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January 28, 2023

(UPDATE) Is It True You Get $20,000 From the Big 4 For Getting the Elijah Watt Sells Award?

Have a question for GC's exclusive team of underachievers? Get in touch and we'll do our best to do the research for you.
Hey GC Team (Adrienne/Caleb/MIA freelancer),
I'm a CPA candidate starting with the Big 4 this fall. I'm potentially in line to get the EWS award (FAR-94, AUD-96, REG-98, BEC on 8/14) and am wondering if there is a financial incentive to get this award, which would drive me to actually care about BEC and not blow it off as the catch-all almost-50%-of-people-pass joke that it kind of is.
I've heard rumors that PwC, EY, and Deloitte pay $20k if you get the award, but nothing on GC, another71, or any other blog/forum outright confirms or denies this rumor. I also don't want to call up HR and ask, since I haven't started yet and don't want that to be what I'm known for.
Is it true? Do any of the Big 4 offer a bonus for getting the EWS award?
OK so first of all, let me be the one to burst your bubble and tell you while your scores are impressive, you might be closer to the back of the line than the front with scores like that depending on how many CPA exam overachivers we've got this year. Considering how well candidates have been performing on the exam thus far this year, I wouldn't get your hopes up too high (you're used to that, you're in public accounting after all).
In order to qualify for the award, you have to obtain a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections, take them within the same calendar year and pass on the first try. That means you've got to get at least a 94 on BEC just to qualify and hope that there weren't too many 98/98/99/99 freaks ahead of you absolutely killing it on the exam this year. Get a 93 on BEC and you're automatically out.
Anyway, as for the bonus, we too have heard this rumor and it turns out there is some truth to it. While E&Y, Deloitte and KPMG all blew off our attempts to contact them and confirm, our lovely contact person at PwC had guts enough to tell us that the $20,000 bonus is in fact real. We're still not sure about the other firms obviously but since we all know they like to copy each other, we can pretty safely assume each offers some kind of extra incentive for their staff to overperform on the CPA exam, we just don't know what it is. I have read elsewhere that all Big 4 firms offer the $20,000 bonus but since no one ever returns our calls, we just don't know. If anyone has confirmed bonuses for EWS at their firm, do this kid a favor and let us know in the comments.
Good luck!
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