated responsibilities and extensive interaction with your clients? Yeah, but that’s because your co-workers are jumping ship and no one within the firm wants to transfer to the Insurance group. Unless you have an absolute passion for the industry (which you don’t, since you emailed us), I would avoid this group. Stay in this group for five years (you know, to make the dream promo to manager) and you’re setting yourself up for a career working for an insurance (or re-insurance) firm.
Banking and Capital Markets – This group is bigger and more prominent than the Insurance group. It’s taken its hit in recent years because…ummm…the banking industry is in turmoil, but some of the pain has been buoyed by their growing Broker Dealer client base (also falls into this group). Potential clients include Bank of America (*gulp*), UBS Wealth Management (the shining star in the UBS sky), Icahn Securities, JG Wentworth, ING Financial Holdings, and Cantor “run for the hills” Fitzgerald. Sources tell me audit staff are constantly trying to take rotations to the asset management group, so take that for what it’s worth. Career advancement outside of public can take you to either a banking or hedge fund depending on your client exposure, but have you read the papers recently? Banking ain’t the hottest date to the prom to these days.
Asset Management – this is EY’s money train in New York when it comes to audit (and even tax) services. EY and PwC dominate this market in New York, and depending on whom you ask EY has a more rounded client base (blue chip and start ups). Premier clients include Eton Park, Reservoir Capital, Anchorage Capital, and Och Ziff Capital (do some Googling to get an idea about these firms). The exposure to different investment strategies and financial products you will see will be second to none. Don’t forget that you can count the relevant investment banks left standing on two hands, whereas there are thousands of hedge funds and private equity firms in the country (most of which are in the greater NYC area, too). Your easiest and most lucrative path out of audit and into the private sector will be with a background in asset management. Absolutely, positively, 100%.
So there you have it. As always, GC’er please chime in below with your comments.
Ed. note: Need advice on your career, the CPA exam or how to best enforce your firm’s dress code? Email the career advice brain trust at email@example.com for answers.
This past summer I worked as an intern with a Big 4 firm. Learned a lot, some decent people, long hours. Still felt relatively miserable considering most of the people I worked with were wound pretty tight. Fast forward to now, and I am considering “taking my talents to south beach” by switching to a different Big 4 firm. Yes, there is an immaterial amount of additional money on the table, so my decision comes down to (1) a more interesting client base and (2) a more exciting and open culture among the happier employees at the new firm.
To me “the Decision” has been made. How do I tell the firm I interned with (and accepted an offer with) that I won’t be coming to the party next year? Am I at risk of being “that guy?” Can you put me in contact with a cable network willing to run a one-hour special so I don’t have to tell them directly?
First, congratulations on one-upping your entry level status in such a dire market. It sounds as though your decision is a done deal so cutting the cord with your personal version of Cleveland shouldn’t be hard to do.
Being that it’s already November, you need to reach out to the firm you’re breaking away from immediately. They’re in the middle of interview season anyway, and knowing that they have an additional spot in their budget now rather than later is important (and fair to their process). Reach out to the recruiter that was your point of contact within the firm (and probably the one that presented you with the original offer). Leave them a voicemail at work stressing the need to speak about a “time sensitive issue” and follow up with an email stating the same. Should you not hear back from them in 48 hours, follow up with another call. If it’s another empty voicemail, follow up with another email (forward the original) and state then that you will not be starting with them after graduation. Explain the situation (using the “it’s not you, it’s me” angle usually works), and thank them for the positive intern experience.
In fairness to them you should try to speak to them live on the phone; however you’re not obligated to make a dozen attempts to reach them. Everyone has email in their pocket these days and it’s reasonable to expect a response in two business days.
And why are you worried about being ‘that guy?’ If by that you mean ‘the guy who left for better money, clients, and culture,’ I’d bet it’s safe to say many of us wouldn’t mind being that guy (or lady) too.
Ed. note: Willing to take some advice from three strangers and peanut gallery full of overworked, underpaid paper pushers (aka spreadsheet jockeys)? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your problems.
First I just want to say that this website made all the down time during my Big 4 internship bearable!! Seriously, there are no words to express my gratitude!
I’ve learned a lot from your site, and I’m kinda hoping you can give me some advice…
Right now I have a full time job offer in Tax, but lately I’ve been questioning if this is the right move for me.
