How to Absolutely Kill It at Virtual Recruiting and Interviews
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 […]
Talking About Race, Mega Lawsuits, That Oscars Screw-up and More: A Conversation With PwC’s Tim Ryan
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 […]
KPMG UK Succumbs to Millennials’ Bellyaching on Slow Recruitment Process
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 […]
That Time an Accounting Firm Recruiter Told Me That My Personality Sucked
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, […]
What Career Questions Do You Have for Facebook’s Controller?
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 […]
The Hottest Silicon Valley Accounting Startup: A Conversation with inDinero Founder Jessica Mah
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 […]
From Public Accounting to Conversations as Content: An Interview with ReplyAll’s Ari Gold
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 […]
Here Are Just a Few Questions You’ll Be Asked in a Big 4 Interview
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 […]
The Real Reason Millennials Can’t Find Work: They Stink!
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 […]
Scott London Talks About Relationships, Rolex Watches and How He Hates that Parking Lot Picture
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 […]
Ex-KPMG Partner Who Gave Insider Tips to His Former Golf Buddy Is Going to Talk About Ethics Before He Goes to Prison
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 […]
If You Can’t Get a Job, It’s Probably Because You Suck at Interviews
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 […]
Contrary to What You May Have Heard, Thank You Notes are Still Appreciated
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 […]
Accounting Career Conundrums: Put Down the Pot or Take a Gamble on Another Offer?
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 […]
Exclusive: Inside the Mind of an Elijah Watt Sells Award Winner
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 […]
The Accountant’s Definitive Guide to Interviews, Part Two
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 […]
The Accountant’s Definitive Guide to Interviews, Part One
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) […]
Is There a Hidden Message in This Interview with Grant Thornton’s Stephen Chipman?
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 […]
The Most Interesting Thing We Learned in This Interview with PwC’s Head of Corporate Responsibility Is That She Lives in the Old Playboy Mansion
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 […]
Four Things to Remember Before You Leave Public Accounting
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 […]
So…Your Mother-in-law Is a Partner at a Competitor of Your CPA Firm…
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 […]
Here Are a Few Ridiculous Things Deloitte’s Punit Renjen Said in a Recent Interview
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 […]
We Read Another Vapid, Metaphor-riddled Interview with a Deloitte Bigwig So You Don’t Have To
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 […]
We Read This Awful Interview with Deloitte’s Joe Echevarria So You Don’t Have To
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 li we’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]
Grover Norquist Denies Having Republican Congressional Members By Their Pubes
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.
Freaked Out Recruit Needs Fashion Tips for PwC Leaderhip Program
Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].
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 busine isk 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.
PwC’s Dennis Nally Reminds Everyone That Audits Aren’t Designed to Detect Fraud, Wants to Meet the Pope, Isn’t Interested in Joining You for Hot Yoga
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.
How Can a Prospective Intern Relate to a Partner During an Interview?
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?
Recently been fired? Need a contingency plan? Worried about backlash? Email us at [email protected]