Becker CPA Review wants you to master virtual recruiting and interviews, here’s how you do it. Recruiting season is anxiety-inducing enough in the most normal of times: making small talk, promoting yourself without coming off as self-absorbed, and let’s not even get into worrying about your lunch lingering in your teeth. As Covid drove the […]
Most people would look at the year PwC Chairman and Senior Partner Tim Ryan has had and think, “That’s rough.” After two killings of black men by police officers and the killing of 5 Dallas police officers last summer, Ryan told Fortune in February that he scrapped his plans and, “got the team together and […]
Millennials detest many things. This list of things would include: slow wifi signals; conventional produce, talking on the phone, check books, high fructose corn syrup, cars, shopping in a physical store, albums, coal, gluten, movies that don't stream on Netflix, being called a Millennial, and Millennial stereotypes, just to name a few. But perhaps one […]
The only thing worse than sweating through your suitcoat in an interview? Not getting the job. The only thing worse than not getting the job? Getting a rejection letter. The only thing worse than that? Getting a four minute long voicemail from a Big 4 recruiter explaining that you didn't get the job because, “Yeah, […]
In this day and age, few companies have the visibility and prestige of Facebook. Yes, you have to block your Dad’s political rants, but forget all that. Facebook is a technology company working to change the world as we know it. Changing the world involves a lot of numbers that have nothing to do with […]
One of the biggest distractions for small-business owners has to be maintaining their books and their accounting. Attaining a firm for the business might be too expensive an endeavor, yet handling it by yourself takes away valuable time from growing your core business. Enter inDinero: a one-stop shop for all your bookkeeping needs. The company […]
Ed. note: This is the first of a series of interviews with accountants who have started or own a business. Whether it's a CPA firm, a coffee shop, or a mobile app, we're talking to accountants that have an entrepreneurial streak. If you want to suggest an accountant-turned-entrepreneur for this series, email us. A […]
Our friends over at Vault are still working on their massive survey of accounting professionals and if you haven't yet gotten on that bandwagon, please do so here. It helps them help you, or something. Only Big 4 and other "top" firms need apply. Don't worry CBIZ people, you're invited to the party. They recently […]
Ah Millennials. They are almost as much fun to talk about as working women and people of non-causasian descent. Apparently, some of the kids are having trouble finding jobs. Mostly this doesn't apply to the fascinating field of accounting as there are plenty of jobs to go around and nubile warm bodies are always needed […]
ICYMI, MarketWatch interviewed Scott London the other day — which I suppose was a good idea since interviews might get a bit more difficult after London heads off to prison to serve his 14 month sentence next month. In the interview, London comes off as approachably remourseful, almost like a grandma apologizing to her heirs […]
For the low low price of $158, you can sit in on a live video interview with fallen star Scott London, who will be giving insight into the importance of ethics before he heads to prison due to his the ethical deficiency that led him to profit off insider tips he gave to his golf […]
It's really helpful that we have all these survey results to count on otherwise we'd have no idea what the heck is going on. Here's the scoop from CGMA Mag: Job candidates appear to have brushed up on their résumé skills, but they’re still struggling to come off as polished in a job interview. That’s […]
Are post-interview thank you notes absolutely required? No. Neither is brushing your teeth before the interview, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to forgo either. In this recent piece from CGMA Mag (I know, I know), Ken Tysiac discusses the importance of the thank you: Candidates should display their gratitude for the interview and […]
Sometimes I feel like I don't know. Sometimes I feel like checkin' out. I want to get it wrong. Can't always be strong. And love it won't be long… call us Ultraviolet, we're here to light your way. If you have a career question, life question, ethics question and/or dumb question for us, go ahead […]
Back when I worked in HR for a public accounting firm, it was common to receive and send out requests for best practices in employment policy. Such information is often shared freely across non-competing firms all in support of advancing people initiatives within the profession. Most often I was (and still am) a Go-Giver in […]