Honestly, I don’t think I can handle more than 3 years of public accounting, so I was wondering what job opportunities there are in the private sector for tax professionals with only two to three years of public accounting experience? (I feel like the focus is usually on audit, so I’m finding I don’t really know a lot about the tax world outside of the Big 4).
Also, I would eventually love to work for a nonprofit…would I have better luck at finding a job in this sector with an audit or advisory background, as opposed to tax?
Thanks a million!!!!
Thanks for stopping by GC this summer and squeezing us into your “busy” internship days. (Shameless plug – remember to talk about this site when you return to campus this fall. We’ll be talking about recruiting on a regular basis).
Let’s assume that you are going to accept the offer for Big 4 tax. Maybe you have an MS in tax. Maybe there are not any audit positions available for campus hires. Maybe you have a crush on the lead engagement partner. Not my biz. Whatever your situation, you should be focusing on making yourself as merlo-rounded as marketable as possible. A few ideas:
1) CPA – Not even a question. Get it done immediately.
2) Request an audit rotation – As you experienced this summer, there are times when things get a bit slow for tax professionals. Request short term rotations into audit where you can receive additional exposure. This will be marginally easier to do if your CPA is already completed.
3) Seek out non-profit clients – It does not matter if your experience is on the audit or tax side; the goal here is to receive client exposure for a look at the culture/business model/workplace environment at some of your local NFP’s.
4) Volunteer – If NFP clients are not an option, try to find time in your schedule to volunteer. Like any new job possibility, you should research what life is like at a non-profit before jumping into the career move.
As for private sector jobs, with 2-3 years tax experience you’ll have little trouble, as many businesses are trying to do more tax work in-house as opposed to contracting it out to their CPAs. I’d encourage you to stick it out until Senior Associate if you can, since this will give you ample opportunities outside the firm (and maybe a nice get-away). Good luck.
GCers – your thoughts?
The morning subway commute to work in Manhattan this week was refreshingly quiet; maybe it’s because so many bankers are in Cashew Mode (Street talk for the fetal position); the Hamptons are crowded; the interns are GONE. I know, staff members…time to return to the days of fetching your own copy paper and finding other “mentoring” reasons to light up the corporate card. But this is not about you – rather, it is about the suckling interns that are now the proud holders of fulltime offers.
Interns – what a long, sometimes awkward road of courtship it’s been, amiright? For some of you, the relationship with one or more of the firms started in your junior year, whereas others of you were swooned early and often from the wee days of being a fi��������������������But regardless, with a fulltime offer in hand your search for a job has finally come to a definitive end. Or has it?
It would be silly to think that every intern across the board has a positive summer experience. After all, the old school way of doing things was that internships were cutthroat programs that were unofficial “try outs” for only the top flight of students. Only if the i-ship was successful for both parties would a firm extend an offer. But remember, these were “real” internships with more in-depth work being done than the average fleets of thousands that we have now. Back then if a student didn’t receive an internship, it was not nearly the Scarlet Letter it is in today’s system. But in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses sort of way, the modern day internship program is just one giant recruiting pipeline tool. You know it. I know it. Everyone (including the professors) know it.
What about that intern at ABC LLC that feels incredible pressure to accept the offer, oftentimes when recruiters remind them of how much the firms have invested in said student (University happy hours. Dinners. “Trainings” in Florida. I don’t need to keep going.). Is it worth risking not getting an offer from another firm during the Fall recruiting season? Afraid of being labeled as a “risky” candidate?
So, interns – what the hell are you supposed to do? Here are a few ideas.
Same firm, different role – This is the easier change to make. Maybe you interned in financial services tax, but you have a yearning to get involved with non-profit or corporate clients. Speak to your recruiter about the possibility of transferring your offer to a different group. This does not mean you can make the move from Assurance to Forensic advisory, however. Stay within the skill set your internship provided.
This kind of move will only be possible if the group you’d like to transfer to has vacant spaces. For example, if the corporate tax group has 10 fulltime needs for FY2012 and they extended five fulltime offers to interns, you have a decent shot of transferring groups. If there were nine offers made for the same ten spots, your chances are much slimmer. Why? Because your recruiter (and really, the practice leader) will want to keep some room in the budget in case the next big tax star is found on campus in the fall. If you are going to request a change, be absolutely sure it’s where you want to be. Don’t go shooting yourself in the foot 1-2 years down the road from now.
Request a deadline extension – Look at the deadline on your offer. Got it? Good. Now go look at your university’s fall career fair schedule. Same date? Pretty damn close to it? Mmmhmm.
