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Would-Be Audit Noob Struggles With Picking a City (After Already Picking a City)

I’m pretty sure this isn’t a troll and this guy actually wants to know if this is OK. I have some location-based advice having lived in that area for over a decade, hoping you guys can fill in the rest. What would be the etiquette on this?

I am starting with a Big 4 firm in a little over a month in their San Jose office. However the more that I think about where I want to be and the housing options available I am more interested in San Francisco. Would I be risking my offer by asking to transfer so late in the game?

If it matters at all, I have heard from a friend in the SF office they are still looking to fill a few entry level audit positions.

Are you kidding me? You’re trying to kick off your career as “that guy” (don’t think recruiters aren’t tweeting amongst themselves all the time; you will get talked about) over the difference of a 45 minute drive. I could understand if you were struggling between New York and Los Angeles (with tail and good salary potential in both relative to cost of living and actually being able to enjoy the apartment you pay too much for) but you’re within the same metro area. San Jose isn’t that bad and you have the advantage of being able to “escape” city life to some extent when you are not actually at work.

Would you be risking your offer? Did you sign it? Did you feel like it was right at the time but now think a handful of miles will be worth considering that bridge burned?

But living in San Jose means you don’t live in the thick of it. San Francisco is fun to visit and great on paper but after a few years, it gets really old. You’re already putting yourself through life in the Big 4, why make that worse by also subjecting yourself to guys peeing on the Muni and those damn grey speckled recycled blankets everywhere? What makes you more interested in San Francisco?

In your copious amounts of free time, you can drive near San Francisco, BART in, enjoy yourself a paper-bagged PBR and BART your ass back to the San Bruno parking lot and retreat back to your San Jose lair. It’s practically like being in San Francisco.

If you haven’t actually signed the offer, you could try to get a lead on “your friend’s” firm; tell them unsubstantiated rumors are one thing but calls from HR are another. I’d advise against rejecting the San Jose firm’s offer without having some sort of reasonable assurance (bleh) that the San Francisco office actually wants you but with less than a month to go, you better have started pursuing that yesterday. I assume you don’t have the luxury of doing this in person; if you were local, you would know San Jose and San Francisco are pretty much the same thing if you are talking about money but there’s also a quality of life issue here that you need to look long and hard at.

If you still like this idea, please go read So You’re Moving to San Francisco by Twitter API lead Alex Payne. I’m not trying to talk you out of it, I’m just asking you to really think this through before you screw yourself in San Jose. If you signed the offer, you should do the grownup thing and suffer through it for two years like everyone else. Then once you are sufficiently jaded, have passed the CPA and have the work experience to get the actual license, you are more than welcome to bail on the firm after the competition in San Francisco poaches you.

The market is not that good to allow you the opportunity to get this picky unless you are an Elijah Watt-Sells winner, 4.0 MAcc superstar or putting out. A lot.

LECG Fire Sale Continues; San Fran Forensic Accounting Group Joins FTI Consulting

After last week’s news of LECG Corp. selling off pieces of itself to FTI Consulting, Grant Thornton and WeiserMazars, today the company announced that it has also sold its forensic accounting practice in San Francisco to FTI:

Professional services firm LECG Corporation (NASDAQ: XPRT) announced today that it has transitioned its San Francisco forensic accounting practice to FTI Consulting, Inc. The transition involves approximately 25 employees.

Not only that but the pieces left are also up for bid for anyone interested, although common shareholders shouldn’t expect to see anything:

With the advice of its restructuring advisors, LECG continues to negotiate the transition of all practice groups remaining after today’s transaction and transactions disclosed in previous public communications. LECG will use the proceeds from all practice group transitions to repay the $27.8 million in principal outstanding under its credit facility. The company will use the balance of any proceeds to make payments to other creditors. Contractually, if there is any remaining value available to equity holders, it would be first allocated to the company’s outstanding preferred stock. The company believes that the transitions and these transactions will not result in any proceeds for the common shareholders.

The Philly Business Journal reports that the company still has about 500 employees left but at the rate things are going, they’ll be elsewhere by St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck to everyone affected.

LECG Transitions Parts of Forensic Accounting Practice Group to FTI [LECG]
LECG jettisons another practice group, this time in San Francisco [PBJ]
WeiserMazars Moves into Chicago as Part of Acquisition of LECG Units [GC]

CFO Survey Finds Signs of Life for Accountants in the Bay Area Job Market

In the CFO survey du jour, San Francisco CPA firm Armanino McKenna LLP (“the 37th largest CPA firm in the nation”) says that, as far at the Bay area is concerned, CFOs are looking to hire more accounting staff in the second half of 2010.

More than 40% of those surveyed in the San Fran neck of the woods are planning on it and they aren’t looking for newbies. No, they’re looking for the slightly grizzled, slightly jaded types that are wasting away in their current cube farm. “[T]he most desired new hire is the mid-range accountant, such as an analyst, staff or senior accountant,” sayeth the press release.

As for the rest of the country, things are probably still up in the air but we’ve got to start somewhere.

So if you’re sick of your current city and really want a new job, hoof it out west. If you’re lucky, maybe Adrienne will let you crash at her place. Just try to keep the CPA exam questions to a minimum.

CFOs Predict Increased Accounting Hires in Last Six Months of 2010 [PR Newswire]