Last week I talked about everything you need to do to prepare yourself for an interview. The night before and the day of an interview can easily trip you up if you’re not ready. Hopefully this guide will help you along the way. As always, share your comments below. THE NIGHT BEFORE Carving some […]
Continuing in efforts to best prepare you for your next job (maybe one you’ll land through GC Jobs) I wanted talk about interviewing. By this point you have a nice polished resume and well worded cover letter. You networked your ass off (or called back one of the 15 recruiters that calls you every week) […]
As we've mentioned on several occasions here, when the media profiles Big 4 bigwigs, the revelations are far less interesting than, say, a movie star-governor. If touchy subjects are addressed, they are glossed over fairly quickly to move on to charity work, perseverance, or family life. It's like a heart-warming after-school special. Grant Thornton CEO […]
One of our least favorite things to do here at GC is to read profiles of so-called leaders – I say "so-called leaders" because there's a bajillion of them – in the accounting profession only to find that there's nothing particularly interesting in the interview. Don't get me wrong, personal stories are fine, but these […]
This is our second submission from the stable of Going Concern freelancer candidates. The following is by Bob Loblaw. Notwithstanding a few e-mails I’ve written in the past that had a wider circulation than intended, this is my first piece of journalism (Ed. note: relative term). With that in mind, it’s important to my unpaid […]
Perplexed by corporate fashion dos and don'ts? Need remedies for comp/bonus anxiety? Are you an auditor that needs a go-to quip for those relatives who want help with their taxes? Email us your questions and we will answer them in order of stupidity. I have an upcoming interview at a large firm, but in one of […]
In the past, we've called attention to some of the brutally boring interviews that Deloitte bigwigs have done with various outlets. Joe Echevarria. Barry Salzberg. Deb DeHaas. We read these so you didn't have to. You're welcome. Today, however, we read an interview with Deloitte Chairman Punit Renjen that wasn't half bad. It was done […]
Communications teams at accounting firms, particularly the Big 4, have a difficult job. And for the most part, they're nice people. I've talked to plenty of them. NO! I'm being serious. They work for private companies that are notoriously secretive, newly regulated, but still have come under heavy scrutiny as capital market servants, thus, leading nosy […]
You don’t have to be Bob Woodward to recognize the formulaic nature of the CEO interview. Reporter goes to CEO’s office, asks loaded questions about the issues of the day, describes the view from the office, elaborates on the person’s exercise regimen, humble (or not so humble) beginnings, people they admire, yada yada yada. Cripes, reading these things makes you want to shave with broken glass but hey! editors get in ruts just liwe’re stuck with the puff. By extension, interviews with Big 4 CEOs are worse because they typically occur with General Counsel sitting in the next room zapping their genitals every time a question is asked that necessitates “I can’t comment on that.”
Today’s example comes courtesy of Reuters who interviewed Deloitte’s Joe Echevarria. What prompted this little chat was the PCAOB’s release of Part II of the firm’s 2008 inspection report. It wasn’t exactly a flattering portrayal of a firm who, when asked to brush up on their audit skills, basically told the PCAOB to drop dead.
Accordingly, the firm is running damage control and that involves getting Joe E. in front of some friendly reporters (read: not Jon Weil or Francine McKenna).
Recently faulted by the main U.S. auditor watchdog, Deloitte has told its professionals that skepticism should be the No. 1 focus during the upcoming auditing season for annual financial reports, CEO Joe Echevarria said.
“I know there’s a heightened awareness about professional skepticism in the firm,” he said. “It’s going to take a while for heightened awareness to manifest itself in actions and documentation because humans are involved here.”
The natural follow-up question here would be, “But Mr. Echevarria, the PCAOB asked you to fix things in 2008-2009, are you saying that you’re now just ‘manifesting itself in actions’?” but that brings out the zapper. That’s okay, we’re all used to it. You know what else we’re used to? Talking about the “expectations gap”:
There is an “expectations gap” between what auditors do and what the public expects, but auditors do have an obligation to detect and report material fraud, Echevarria said.