The turn-around on fulltime offers is a short window for two reasons: 1) because of the “you should be dying to work for us” Kool-aid and 2) because the recruiting teams need to know how many people to hire from campus. This is a fair and understandable, but it can put potential hires in a sticky situation if they are unsure of where they’d like to be come graduation.
Put your feelers out to the other firms early – before getting back to campus – Tell them about the positive experience you had during your internship, but express your continued interest in pursuing a fulltime option with them. It’s okay to ask them if there is any chance to be considered in the fall; recruiters do not waste time, especially their own. If you receive positive feedback from other firms, request an extension for your offer. Send your recruiter an email asking to speak with them over the phone; remain positive throughout the conversation (about your internship experience, your relationship with them, etc.); kindly ask for an extension. Most importantly, have a date in mind. Ask the other firms what their timelines are for interviewing on campus and extending offers. They are not immune to the situation themselves, and they will understand the sensitive timing.
Important to keep in mind: the conversation rate (interns who receive, then accept fulltime offers) is a critical aspect in many firms’ performance rankings for the recruiting staff, so it is in the recruiters’ best interest to do what is in their ability to land every acceptance possible. It should also be noted that the relationship you have within the practice you interned with and your recruiter are influential wild cards in these situations. The stronger the relationship, the more flexibility you will be privy to.
Seasoned vets – what advice can you give to you future staff members? Dish your details below.
UPDATE: Don’t ask me why staff are singing a song about “Intern Dreams” but apparently that is the case, hence the change in the headline. Carry on.
After being away for awhile, many you probably thought that I get on here and bitch and moan how awful it is to be back to grind with you all. It’s been quite the opposite experience actually, as we’ve learned that Adrienne is more than capable of getting people’s attention that inevitably result in emails being sent directly to me while it was widely known that I could be doing any number of things at the time, including A) watching someone’s Vespa go up in flames in London B) eating space cakes C) speaking to French women with a bad American accent D) watching a shockingly violent fight at Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Parade.
But nevermind all that. Cooler heads typically prevail around here so it’s nothing that couldn’t be handled. Plus, it nice to know that I can leave for a couple of weeks and the site doesn’t miss a beat.
But what really makes my life easy is coming back to emails pointing me to the EYConnects Facebook page where you can find this video:
As any long time reader of GC knows, Ernst & Young runs away with from the rest of the Big 4 when it comes to producing videos that border on hilarity. No need to look further than the masterpiece of “In a JIT” to the video from the Las Vegas office featuring an Elvis impersonator.
While “EY Dream” doesn’t feature legendary lyrics like “On a jet like Turley” mocking acronyms and well-rehearsed choreography wins points in our book. Still would have been funny to hear some self-deprecating lyrics related to Lehman Brothers. Oh well, we’ll keep waiting.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on this latest effort below.
Ever see those annoying exercise infomercials in the middle of the night that promise ripped abs and a tight core, all while screaming at you to get your fat ass off the couch and get started for just 12 easy payments of $99.95?
Well a few Cherry, Bekaert & Holland interns in the Raleigh office decided to make a video that pimps out the greatest fitness plan of all-time – a summer audit internship – with that same high energy madness. We have to admit we didn’t have high hopes until we actually watched it and let’s just say these interns did not disappoint.
When we asked a CBH spokesperson if these amazing interns will be joining the team come fall, we were told “Full time offers? These are obviously all super-accountants, so I’d be afraid to see what they’d do to us if we didn’t. However, I hear HR is still looking at their before pictures.”
A wise suggestion from the mailbag:
I had an idea for an interesting blog topic – most Big 4 interns will be finishing up within the next week or two. It would be interesting to see what the starting salaries and bonuses are turning out to be across the firms and across the different offices for new hires starting Fall 2012. I know you did a similar compensation blog a while back and it had several hundred comments with people sharing their respective numbers.
Thanks, astute future capital market servant! Jesus, is it really August already? We did do this last year around this time and you are correct that we got some great feedback from the kids. Except for the ones who got kicked off the team before the big trip to Disney, awww sucks for them.
Instructions this year are the same as last year, please be sure to include 1) your starting salary 2) your office 3) practice 4) signing bonus (if applicable) 5) Bonus for CPA (if applicable). Remember that anything you post will be seen by everyone you know including your colleagues, lover, dog and grandma so please, if you want to remain anonymous, post as such. Mommy won’t be around to moderate your discussion.
