December 5, 2020

New Associates

Recruiting Season: It’s Decision Time; Dealing with Radio Silence; Stalling That Eager Firm

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 [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Question" in the subject line. Just a reminder – we're compiling the starting salaries for new associates […]

Inexperienced Audit Associate Is Curious What Happens Once Work Starts

What did public accountants do 20 years ago when they had to face a new career on their very first day without the guidance of the entire accounting community on the Internet behind them? This is why partners drink as much as they do nowadays. You're still allowed to drink but instead of heading to […]

New KPMG Associate Wants to Know What the “Deal” Is with Working Mothers

Yesterday we discussed the plethora of accounting firms that are pro-mom, according to Working Mothers. It seemed like a pretty simple idea – treat moms good = win; treat moms bad = Christ, what kind of hellhole firm are you running? Despite this elementary idea, there still is some questions out there:

GC,

On the subject of working mothers…what’s the deal with that? I’m a first year at KPMG and there is another first year who is already pregnant and taking maternity leave soon.

My question is, does she really get promoted on the same schedule as the rest of us? I get the importance of allowing some flexibility for working moms but does it make any sense to treat someone the same as the rest of us when it comes to raises and promotions when they’ve missed out on all the work? I’d love to hear what other readers have experience with this.

Thanks,

KPMG First Year

Well, the “deal” with working mothers is that not having policies that allow them to pursue a career and having a family is what I like to call “doing shitty business.” As to your specific question, the details aren’t clear. It’s not as if she will be on maternity leave for 6 months. KPMG offers up to 9 weeks of paid maternity leave, according to the firm’s profile on WM. That means that there are 43 other weeks (that assumes no PTO, obv) that she will be working. That doesn’t really qualify as “miss[ing] out on all the work” as you put it.

Those who are evaluating her performance should have a pretty good idea whether or not she’s capable of being promoted. Besides, it’s a jump from A1 to A2, not exactly a huge change in responsibilities or expectations. Furthermore, your raise from A1 to A2 isn’t going to be anything to write home about so getting worked up about whether or not she’s getting the same 11% bump as you isn’t worth it.

New Audit Associate Details Her First Busy Season Via the McGladrey Blog

Who knew that being able to ask all the questions you want is how you have a good busy season?

Via Success Starts Here, the McGladrey career blog meant to give you “[a] view into what it’s like to work for McGladrey”:

Starting as a new hire in Audit at the beginning of busy season was a little intimidating since not only were the hours lengthy but there was so much to learn. Would I be able to learn and understand things quickly? Were the clients nice? Would my team have the time or patience to sit down and teach me about the Financial Services industry? Those were the questions running through my mind during the first few days of orientation.

As I progressed through busy season, the hours got longer and the work load became heavier. I noticed the more work I was assigned the more questions I would ask. Thankfully, my team was very easy to work with since they were more than happy to take time out of their busy schedules to sit down and walk me through certain audit procedures. Knowing that I was free to ask any of my superiors questions made my first busy season experience that much easier.

The associate goes on to describe a bright spot in her busy season, 20 minutes taken to eat cupcakes sitting outside with the Private Equity gang. “Sitting outside and eating a simple cupcake made a world of a difference for the rest of the day,” she writes. Can you imagine having the kind of job where you appreciate the opportunity to take a cupcake break? Oh wait, I forgot who I’m writing for…

Not to be distracted by memories of that cupcake, Emmy wraps up on a positive note (it is unclear whether or not this is a requirement to post on the Success Starts Here blog) “As busy season came to an end, not only had I learned so many new skills but I also kept thinking to myself ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ Even though the hours are long and the work can be a little tougher in the beginning, working with a great team can make a world of a difference. It reminds me that I’ve made a great choice by choosing to work at McGladrey.”

Conveniently enough, McGladrey has added a jobs tab to its Facebook page if this entices you. All you self-loathing masochists out there know what to do.

Ernst & Young Video Accurately Portrays First Year Associates in Their New Habitat

This came by way of Jersey (this Jersey, you idiots) and the footage is incredible.

A few things that I observed and/or learned from watching this video:

1. “Duckling syndrome” is something I was familiar with but not that it had a name or was a syndrome.