Echevarria is also asked about auditor rotation, IFRS and (for some odd reason) its settlement over the Adelphia fraud in 2005. Why not ask about the swinging insider trading scandal? What about Taylor, Bean & Whitaker? What about associates sneaking bloggers into the downtown W? WHAT ABOUT THIS FAUX TARA REID MARRIAGE? People want these all-important questions on the record and yet it never happens. Sigh.
By the way since it’s obvious that some of you care about these details, Joe is from the Bronx and his office is in Midtown.
Deloitte pressing for more skeptical audits (God, the headline is even awful) [Reuters]
Republican Party HMFIC Grover Norquist was on 60 Minutes last night and Steve Kroft did his best to pull one over on him but as you might expect, GGN took all the questions like the
K 12th Street gangsta that he is.
Lots of great moments to note. Some of my personal favorites:
1. Bob Dole’s face at ~1:30.
2. Newt Gingrich’s horrendous handwriting
3. Rat heads in the Coke bottle are quite a stunning image.
4. Two words: Grover, Babe
5. Let’s be real here: The President of Americans for Tax Reform doesn’t take the metro.
And Jesus, is Alan Simpson a grumpy old coot or what? Other observations are welcome at this time.
Subject: Career Emergency
Well, not really. I’m just freaking out.
I have an office visit with PwC tomorrow. I’m doing a leadership program with them in two weeks. From what I’ve read online, office visits consist of interviews; however, the recruiter said dress for tomorrow is “business casual.” Can I really show up to an interview in khakis? I’m worried as small as wearing the wrong thing could ruin a potential internship offer. Gotta love the superficiality of public accounting. So do I rock a suit despite the recruiter saying busineisk underdressing for an interview?
Thanks in advance,
Freaked out junior
Dear Freaked Out,
No reason to panic, that’s what GC is here for. Since Caleb’s work attire is best suited for the pool these days (aka his “working office”) he asked that I respond to your message.
First off, congratulations on earning a spot in PwC’s two week leadership program. You are correct that there will be interviews at one point during the program, but you should also be viewing the entire two weeks as an interview. You will be evaluated throughout the period – how you interact with your peers; how you involve yourself in the group discussions; how you interview during the formal interview portion. The PwC recruiters will not only be making their own observations but they will also be soliciting feedback from the younger staff professionals who volunteer throughout the weeks. Be cognizant of the fact that every PwC professional you speak to could influence whether or not you receive an offer for the following summer.
Now – back to fashion. Unless you heard specifically from someone at the firm that interviews will be on the first day, you needn’t worry about suiting up tomorrow. They (the recruiters) want you to succeed, so they will tell you in advance about when the interviews will be. That said, it is always wise to make a positive impression on the first day. Below are a few tips on making sure you’re on spot for the first day:
Business casual: There is business casual and then there is public accounting business casual. The latter involves a wrinkled blue Oxford dress shirt and a pair of semi-pressed khakis. Sure, this counts as business casual, but…why? Do yourself a favor and avoid mimicking the Best Buy uniform on your first day.
My advice: If the recruiter said no suit, then don’t wear one (step 1 to receiving an offer is following directions). But it’s possible to have your business casual lean towards business professional without crossing the line. Go with either A) a suit (matching jacket and pants) or B) blue blazer with either grey or olive dress pants or khakis and then match with a pressed button down shirt. Avoid the plain white shirt if you can, as these are best paired with ties and you’re leaving yours at home for the day. The shirt you wear should work well with and without the jacket. These outfit options give you the ability to quickly “dress down” by leaving the jacket on the back of your chair during informal ice breakers but also allow you to quickly formalize yourself on the off-chance you’re meeting with a partner.
• Brown/black – brown shoes and belts generally match with khaki better than black, but wear what you have and what you like. Also, make sure your shoes are polished.
• Suit/blazer jackets – double check to make sure the pockets and vents are open. Any string keeping a pocket closed is left over from production and is meant to be removed; it will come out rather easily. Also, remove the suit’s brand name tag from the sleeve if you haven’t already – only you should know your suit is Hugo Boss or JoS. A. Bank.