Because not everyone fits into the Big 4 cookie cutter, all interns looking forward to full-time offers are welcome to join the conversation, compare packages (erm) and brag about how much better their firm is than others. There’s no crying in baseball but this is public accounting, which means whining is also welcome.
Get on that, future leaders of the industry!
I believe PwC and DT offers come out this Friday. I’d really appreciate the input from other readers. It could affect my own FT offer.
I’ve been out of the numbers game for awhile now but for the life of me, I can’t figure out just how many people Ernst & Young will be hiring off campus for this year. Or is it last year? The firm put out a press release yesterday that states that it “will hire approximately 5,000 students from campuses across the US in the 2010-2011 academic year.” That’s all fine and good but it’s different from the report in CNN back in March that we told you about that said “It’s looking to hire 7,000 employees from college campuses — 4,500 full-time and 2,500 interns […] in 2011.”
That report also stated that “campus recruits are up 20%,” but yesterday’s press release said “campus hiring [increased] 25 percent from last year.”
All told, E&Y and the rest of the Big 4 are hiring lots of people but the numbers don’t quite add up. The nice folks at E&Y are trying to help me out, so I’ll report back when I’ve got some answers.
UPDATE: I’ve been informed by an E&Y spokesperson that “numbers referenced in the release are for the US, whereas the numbers cited in the Fortune article are for the Americas.” To clarify, the “Americas” includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean.
[via Ernst & Young]
Let me just say first off that this will not be an exclusive thread to the Big 4, I simply have to appease my SEO fanatic co-workers. That means if you’re interning at Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey, Moss Adams, Rothstein Kass, it doesn’t matter, don’t be afraid to jump in with questions or comments or respond to any of the regular commenters out there (“GT Partner” is a treat).
Anyway, it’s not technically summer but DWB encouraged me to drop an open thread on you all so that A) interns can share their skyrocketing anxiety and B) the veterans can bestow some of their wisdom upon these coffee gophers so that they don’t get in the way too much. Since I saw my fair share of interns pass through my time inside the House of Klynveld, I’ll jump in first.
For starters new interns, you need dress nice. If you show up in baggy Dockers without a belt and a Nike golf shirt and scuffed-up shoes – I hate you already. And unless you can do back flips (as it relates to your work) and buy me coffee once a week, my mind is made up about you already. For the ladies, since the dress code is a little more subjective for you, all I ask is you not show up in your pajamas. That said, your female superiors will be eyeing your attire much closer and they will be judging the shit out of you. And if they’re really offended by your fashion forwardness, they aren’t above tattling on you. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.
As for work – find it. Sometimes you may have to act busy by reading god-awful training manuals or diversity literature or something else that makes you want to bathe with a toaster but FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR MEDIOCRE BIG 4 CAREER, I suggest you don’t look bored. I don’t care if you have to grovel to the lowliest A1 on your team, if you’re not working (or at least appear to be working), someone will notice and that doesn’t bode well for your chances at fulltime offer.
Finally, make some friends. Can you carry on a conversation that doesn’t revolve around your Beta Alpha Psi chapter or the bitch of an Intermediate mid-term you had? Excellent, you’ll be fine. Someone will like you. If you like talking about those things, I strongly suggest you find a hobby fast. The Mets are driving you crazy? Great, talk about that. You just saw the Arctic Monkeys in concert? Wonderful, music is rad. Outdoorsy type? Talk about some camping trips. You’re into Brazilian Jujitsu? Okay but don’t show off your injuries. That’s just gross.
Bottom line: be yourself. Unless yourself sucks. In which case, email the career advice brain trust and we’ll turn this around. Now if you’ll excuse me, some of us don’t have interns and I have to fetch my own coffee.
I need some advice. I am doing an internship and all my performance evaluations have been good except one. I got one that said did not meet expectations. All the others were met or exceeded expectations. will the on bad pff prevent me from getting a job offer?
Dear PwC intern,
Forget about your work ethic; your grammar and spelling should be enough for HR to deny you an offer.
Quick side note: I’m sure Caleb has touched on this before (if he hasn’t, he should), but emails are a representation of your professional image. Spelling/grammar mistakes are excusable when it’s an email to a fellow intern about the evening’s happy hour, but not when you are trying to represent yourself to the client, a partner, a manager, or in this case the GC community. My first piece of advice – proofread your $#!%.