2. All tax professionals seem to behave exactly the same, no matter where you encounter them.

3. Apparently this was filmed on a casual Friday based on the denim worn by the guy that appears at the 4:00 mark.

4. Timesheets are due at 5:30 on Fridays?

One thing that was less surprising:

1. “At some critical stage in their development, tax professionals generally fail to attain the basic skills necessary for social interaction.”

Leave your own observations below.

Experienced Associate Concerned About New Hires’ Salary; Is Having a Sit-down with a Partner a Good Idea?

Today in accountant avarice, a youth took a cut prior to their start date last year and now wonders if this year’s crop will be raking in more. Will bringing injustice to a partner’s attention help?

Have a question about your career? Need help crafting the perfect prose in an email to your firm’s CEO/Managing Partner? Are you a firm thinking about getting a makeover but don’t know where to start? Send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll give the best free advice you can possibly find.

Back to our accountant in the poor house:

I work at a regional firm for about one year now. Prior to my start date my offer was reduced due to the economy. After recent discussions with the partner, I was told that I will be getting a “raise” but even after the bump, my new salary is below my original offer amount. Is there any chance, new hires coming in can make more than I, because my revised offer seems below market and I think my firm will be offering higher salaries to the new hires to remain competitive? Also, should I bring this up to the partner’s attention because I don’t think that they know my salary has been reduced and how would I go about doing this?


First, before we answer your question more directly, we should point out that worrying about what other people are making at your firm will drive you crazy. But because of the world we live in, knowing whether a co-worker is making more or less than us is a God-given right, we understand your desire for this knowledge.

As to whether the new grasshoppers at your firm are making more than you, we suggest checking out our salary thread from late last year, our map that shows salary by region and this year’s Big 4 starting salary thread to give you an idea where you fall on the scale.

But the short answer is, yes, it is possible that your first year associate is making more than you.

Now, what to do about that exactly? Well, before you scream at the cruel and unusual universe for being completely unfair to you, do your research and get a really good idea of what you think you should be making. Nothing will get you thrown out of a partner’s office faster than, “I need a raise because I said so.”

But market research may not be enough. You’ll need to demonstrate to the partner getting your pitch why you’re a valuable resource for the firm and point to specific accomplishments that support your argument. As a second-year associate, that can be a pretty tough sell.

What have you accomplished in the past year? Are you making it rain? Are you a trusted go-to on anything and everything for your clients? Are you involved advancing the firm’s brand and culture and mentoring other colleagues to do the same?

Partners like to hear about all that stuff because A) it gets their blood boiling in the nether regions and B) it means that you care about making them (i.e. the firm) more money and advancing its reputation.

So yes, you can bring your concerns to a partner but be prepared to sell yourself all over again because it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” situation.

Is Ernst & Young Dishing Out iPhones to New Associates?

A soon-to-be E&Y associate would really like to get their very own version of Alan the Accountant but would prefer it if Ernie chipped in with the whole iPhone part of that equation:

I’m starting with Ernst & Young in the fall, and was wondering whether you know if Ernst & Young allows iphones to be used with their system like Deloitte? I don’t really want to ask a recruiter or anything just in case it looks bad.


For the record, some of the recruiters are easily rankled, so if there’s anything you don’t want to ask a Big 4 recruiter, you can certainly ask us.

Back to the issue at hand – if your memory serves, you’ll recall that Deloitte has been allowing all professionals to opt for the iPhone for awhile but it was just back in January that the firm quit charging you $13 a month for it.

But as far as E&Y goes, we’ve got no idea what the iPhone situation is, so enlighten the future associate.

Let’s Get Right to the Heart of this Thing

money.jpgAnd by that we mean money. We’ve started hearing rumors about the starting salaries for new associates and we don’t know what the hell to believe, so we need your help to set us straight.
We’ve heard $50k in Atlanta, $52k in Houston, $57k in DC and $61k in New York. Nothing yet from the left coast, so help us out. Sounds like signing bonuses are either significantly reduced and in some cases completely eliminated. Nothing has been firm specific but we’re guessing they’re all pretty close.
Talk to your fellow newly minted bean counters and find out the sitch on this year’s salaries and how it compares to last year’s newbies for your respective city. Also let us know if your start date has been pushed back. Discuss in the comments or send us the deets at [email protected].