• Check the weather – if there’s a probability for rain, bring an umbrella. Don’t chance getting stuck in a summer storm.
• White socks: Just…don’t.
Any other advice from the peanut gallery? Share them in the comments.
The Financial Times published an interview with PwC International Chairman Dennis Nally over the weekend and we learn a few interesting things about DN that you probably didn’t know. For starters, he’s very aware that his firm is in a tussle for title of the largest professional services firm ON EARTH, “We’re in a real dog race to continue to sustain our leadership position as the largest professional services network in the world,” he told the FT. Of course this gives us the impression that Denny doesn’t believe that P. Dubs has relinquished the Biggest of the Big 4 title, as some other CEOs have claimed.
And as you might expect, there are various softening questions thrown around, including:
1) Leaders he admires – he wants to meet The Pope because “[Nally] seems impressed by the feat of co-ordination.”
2) Feats of strength – He practiced hot yoga to “strengthen his golf swing” but gave it up because “I found that you had a tendency to over-workout your muscles.”
Despite those little tidbits, Helen Thomas manages to get under Nally’s skin a little when she asks if “auditors should rightly find themselves in the line of fire” when fraud or “disingenuous” accounting occurs:
Mr Nally crosses his arms across his monogrammed shirt, for the first time looking a touch defensive. “There are professional standards out there [and] an audit is not designed under those standards to detect fraud,” he says, pointing out that detecting fraudulent behaviour rests on other indications including a company’s governance, management tone and control systems. “The reasons it has been done that way is because, while we always hear and read about the high-profile fraud, the number of those situations that you actually encounter in practice is very de minimis.
Notice that he doesn’t directly address the “disingenuous” accounting. Examples which might include, say, AIG and Freddie Mac, but rather addressed fraud which is easy to fall back on, since the expectations gap is so blatant (something he has mentioned before).
His statement also appears to indicate that he feels situations like Satyam are immaterial, unless by “de minimis” he intended to mean “rare in occurrence.” But, then again, I suppose semantics are also de minimis.
Welcome to the International Women’s Day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an accounting major at UI and prospective Big 4 intern is having trouble relating to partners in his interviews. Can we help this future coffee gopher come up with some better ice-breakers?
I am a junior majoring in accounting at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign set to graduate in May 2012. I am in the process of applying to our school’s MAS program to get my 150 hours to sit for the CPA in the state of New York. Last fall, I had an office visit with PwC in NYC for their Summer 2011 Audit Intern. I was not given the job. A few weeks ago, I interviewed for Deloitte for their Winter 2012 Audit internship in NYC as well. I moved onto the second round but my second round interview was a 30 minute phone call from a partner. I thought the interview went well with him but I was not given an offer. I am now 0/2 in second round interviews with the Big 4. What am I doing wrong? I read somewhere about the facial hair article that partners generally do not come into contact with associates much and I am only interviewing for an internship. How can I connect with a partner who seems disinterested in interviewing college kids? I connect easier with HR and managers that do first round campus interviews but it’s hard for me to establish rapport with a partner. I do have another office visit scheduled in mid April for NYC EY-FSO so maybe the third second round interview will be the charm. These are the questions I usually ask managers and partners:
• Where did you see yourself 5, 10 years down the road when you first started?
• Did you take it step by step or did you know you wanted to become a partner?
• What has been your most rewarding moment or biggest accomplishment here?
• What are your plans for the next 5 years and what about the firm’s goals?
Dear Intern with no Ice Breakers,
Rather than complain about your lack of partner relations, you should simply be thankful that you’re not a grad assistant at UI. Since you didn’t ask for perspective I’ll let your lack of gratitude slide and address your query directly. Here goes.
You listed four questions that you ask of managers and partners and frankly, they’re terrible. They are trite, predictable and shallow. Plus they’re nearly identical, as they all are related career path. There are other things to consider, after all. Partners and managers want to know that you’ve really got something going on upstairs, not if you’ve read all the listicles on the Internet that have job interview tips. Also, partners are human (well, most of them) so asking them strictly business questions make you seem stiff and impersonal. If you can demonstrate an ability to relate a partner on a personal level, he/she will see you as a team player and someone who has interests outside accounting. You do have interests outside accounting, don’t you?