Now, back to your original question. Considering the job market and how strapped for staff the firms will be in the next few years, you should be fine. Modern day internship programs at the Big 4 are a testing ground for both the firms and you, the student. Were you able to fumble through workpapers, create some binders, and generally not piss anyone off? Seems like you did, for the most part. For whatever reason (and considering that you didn’t provide one, I’ll assume the poor ranking was justified) you received a less than satisfactory review on one engagement. The positive reviews will counter this. Also, if you have a positive relationship with your recruiter, he/she will fight for you to receive an offer (after all, HR has their own goals to fulfill).
However, if you rubbed an important partner, manager, or recruiter the wrong way at any time, consider your goose cooked. All it takes is a short “I don’t want this person receiving an offer” email from a person of authority to erase your chances of receiving an offer.
Good luck. Cross your fingers and dot your i’s that you can rise above the poor review.
Ed. note: Got a question for Dan Braddock or anyone else on the GC advice team? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll get to your query in due time.
Dear Going Concern,
I am currently a sophomore in college and am interested in a Big 4 internship (Chicago) for the summer of 2012. This means that I will be
involved in the heavy recruiting season this coming fall. I have a 4.0 GPA, am on my way to becoming Executive VP of Beta Alpha Psi, am a member of the Accounting Club, and have done some volunteer work. Any tips on how to stand out from the sea of other students just like me? Should I do anything else before recruiting season besides networking? Any advice would be appreciated ver
Big 4 Lover,
Glad to see that GC has some young people in the audience. Take what you read here with a grain of salt and shot of tequila – adulthood makes people cranky, not just public accounting.
Be cognizant of the fact that there are two versions of you that every recruiter sees: the version of you on paper and the version of you in real life. Either version can make or break your candidacy. Let’s break it down:
You on paper: At first read, the “résumé” you describe seems just fine – you’re maintaining strong grades while being involved in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom, even holding a leadership position. I wonder if your “volunteer experience” was only due to the Beta Alpha Psi volunteer requirement or if you do it on your own; either way, this is minor and I’m nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking. Any Big 4 recruiter will have your résumé sitting in their “yes” pile going into the fall recruiting season.
However, your résumé is strong on the “I am just trying to land an internship at a Big 4 firm.” What are your interests outside the realm of debits and credits? Unless you are a living, breathing calculator, I’d like to think that you have hobbies other than what is described above (this is assuming you did not leave any experiences out when describing your background above). I encourage you to diversify your experiences in college – not just for the sake of your résumé but for the sanity as well. VP of the Wiffle Ball Club? Great. Part of the campus sewing circle? Fantastic. Genuine, non-accounting extracurriculars will not only enrich your life but they’ll be great conversation starters when you begin meeting with recruiters and Big 4 professionals on campus.
You in real life: As you mentioned, you’ll be in the thick of the recruiting process this fall. Being that you’re only a sophomore (and probably on the 5 year track due to Illinois requiring 150 credits for the CPA), you’ll be interviewing for the “leadership” programs at the Big 4. These lead to internships which lead to job offers which lead to high-fives and back slaps for everyone. Here’s what you need to do when you meet the firms:
Do not regurgitate your resume – let your strong résumé speak for itself. No one likes a bragger, not even your mother.
Do not be too transparent – 99.99997% of Beta Alpha Psi members join the society because it looks good on a résumé. DO NOT TELL THE RECRUITER THAT. Unless you want to come across as an internship-chasing fool, then by all means go ahead and say so.
Do not suck up – There is a subtle difference between saying, “I’m only a sophomore, but I have heard positive things about your firm from my professors and older classmates and I’m hoping to learn more,” and “OMFG your company is so cool!!!”
Be yourself – you are more than accounting. The best people you’ll ever work with in the industry will also be much, much more than debits and credits.
Today’s CPA exam question has little to do with the actual CPA exam and more to do with your career thereafter, or before if you’re already working in
indentured servitude public before taking the exam.
From the mailbag:
I’ve been trying to look this up, but I keep ending up with vague responses. Can you get your “accounting hours” or whatever work related experience needed for a CPA license (1-2 yrs) before you pass the exam? Do summer internships count (say you interned on an audit)? Which states make you get audit work experience as opposed to states that just ask for accounting experience?
A bit confused.
For future reference, you guys can really help me out here by letting me know what state you are in (or applying for licensure in) as all states are different. Generally speaking “experience” is defined as work performed under the supervision of a licensed CPA in that jurisdiction. Even if you are unsure of which state you will be applying to, a general idea is helpful for my purposes.
