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Accounting Airman Called, You Answered

I’m not saying it never happens; the best is when one of you makes me laugh so hard I spray Racer 5 from my nose.

But better than that, when a bunch of you come together to help someone trying to break into the industry.

Some may take issue with the self-regulation of the accounting industry: its glass ceilings, elusive “work-life” balance, sexism, narcissism and general malfeasance. “Big 4 isn’t rocket science,” the comments read. Right. I don’t think anyone here would argue that it is but there is a sense of having earned one’s position in the glass ceilinged, work-life fucked, sexist, narcissistic sludge puddle.

That said, I feel like most of the regular readers of this site have of what works and what doesn’t. When I see someone get slaughtered in the comment section, first I laugh, then I think about what would prompt a majority of you to descend on this person like a pack of rabid pit bulls. This happens more often than not but I can’t help but think you all do this out of love and affection for your industry. Right.

Every now and then, you impress me. Sometimes it’s really subtle, like someone giving someone else a reality smackdown without making them cry. Other times, it’s an obvious rallying together to help a really useful individual thrive in this industry.

When DWB tried to give this 10 year military veteran some advice on breaking into public, he offered personalized assistance in pursuing this. No one called the guy old, made dick jokes, or said “I’d hit it.” Instead, he got advice like “Do a little reading on consulting careers at places like Bain, McKinsey, Boston Consulting, etc. Pay makes Big4 look like peanuts, and exit opportunities are way better (McKinsey is referred to as a CEO factory). Or, if your interest is finance, you can look at investment banking, private equity, asset management, etc. In the long run, all of those pay multiples of what public accounting does.”

Then the OP chimes in:

Hi everyone… original poster here. Thanks so much for the feedback! One thing I should note: I recently (as in 2 weeks ago) finished my BSAcc, so the 15 years out of school thing is not an issue. I have IFRS and SOX accounting training. I am fresh off of the degree and looking for more. Hope this helps with the feedback.

As far as the top 7 MBA program comments: thank you so much for the encouragement, but the primary setback to those options is the fact that I must find a job that pays similar to support my family, and I am not sure that I can make a move to one of those areas. Should I look into sacrificing some pay early on and make a stab for top 7 MBA? (I currently make about $50k per year, and dipping much below that could strain the family as my wife has not worked in years and may have trouble stepping into the door as a medical assistant). I also prefer the flexibility of online programs. I was curious: with programs like FSU doing online degrees, is this a viable option, or am I better off with brick and mortar? Also, is it even possible to get a 1 year MAcc from a big name university with my credentials? If so, where would I want to start looking? I am open to either an MBA (most like finance focused) or a MAcc, and I definitely prefer a prestigious college.

This forum has been wonderful and I appreciate everyone’s feedback and the support you show for the military. You are really a set of class act people!

Fuck. IFRS and SOX. My thought here is that you guys recognize talent when you see it, which I don’t think counts as narcissism when you recognize it in someone else. This person could be a real asset to the profession and it’s endearing to see you all try to help him make the most of that. Instead of hating on him. Or talking shit about the school he went to.

Apparently he didn’t see the “military to b4 eh? heres a tip…remove stick from ass, then insert much larger stick” comment or maybe he found that useful too. Anyway, he follows up later:

Hi everyone! Accounting Airman here again! I wanted to let you know that I am processing the wealth of information that has been provided to me. I have received several direct contacts and also the posts here. I am out of town for the next few days on military related duty, so I may be slow in responding to everyone. I will get my resume out to those who requested (assuming you have a proper e-mail account) when I return.

Thanks again for all of the support and direction. I am amazed and honored by the responses.


Accounting Airman

I don’t expect to see this often and frankly am glad I don’t but good job. It’s rare that I’m not ashamed to be associated with this website and, subsequently, a lot of you. I’m sure that’s mutual.

Well done. If the partners had any doubt about your collective abilities to pull this shit off, I hope a performance like this encourages them to show a little faith in you assholes. I have it after this.

Ken Lewis Should Have Been a CPA

KenLewisNOPEb.jpgWe know public accounting is hard. The unpaid overtime (*cough* perhaps PwC can tell you about that *cough*), busy season, the misconception that all CPAs are number-crunching mathletes, and, of course, the inconvenience of having to answer everyone’s obscure tax questions. “Dude, I don’t even WORK in tax, I’m an auditor.” “Yeah but I just have this quick question about a deduction…”
As bad as the CPAs may have it, they’ve got it easy compared to this guy. Poor Ken Lewis. Someone invite him to waste a few years in public accounting please, he’s getting pounded from every angle over here, poor bastard.
Let’s check the timeline – please compare to your busy season and see who has it worse if you’re still regretting your decision.
More on KL’s banner year, after the jump

Ken Lewis’ year started sucking in January after the Merrill bonus scandal erupted. This got NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on his back, eventually leading to the Fedgate scandal in which Lewis claimed Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson “threatened” the Bank of America CEO or kept him on a short TARP leash or some such “OMG did he really just say that?” revelation. He’d already come off a pretty rough year previous but you already know that story.
Bernanke and Paulson didn’t take getting fronted off too kindly (we can only assume) and Lewis hasn’t really gotten a break since. The guy couldn’t even sell his Porsche without feeling the heat. Now a judge is blocking the $33 million settlement he’d love to make with the SEC and some Citigroup reject is being groomed as his replacement. Burn. Oh, and then there are the JP Morgan analysts saying Bank of America will service the loans that TBW cannot since, well, it was raided by Federal agents and barred from making loans by the FHA.
So how bad do you really have it? We told you it could be worse. Next time you’re out there ticking and tying wondering how in the hell you’re going to spend the rest of your life that way, just think about Bank of America and remember you could be Ken Lewis right about now.
What we’d really like to know is: will Lewis be able to limp along for the next 3 years and make it to retirement before totally flipping out?