If you don’t have interests outside accounting: A) GET SOME and B) ask a question that isn’t about career path. What about work-life balance or volunteer opportunities sponsored by the firm or studying for the CPA exam and working OR what he/she likes best about their job? ANYTHING other than re-asking the question you just asked.
So next time you go into an interview and it comes time to ask a partner or manager questions, ask a diverse set of questions. If your questions are one a single track, your interviewer will think your brain is on a single track.
Southwest Airlines to Buy AirTran [WSJ]
“Southwest Airlines agreed to acquire AirTran Holdings Inc. for $1.4 billion in cash and stock, the first major merger among healthy U.S. discount carriers.
The proposed deal follows Southwest’s failed effort to acquire Denver-based Frontier Airlines earlier this year and would revive its stalled efforts to launch international services by accessing AirTran’s network to the Caribbean.”
Troubling Trades Found Ahead of Flash Crash [DealBook]
“The Chicago data firmed strange patterns — dubbed “crop circles” — in stock market data around the flash crash on May 6 has put together a new analysis that it says backs the theory that one or more trading firms was intentionally trying to flood exchanges with orders.
The firm, Nanex, hopes the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will be able to address its analysis in their long-awaited report on the flash crash due to be published before the end of this month.”
Treasury Said to Prepare AIG Exit, Repayment Plan [Bloomberg]
“The U.S. Treasury Department may announce plans as early as this week to return American International Group Inc. to independence and recoup taxpayer money from the insurer’s bailout, according to three people with knowledge of the talks.
The biggest part of that strategy is for Treasury to begin converting its $49 billion preferred stake into common stock for sales by the first half of next year, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. The timing of an announcement depends on the pace of talks between regulators and the New York-based insurer, and discussions may extend beyond this week, the people said.”
PCAOB Begins Negotiations With European Regulators [Compliance Week]
“Now that Congress and the European Union have removed a big obstacle to international audit inspections, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is trying to forge some new relationships with its counterparts overseas to get back on track.
PCAOB spokesman Colleen Brennan said the board is beginning to negotiate with various audit regulators in Europe to see how it can proceed in each country inspecting audit firms that audit financial statements in U.S. capital markets. The board is hopeful it can reach bilateral agreements with individual regulators to perhaps gain access to work papers that will enable the board to fulfill its inspection mandate under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.”
IRS Offers Olive Branch to Business [CFO]
“The Internal Revenue Service has taken taxpayers’ comments to heart and revised its proposal on uncertain tax positions, in a way that is much more favorable to corporations. The final Form 1120, called Schedule UTP, and its instructions eliminate two draft requirements that companies argued were particularly onerous: the calculation and inclusion of a maximum tax adjustment for each position, and disclosures around positions that are not subject to an accounting reserve.
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced the release of Schedule UTP on Friday, in a speech delivered to the American Bar Association in Toronto. The agency has instituted a five-year phase-in period for filing the schedule, said Shulman.”
Job Interview Is Where Most Mistakes Are Made, According to Survey [FINS]
If you make a faux pas during an interview, rather than faint consider five suggestions that FINS has to keep your hopes alive.
PwC names industry leaders and academics as non-execs [Accountancy Age]
“Dame Karen Dunnell; Sir Ian Gibson; Professor Andrew Hamilton; Sir Richard Lapthorne; and Paul Skinner and come from the fields of business, academia and the public and professional services sectors.
They will sit on a newly-formed public interest body where they will be joined by partners fo [sic] the firm but have a majority.”
Cloud Computing: What Accountants Need to Know [JofA]
A crash course.
Finding Surprises in the Small-Business Jobs Bill [You’re The Boss/NYT]
“Most of the controversy surrounding the small-business jobs bill that cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday — after nearly a year of discussion — concerned a $30 billion small-business lending fund to be established by the Treasury Department.