You should be able to get your experience before, during or after taking the CPA exam. In some states, you have a limited amount of time to actually complete the requirements once you have passed, in others you will have to take some CPE to “refresh” passing scores after quite some time has passed (5 years).
States like Oregon, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky will accept general experience in lieu of direct accounting work, meaning you can work in corporate finance and still get your experience requirements met.
States like Colorado and Oregon will accept work performed under the supervision of a Chartered Accountant as well. Colorado will also waive the work experience requirement completely if you meet certain additional educational experience requirements (150 units), check with the Board for exact details on this. Illinois and Massachusetts may also allow you a license without actual work experience. In Mass, you can receive a non-reporting license if you do not meet the 1 year of overall experience and 1000 hours of attest experience, meaning you can do everything but issue reports on financial statements.
States like Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Montana, and Nebraska will give you a CPA certificate instead of an actual CPA license if you have passed the exam, meaning you can put it on your résumé but will not actually be able to practice as a licensed CPA in that state until you meet the additional work experience requirements.
Currently, California does not require audit hours and you can always add them later if you decide you want to perform audits in the state.
Your best bet is to cough up $10 to access NASBA’s Accountancy Licensing Library to search through the different requirements based on which you might meet. You don’t have to know where to look, just plug in what you have (or expect you will have by the time you are ready to apply for licensure) and figure out which state would work best.
Hope that helps!
Welcome to the Animal-Kingdom-to-Win-in-the-Preakness-edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a former Big 4 intern who turned down a full time offer wants to know how best to explain this snub to his new prospective employers without dragging his old firm through the mud.
Need help with a busy season break-up? Dealing with some crazies at your job? Do you feel ignored for your effo href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com and we’ll help you get some attention (or, at the very least, create a diversion).
Back to the Big 4 snub:
I interned at a Big 4 tax recently and got a full time offer. My internship experience consisted of little work aside from fighting boredom and trying to find work. I was very disappointed with my experience, and to an extent, felt cheated. I was not expecting much as an intern, but I was expecting to learn at least a few things. Long story short, against the advice of people who say they have my best interest in mind, I turned down the offer.
I have a bad habit of not using my rear view mirrors when I drive, so I am not seeking advice as to whether I should beg for my offer back. My question relates to how I should approach recruiting in the future. Rule #1 is not to speak poorly of a past employer. Not sure how to get around that. Advice? Also, would saying that I was not happy with my internship hurt future opportunities due to the fact that it seems that few people full time seem to be happy (proven flight risk)? Should I leave this experience off my resume? My mother always told me honesty is the best answer, but then again she has been telling me I am special for the last 22 years of my life. Depends how one defines special perhaps.
Anyhoo, I am confident that I will land interviews in the coming season and I have connections with many firms who had extended me internship offers. I am just unsure how to go about explaining this little snag in a beneficial and professional way.
Thanks for any help.
Dear Momma’s Boy,
This is the first instance that I can recall hearing about an intern turning down a full time offer without another one in place. Your confidence in your decision is impressive but we can’t help but think that you had a slightly itchy trigger finger. But as you said, we’re not looking back. Onward!
You are correct that you should not speak poorly of your previous employer. Slamming your former firm for asking you to spend all day at the copy machine will make you sound petty, unprofessional and any prospects will immediately wonder how you’re talking trash about them once you’re out of their presence. Rather than get all mysterio about the experience, you should listen to your mother and be honest about it. But don’t focus entirely on the negative aspects of the internship; there has to be something you took away from it. Once you’ve described something positive (no matter how petty), you can explain why you turned the internship down. Just be careful to not make the situation personal. “It wasn’t a good fit” or “It wasn’t what I expected” is a far better than saying, “I was bored” or “I was smarter than everyone else” OR “I should be running that firm.” Keep it constructive and thought-provoking in when discussing it. Also, I would not leave the experience off your résumé simply because that misrepresents you. Best to go with honesty all the way.
So just keep your ego in check; did you turn a prestigious firm? Yes. Why? It was a decision made based a variety of factors and it wasn’t an easy one to make (even though it might have been). You’ll come off as contemplative and your integrity will be intact. Those aren’t bad qualities to have.
Welcome to everyone-whip-out-those-birth-certificates edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a Big 4 tax intern is thinking about life after public accounting, just in case, you know, he hates it. Are there real options out there or will it be a choice between being a Big 4 partner and opening a H&R Block in a strip mall?
