October 1, 2022

there are no stupid questions

Someone Forgot To Ask These Questions In the Interview, So Asks Us Instead

Ed. note: Feeling torn between two job offers? Questioning your career choices? Maxed out your credit cards and can no longer afford Miss Cleo’s $2.99 a minute advice? Tap the career advice brain trust for insight and we won’t even charge you for it.

I have recently received full-time offers from two Big 4 firms.  One offer is for external audit, and the other is for internal audit.  Which career opportunity would be more advantageous for a young professional in terms of salary, hours worked/busy season, and opportunities both within and outside the firms?

Also, the internal audit position would be for federal clients only.  Would this impact the above criteria in any notable ways?

Jimmy Dean


Dear Jimmy Dean,

This is a like a buck-shot of questions that you should have asked during the interview process.  You never asked about what the hours are like?  What the salary growth is like?  What the long term career track would be in each practice line?  What the hell did you talk about in your interviews!?!  No really, I would like to know.  The questions you’re asking here make it seem like you did zero homework on this and instead pounded out a quick email to GC because it’s easier to ask for the RIGHT-UNDER-YOUR-NOSE answers than find them for yourself.  Sorry, but I’m not sorry.

My personal frustration aside, I’m sure members of the GC crew here will chime in and provide you some personal feedback.  I suggest you start with career websites for the Big 4 firms.  They offer a substantial amount of [HR polished] insight on career tracks.  A few years ago KPMG released an external version of their Employee Career Architecture tool.  It spells out the marketable skills earned throughout a career in different practices. Tip: if you’re using the tool to assess an internal audit career, KPMG lists it as IARCS under the Advisory practice line. The most useful information is under the “Explore” section of the ECA tool.  As for a career in external audit?  Oh I don’t know – try another Big4’s extensive website.  Thanks, Uncle Ernie.

As for the government-heavy client base – it’s not going to necessarily restrict your external career options should you choose to leave, however it can be a natural transition.  Again, you need to assess the skillsets each career track provides.

Things You Definitely Need to Take the CPA Exam

Rose from Sleep on CPA is still plugging away at the exam, but when I read her recent REG wrap-up, I noticed a funny bit she included about a fellow tester she encountered at Prometric:

I was so surprised to find a girl at Prometric who doesn’t even know what NTS is!!! She brought a print out of Prometric appointment confirmation. When a staff member was asking her for NTS, she was clueless. A staff member explained her what NTS is and told her to get a printout from her NASBA emails from a nearby Kinkos. I showed her my NTS and she came back with a print out of NTS and wrote her exam.

Can that possibly be true?! Given some of the very obvious questions I’ve gotten over the years, I guess anything is possible.

I’m sure none of you guys will ever have this issue but just in case, let’s go back over what you definitely need to sit for the exam.


1) A map to Prometric or a good GPS – Plug the address in the night before so you have one less thing to worry about on testing day.

2) GAS IN YOUR TANK – I hate to even have to say this but it’s come up (like I said, anything is possible). I’m the kind of person who plays chicken with my gas light, and it’s caused me to be late to work more than once. Fill up the night before.

3) Bring your unexpired, original NTS and AT LEAST two forms of acceptable identification – The number on your NTS will be used as your launch code to begin testing, so you definitely do NOT want to leave it at home. If you are unable to produce your NTS and two forms of identification that match it, you will not be allowed to test and will forfeit your exam fees for that day.

4) Bring extra ID just in case – In most cases, you’ll need an unexpired driver’s license and a credit card, but just in case Prometric staff have issues with your ID and want to hassle you, bring an extra bank card or credit card if you have one. Social Security cards are not accepted as identification for Prometric purposes.

5) Do NOT bring big items into the testing center with you – While you can stash your jacket or purse in Prometric lockers, they cannot accommodate golf bags, large suitcases, garbage bags full of recyclables, etc. So leave your crap at home.

Sorry for the remedial reminder, don’t want to leave anyone behind.