But like most of the legislation, the lending fund is a temporary fix. It will make investments in banks for just one year. The tax breaks in the bill, worth about $12 billion, are mostly good for a year or two.”
Dodd-Frank Lets Small-Company Auditors Off the Internal Controls Hook: Putting a Partial Lid on the Sarbox [Re:Balance]
Jim Peterson reflects on Dodd-Frank’s ‘get out of jail free’ for small company filers.
Would “ObamaCare” (Health Care Reform) Tax the Sale of Your Home? Probably Not. [Tax Foundation]
“There has been a story and an e-mail floating around for some time claiming that the recent health care reform bill (PPACA) would impose a 3.8 percent “sales” tax on the sale of every home. The e-mail has been rightfully debunked by the usuals (Factcheck.org and Snopes), but here is what the bill would actually do regarding taxation of the sales of homes.”
Pastors Defy IRS On ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ [ABC News]
“The pastors, along with the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based nonprofit Alliance Defense Fund, planned today’s event as a reaction to a law stating that churches are not allowed to support politicians from the pulpit, according to the ADF.
The growing trend is a challenge to the IRS from the churches, and may jeopardize their all-important tax-exempt status. But some pastors and church leaders said they are willing to defy the law to defend their right to freedom of speech.”
We’ll kick things off a little early today as a young inquisitor has to prep for a big interview today.
Have a question about your career? Wondering if you should go back to your old firm after they dropped you like a sack of spuds? Concerned that the hours you’re working may cause you to blackmail your lover? Stop! Email us at [email protected] before you do anything so we can put your problem before the masses prior to you doing something stupid.
Back to our interviewing intern:
What would you say could be a stomping question for these Big 4 kids? Got the internship interview Monday! I think I need/want one of those.
We had no idea what “stomping” meant, so we asked for a clarification:
I’m looking for a thought provoking question regarding the industry or the big 4 in particular. I would like an astute question to ask.
Okay, then. You want to smart, up-to-speed on the world around you, without coming off insincere or patronizing. We can help.
Despite your curiosity, you must avoid questions about money, hours you’ll be working, drug tests, hooking up with superiors and so on and so forth at all costs. We realize the temptation to inquire about the frequency of happy hours and what the hottie ratio is but please refrain from broaching these subjects.
Now, then. It’s extremely important that you ask questions that are specific to the firm with whom you’re interviewing. There are tons of thought-provoking questions out there but if you really want to grab someone by their pin-striped ass and get them to look impressed, it will help for you to devise a question that is specific to that firm, as well as the local business environment of the office’s city that you’ll be living in.
This could require some research on your part. For example, find out if there are some local charities that the firm partners with regularly and inquire about what activities employees participate in (this is where the sincerity helps) and if there are any events scheduled during your internship. This will demonstrate your desire to participate in extra-curricular activities and your interest in giving back to the community.
Another example is to be familiar with some of the major players in the business environment in your city. If you brush up on the local business news and ask a relevant question to a recent event, your interviewers will recognize that you’re cognizant of the business environment and that you’re interested to see what the angle is from the firm’s perspective.
And posing the question to the appropriate person is important. Asking the second-year associate that’s greeting you at the interview about the potential in the venture capital space probably isn’t be as effective as asking a manager or partner the same question. Also, be careful with wonky technical questions. Sure, it may help you look smart but it could also backfire if the question comes off manufactured and awkward.
Bottom line – your questions need to be sincere and detailed. It will show your interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in their firm (and not thinking about the next firm you’re meeting) and also that you took the time to prepare. Oh, and smile for crissakes. It will make your question sound far more pleasant.
Yesterday the Journal got into the ranking act with their list of colleges based on recruiters’ preferences. The accounting program rankings aren’t too surprising but we called in the friendly HR professional and recruiting maven Dan Braddock to discuss the rankings. First things first however – the pecking order:
5. Penn State
10. Ohio State
What follows is my chat with Dan-o as he tries to break this dorong>: Okay, let’s kick this off. You sent me a link to some WSJ article about the school rankings based on recruiter opinions.