Looking for career advice from a complete stranger who may mock you in the process? Is a co-worker questioning your intelligence? Thinking about taking your talents to an archrival? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you with your Benedict Arnold impression.
Back in tax:
I’ve accepted an offer for an internship in tax this summer with a Big 4 firm, because I’ve always preferred tax to audit as far as a career within the firm. However, I am starting to have concerns over my potential career outside the firm should I decide that I hate public accounting. Unless I were to make partner, it is likely that I will have to look elsewhere to continue my career.
What are the career options outside the firm for someone working in tax at the manager/senior manager level? What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate? Should I try to get into a specialty tax group? Would my career in tax give me the skills to open my own CPA firm down the road?
I apologize if these questions have been answered, I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to get answers to some of these questions. Feel free to direct me to the answer if this is the case.
Dear Tax Intern who seems to be getting ahead of themselves,
You’re having career concerns and you haven’t even been shown your cubicle? That makes me think that you might also be stressing over the Mayan calendar but since you mention making partner, I suspect you’re not that crazy (or this crazy).
Anyhoo, I’ve got good news – there are plenty of opportunities for you both inside and outside your Big 4 firm. Hopefully you’ll get exposure to various groups within your tax practice during your internship and that will get you thinking about what aspects of tax you enjoy best. If you like compliance – wow, are you in for a treat. You’ll probably start out there but at some point you may be able to jump into state and local (aka SALT), an international tax group or M&A. There are lots of options, which is why tax is such a great career path. Personally, I feel a speciality group can be great experience but you may limit yourself for opportunities outside the firm. That said, there is something to be said for being considered an “expert.”
As far as opportunities after your career in Big 4, you’ll be able to take any expertise you’ve obtained to clients in their own tax department. Remember GE’s department is the best tax law firm known to man and other corporations strive for similar tax savvy; you could fit in nicely. Similarly, if you’re confident you can go out on your own and start a tax boutique firm, you might be able to provide specialized services for a fraction of the cost of other firms. You’ll probably need a couple of colleagues to take the risk with you and some capital wouldn’t hurt but it could pay off in spades in the long-term.
Any tax mavens with some years behind them are invited to share their experiences. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to mocking birthers.
From the mailbag:
I will be a full time Advisory intern at Ernst and Young in Manhattan this coming summer. The duration of the internship is 7 weeks starting mid June. We just received a raise in our salary which has me thinking about compensation.
As you know, interns receive overtime which can contribute significant weight to overall pay. After researching the internet and the GC archives, I have not been able to find a clear answer regarding what I can expect for overtime hours. I know this varies by firm, workload, work groups etc but can you estimate an average of overtime hours per week? If any?
Right you are, grasshopper – it will depend on various factors you mentioned as well the clients you are assigned to, and what kind of expectations your superiors have (maybe that’s what you mean by work groups?). ANYWAY. In all likelihood, you’ll see some overtime hours which will probably result in some nice paychecks this summer but don’t be surprised if managers are staying on top of the hours you’re working. The Big 4 and other accounting firms aren’t quite as loose with the wallet as they used to be so I’d guess your hours will top out somewhere in the 50s on a weekly basis. That puts you in the range of 10 to 15 hours of OT a week (20+ only for those who work for lunatics). If your senior isn’t a headcase then you can expect 40-50 hours a week.
If you fancy yourself a intern hour handicapper, throw some numbers out there. And, interns, when things get rolling, get back to us with your numbers.
Twenty-four hundred lucky boys and girls will descend on Orlando, Florida to traipse around Disney World in “living classrooms” which sounds a little strange if they’re going to somehow incorporate assurance, advisory and tax services. No one wants to see Minnie Mouse in pantsuit, do they?
“This is a high energy, unforgettable experience that helps prepare interns for their full-time career,” said Paula Loop, US and Global Talent Leader, PwC. “We emphasize the importance of individual contributions to the entire team and how the skills taught at each phase help them advance through the challenges.” Presumably, part of this experience will include persuasion skills that will convince the interns’ best and brightest friends (mostly those interested in tax) who are currently planning to intern with KPMG to defect to PwC at a moment’s notice. [PwC]
Welcome to the slightly-less-mad-Friday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future E&Y intern only wants to work on the sexiest tech clients that the House of Turley has to offer. How can one ensure that he/she lands only on the clients worth bragging to their peers? Let’s find out!