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(UPDATE) Recruiting Season: Public Accounting Salaries for The Starting Class of 2013

~ UPDATE includes updated salary info after a flood of new submissions. Thanks to everyone that wrote in.

Welcome to the final recruiting season roundup for 2012. Thanks for all your questions and freak outs this fall. If you ever encounter any interesting situations or simply have something on your mind that you want to run by us as you prance along in your accounting career, email [email protected].

Okay, here we are, the moment many of you have been waiting for. The moment you realize that next year's first year associates will be making a gazillion percent more than you did when you started your career at a public accounting firm. Yes, it's a sad state of affairs for you.

For the future first years out there – congrats! You are about to win the resentment of your superiors before setting foot in your sensible business casual shoes. 

Before we get to the numbers, a little bit of administrative information on what exactly we did here just because that will make this exercise slightly more legit.

Methodology – Uh, what? This is about as unscientific as data collection gets. Until we employ more sophisticated procedures (or you start scanning and emailing us your offer letters), you have the right to take our data as seriously as Big 4 communications teams take our emails and phone calls. That is, not very. We asked for starting salary details and you emailed them to us, sometimes without all the pertinent details. The population isn't large (~6090 submissions) but we hope more of you will share your offer details with us so we can compile the most accurate data possible. Our understanding is that there are some offices that haven't quite wrapped up recruiting (including most of NYC) so email us the details (salary, city, practice, sign-on bonus, etc.) to [email protected] and we'll continue to update this post.

Enough already. Here's the skinny on starting salaries for 2013 that we've compiled so far. 

Audit – UPDATED on 11.27.12

  • Average salary offer for auditors was $52,643.
  • Average salaries for the Big 4 firms were as follows: PwC – $53,700$53,214; KPMG – $51,600$51,833; Ernst & Young – $52,000$52,500; Deloitte – $52,750. 
  • The average offer for audit positions that were from non-Big 4 firms was $52,350 $52,893.
  • The range of audit salaries was $57,000 on the high end to $48,000 on the low end.
  • The highest offers received so far were in Chicago, DC, and Boston.
  • The lowest offer received so far was in Oklahoma City.

Tax – UPDATED on 11.27.12

  • Average salary offer for tax was $55,409$55,611.
  • We're withholding average salaries for Big 4 for now until we get more submissions.  For now we'll give averages for 3 of the Big 4: PwC – $54,666; E&Y – $53,375; Deloitte – $55,500. The submissions we have for KPMG so far don't get us to an average that even remotely reflects reality, so we'll hold off until we get more submissions. Send us your tax offer details, stat!
  • Ditto for non-Big 4 firms.
  • Tax salaries range from a high of $69,000 to a low $49,000.
  • The highest offer so far was in New York.
  • The lowest offer was in Greenville, South Carolina.

Other – UPDATED on 11.27.12

  • Only details for two (come on!) offers in non-audit/tax and they were both for IT Risk Assurance in Los Angeles: E&Y – $60,000 and PwC – $56,000. UPDATE – SEE BULLET #2
  • A few more details but not enough to share firm averages: The overall average for non-assurance, non-tax salary is $55,570 so far.
  • The highest salaries are in NYC: $61k-$62k.
  • The lowest salaries so far is in Salt Lake City: $51,000.

Internships – UPDATED on 11.27.12

We only received a couple handfuls of intern offer details but here they are:

Compensation ranged from $22 to $24$26.50 per hour but it was for a wide variety of firms including: Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, GT, Dixon Hughes Goodman, BDO, PwC, and McGladrey. And one tipster from a North Carolina school that shall not be named had this to share:

No KPMG office visit- Don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

UPDATE: With a few more submissions we can report that the average hourly wage for the interns so far is $23.95 per hour.

Sign-on Bonuses – UPDATED on 11.27.12

  • Sign-on bonuses were not that common this year but there were a few and those that did come in ranged from $1,500 to $3,000. UPDATE: The average sign-on bonus was $2,500. 
  • They given by all the Big 4 with the exception of KPMG and in both tax and audit. Oh, and there was this guy who went with PwC that reported that his bonus was a "Bonus: Long Sleeve T-Shirt….."

Other noteworthy Items:

  • Another source went with Deloitte, landing a $60k salary after "I went back to them and GT with the PwC offer," which was considerably less.
  • Surprising (no, really) news out of Oklahoma City: "For what it's worth, I received 3 other offers (2 from Big 4, 1 from a regional firm) and GT's starting salary was the highest."
  • One tipster was eager to share her experience with KPMG:

I wanted to note that while I interned in the KPMG Tax practice this summer in New York and Paris (I was a Global Internship Program participant, which means that I had the opportunity to work with some of our European clients at the KPMG U.S. Tax desk in Paris for the entire month of July – which it is also worth commenting that KPMG covered ALL of my expenses associated with that opportunity, including my flight, my studio apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and even a per diem allowance for my meals and the exchange rate difference), I received paychecks based on my same full-time annualized salary (plus overtime!!) but was also given a $2,500 (less applicable taxes, of course) "relocation bonus" since I lived out-of-state.

  • And another source was not impressed with Ernst & Young Charlotte:
Didn't apply to E&Y–too many nerds. They also made their people pick up all the recruits' used plates and cups at a campus event while the club's wait staff stood around and watched. Pretty good glimpse into the EY world right there.
  • And yet another from Hartford shared this sentiment and threw in KPMG for good measure:
Would just like to point out that I was not impressed with E&Y and KPMG at all. They both did not have office visits. What are they hiiding?
So this is where we stand for nowas of November 27th. As previously stated, this starting salary situation is fluid as more offers are made, so we'll keep you updated as we receive more info. Thanks to everyone that has shared their info with us.