CJN: I did. Personally, I find it hard to take the list too seriously without Texas-Austin or Notre Dame on it.
DWB: It makes perfect sense as to why they’re not on the list.
CJN: Explain, that sounds like crazy talk.
DWB: This isn’t based on caliber of program; it’s a list of what recruiters find to be the “best” schools. Take a look at the list of Best Accounting Schools. First, those schools are huge; many of them are state schools. Recruiters get the most “bang for the buck” out of schools like this. Second, if you mapped these out, they’re schools that can can service as feeder programs for multiple offices. For example, Deloitte can visit UCLA and find potential candidates for their California and west coast offices. This removes the necessity to visit several smaller schools across the same geogrpahic region. Penn State services Philly, Pittsburgh, D.C., Baltimore, New Jersey, and New York City. Lehigh University in eastern PA is a much better accounting program than Penn State, but has a smaller geographic reach and a smaller pool of students.
CJN: But doesn’t the #1 school, BYU, buck that idea completely? Their enrollment is small by comparison and Salt Lake City is a relatively small market
DWB: BYU has more than 25,000 undergrads from every state in the country – again, national reach.
CJN: Fine but why no UT? The Texas market is huge and has national reach.
DWB: I admit, Texas is the one school that I was shocked not to see on the list – on the surface, it is large in size, has a well respected business program, and is nationally known. But dig deeper and it makes sense. Of their 38,000 undergraduates, only 8.5% are from outside the state of Texas. So applying that same percentage to the number of undergrads in the business school (4,500) that’s about 380 students. How many of them study accounting? My guess is not many. That said, accounting students interested in offices elsewhere (Chicago, LA, NYC) should have no problem landing interviews, as the local Texas recruiters from the Big4 blanket UT at Austin.
CJN: And Notre Dame? Why are they MIA? John Veihmeyer has to be pissed. And not just about the choke against Michigan.
DWB: Hahaha. I’m sure he voiced his frustration about both. He’s probably having nightmares about the most recent flop in South Bend. Again, it’s all about size of program. National name, yes, but when your business program is ~2,500 students in total…Also, remember that these rankings for best accounting programs is not just by Big 4 recruiters. This is everyone. Johnson&Johnson, regional mortgage firms, Disney, etc.
DWB: Obviously there is some kind of balance in play here. As a whole, all of these schools are nationally known and well respected in the industry; there are no schleps on the list. For recruiters, it’s all about efficiency of time and finances. A hotel room and flight to visit a school where hundreds of accounting students are salivating at the opportunity to work for you is impossible to pass up.
CJN: So everyone on this list belongs on it or are there other schools that are missing that should be in the top…11 (?)
DWB: Considering their proximity to one another I was suprised to see both the U of Minnesota and U of Wisconsin on the list but no, nothing too surprising. Since it is college football season, the Big Ten definitely has the SEC beat when it comes to accountants (6 v. 0 on the list). Maybe that’s why they’re better on the gridiron.
CJN: OR maybe it’s because it’s the SOUTH. My guess is that people don’t go to Vandy to get an accounting degree.
DWB: I am surprised not to see a school from the South – no UNC Chapel Hill
CJN: Fair point.
DWB: In closing, I think it goes to show that US News & World Report rankings are not the end all be all for recruiters. Nationally known names, established programs, and large alumni bases go a long way.
CJN: Right. And a good football team doesn’t mean shit (read: Alabama).
DWB: Below the belt, CN.
CJN: Whatevs. Can you explain the pachyderm? B/c I sure as hell can’t.
Potash says in talks for superior deals [Reuters]
“Potash Corp’s board urged shareholders to reject BHP Billiton’s hostile $39 billion offer and said it was in talks with a number of potential suitors for a superior deal.
Potash Corp, the world’s largest producer of potash based in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, said superior offers or other alternatives are expected to emerge.
Discussions are on with several of these third parties in order to generate superior offers, the company said in a statement.”
How to Shine in a Skype Interview [FINSying across the country for a second round of meetings, you may be asked to interview for a job from the comfort of your living room.
While it might sound less stressful to some than an in-person meeting, such an interview can be filled with landmines for job candidates.”
The Problem With a Non-CPA CFO [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
Francine McKenna guest-posts over at FEI for the second time, this time discussing the American Apparel situation and noting that 31 year-old CFO might be in over his head.
Goldfarb Branham LLP Investigating Shareholder Claims Against American Apparel, Inc. [Business Wire]
Speaking of APP, investigations are starting, “Goldfarb Branham LLP is investigating American Apparel, Inc. (APP 0.75, 0.00, -0.09%) due to allegations that the company may have issued materially inaccurate statements to investors concerning its 2009 financial results and the circumstances surrounding the replacement of American Apparel’s auditor.”
Movement afoot to increase diversity in accounting industry [Pittsburgh Business Times]
“Sam Stephenson, a partner at ParenteBeard LLC, a Downtown-based certified public accounting firm, brings an interesting perspective to the equation as a black man who has worked in the profession for nearly four decades. During his long tenure, he has seen improvements in efforts to recruit and promote women in the profession, but ethnic diversity still lags behind.
‘We need to bring this issue to the attention of individuals who run local and regional firms because they may not be aware that this is a problem,’ said Stephenson, who serves as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy, which enforces the licensing rules for CPAs. ‘A lack of diversity often means missed opportunities to attract talent and clients.’ ”
Preparer Costs Will Increase Some; Taxpayer Costs Will Increase More [Tax Update Blog]
Joe Kristan responds to fellow practitioner/blogger Robert Flach’s question of how the new tax preparer registration will affect costs for consumers more so than tax preparers.
Gays See Complex, Changing Tax Picture [Dow Jones Adviser]
“Gay couples are taking one step forward, one step back when it comes to their tax rights. Not to mention sideways.
The shifting landscape of new rules and initiatives makes it a big challenge to provide same-sex partners with good tax advice.
In Massachusetts, a successful challenge to a federal law denying gays tax breaks that heterosexual couples get could mean progress, but only if it stands up to an expected government appeal.”
Patrick Byrne Refutes Insider Trading Claims [Forbes]
I received the following question last week from a GC reader:
I don’t know if this is up your professional line of expertise, but could you touch up questions that auditors should expect to get in an interview?
Expert I am not, but I’ll do my best to help you all out.
Interview questions you should be ready for:
1. Why are you looking to leave your current situation?
DWB: Whatever you say, never speak poorly about your current situation. Many people make the transition from public to private; harp on the positives (great people/ great client exposure) but explain that you’re looking to transition into a good private situation.
2. Tell Me About Yourself
DWB: This is not an opportunity to rant and rave; no one cares that you were on the club water polo team in college. Provide a short, organized statement of your education; professional achievements and goals- describe your qualifications for the job and contributions you could make to the organization.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
DWB: With questions like this, you need to be careful not to threaten your interviewer, as it is likely that they will be your immediate superior and the natural promotion for you in a few years. It’s in your best interest to speak about long term growth with the company. i.e. – “I’d like to position myself in a firm like (Name) where I can learn, grow and be challenged – If I work hard and do my part, then I’ll grow with the firm and my future will take care of itself.”
Your goal should be to make it clear you’re thinking about the company in a long term sense, but not so much that you’re a threat to your soon-to-be boss.
4. What are your strengths?
DWB: Similar to the previous question, this is an opportunity to self yourself to the company. No one wants to hires someone that plans to come in and shake things up (unless it’s part of the job description). Focus on your natural, daily tasks – Team Player, Quick Learner, Efficient, Organized. Convince your interviewer by providing a real world example.
5. What are your weaknesses?
DWB: Do you sleep in on Fridays? Do you smoke 14 times a day? Whatever your real weaknesses are, avoid sharing them at all costs. Focus on the more HR-friendly ones – Trouble Delegating Work- Take too much on for yourself, etc. I suggest providing an example of how you recognize the weakness and what youre currently doing to make the best of the situation.