• Career Center

    Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Accept a Full-Time Offer From a Public Accounting Firm

    By | August 3, 2015

    Public accounting firms are wrapping up their summer internships and unless one did something horrifically wrong, most can expect full-time offers.

    Most will accept without a moment of thought or hesitation, but a few perplexed summer interns may be wondering if they should take the offer or not. If you have an offer and are feeling unsure, consider the following when making your decision.

    Why You Should Take the Offer

    • Business bootcamp. Transitioning from student to full-time working professional is a big deal. Even if you worked multiple jobs or had a full-time gig in college, joining the ranks of a professional services firm is different. You can think of this phase of your career as in-depth professionalism training. Working in public accounting provides you the opportunity to see a variety of businesses and industries. To this end, it almost doesn’t matter what type of work you do for the first two years out of college.
    • Starting salary. Unsure if you enjoy debits and credits?  Who cares?!  Use this time as opportunity to pay down your student loans or save up to travel the world.  That salary can carry with you to future employment. When you apply for another job down the road, you will be asked to share your current salary.  Prospective employers attempting to lure you away are likely to at least match it.
    • Big 4 still counts (for some). Another reason you may want to take an offer — which I don’t believe to be true but will mention for the trolls — is people still believe there is a lot of value in having a Big 4 firm on your resume. I don’t see this as a deal breaker. Smarts, related work experience, the CPA designation, and your network will all support you in getting a big-wig industry job down the line. 

    Don’t Take the Offer If…

    • If you hate accounting. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You won’t be engaged in a career that you aren’t excited about from day one. You should also decline the offer if you didn’t feel like you fit in with the firm culture and/or saw anyone you don't want to be like someday. You are going to be spending more time with your colleagues than your significant other. You will want to enjoy your company and surround yourself with behaviors that inspire you.
    • If you're accepting the offer out of sheer laziness. You should find another career path. Public accounting abhors laziness.
    • The job today does not serve the future you envision. This is perhaps the most important reason you shouldn’t accept an offer. A lot of people start off in public because they see it as a vehicle for an industry job down the line. If, for example, you want to become a restauranteur, grinding out a few years in public accounting may not help you reach that goal.

    All in all, public accounting is a great place to start one’s career. Unlike most many other majors, you won’t have to worry about what you will do once you graduate. You can start off with a great salary and be part of a start group comprised of people close in age and in the same chapter of life. But you got to be in it — physically and emotionally — to win at it.

    • BasisPoints

      I truly hope the interns read this article and heed its advice. Over 50% of staff satisfy at least one of the three “do not accept the offer” criteria listed here, and every single one of them is disheartened with their lives.

    • taxintern

      F1000/F500 job descriptions ALWAYS list Big 4 experience either required or preferred for tax/accounting/IA positions, saying it doesn’t hold weight is simply naive. Person who never went FT into B4 says B4 experience doesn’t matter. Hmmmm.

      • N.E.R.D.

        What the job description says isn’t gospel. I think weighing job requirement descriptions as having much weight is naive. There are more important factors (e.g. who do you know at the company?) Most job postings nowadays have extremely high requirements for the pay; it’s common knowledge to go ahead and apply anyways if you’re in any way close.

        • New Bee

          That’s besides the point. The applicant with PwC, Deloitte, EY, or KPMG experience will always beat out the applicant from a smaller firm, assuming both are at least somewhat comparable in other areas like years of experience and not having connections. If hiring managers really don’t care that people have Big 4 experience, they wouldn’t put it on the job posting. There will always be some here and there who do not have Big 4 experience and beat them for the position, but from what I’ve seen, that is only in cases where they have always done corporate for publicly traded F500 and the position being applied for is corporate. Small firm public accounting experience > Big 4 public accounting experience will almost never happen.

          • N.E.R.D.

            “assuming both are at least somewhat comparable in other areas like years of experience and not having connections.”

            My point is that this is a weak assumption, and I pointed to having strong network connections as to why. Every job posting will have candidates with various mixes of “other” non-resume attributes to bring to the table (network, interpersonal, management skills, problem-solving skills, etc.). Simply hoping that B4 on paper will outweigh other candidates is unrealistic.

            • New Bee

              The OP’s comment was to state that Big 4 does in fact have a lot of weight. In comparing Big 4 to non-Big 4, we should hold all the other variables constant. Otherwise, then yes, someone with Big 4 may not get the job over someone without. But I wouldn’t say that’s a meaningful comparison. Unless you think being non-Big 4 inherently means that someone can make more connections than Big 4, but we both know that is ridiculous.

            • N.E.R.D.

              When evaluating real life events with real life human conditions, we should hold conditions as similar to reality as we can. This is the real world, not a homework problem or financial model.

              The reality of it is that candidates are almost never linearly comparable with “all other variables constant”. You’re never going to have applicants that are equal in every way except they are B4 vs non-B4. It is unrealistic to assume you will.

            • New Bee

              Last comment and my lunch break is over. You don’t know how many connections you will have or that you will be able to able to beat the other applicants in the “other” areas. You have a Big 4 offer and non-Big 4 offer. If we are only talking about helping future job prospects, why wouldn’t you choose the one that clearly means something because it is on most F500 job postings?
              Anyway, that is my opinion from what I’ve seen. I went Big 4 >> corporate >> corporate and have been in the recruiting process at least once at each place. Take what you will from that. If there are college students reading this, that would be my input.

            • N.E.R.D.

              “If we are only talking about helping future job prospects, why wouldn’t you choose the one that clearly means something because it is on most F500 job postings?”

              We’re debating the worth. That’s kind of my whole angle. Just because it’s listed on F500 job postings doesn’t mean it’s very valuable.

              Is it worth something? Sure. Worth dictating the direction of your career over? Debatable. Hence, we are debating.

              My point is that you can make up that “value” elsewhere and with different skills you develop at a different tier of firm. At that point your skills will dictate where your most advantageous job is (see @advisorynerd:disqus’s post about manager’s recruitment).

          • advisorynerd

            This is simply not true. Such an absolute statement…probably more than likely the B4 candidate gets the gig, but that is certainly not always the case. In many cases hiring managers will have a reason to prefer someone from a regional or smaller firm.

            For example, I’ve known multiple tax directors who chose to hire out of regional firms instead of B4 because they wanted someone who had exposure across FED, SALT, International, etc. A lot of B4 candidates are intelligent by highly specialized, and if a tax manager wants someone with a broader skillset for a 2-3 year experience job, it’s not a given that they will go straight for the name brand.

            • New Bee

              Yes, I agree the statement probably shouldn’t have been so absolute.

          • bob2222

            HR writes those postings. If it’s an absolute tie between candidates then maybe big 4 wins. But overall it’s about who is the better candidate at the interviews. The Big 4 name gets you the interview, not the job. The weight comes from seeing it on the resume. If you’re the inferior person in interviews, your resume won’t save you.

            So yes, it’s good to have on your resume. But a CPA from a national is strong resume item too. The difference is not as large as people make it out to be.

      • LikeABoss

        It holds weight, but I’d say it’s more of a check-the-box thing that helps companies weed out dip sticks. I’ve got a great industry job at a multi-billion dollar company, and never worked a day at the big 4. I worked hard at the regional firms I was employed at, learned how to perform my function, and networked my ass off. Having said that, I’m not sure how many people I worked with at regional firms could (or would) go about managing their career how I did, but I think Leona’s point is that it can be done if you’re ambitious. and not a dip stick.

        • LikeABoss

          Amber, not Leona. Sorry about that.

      • bob2222

        And F1000/F500 IT jobs ALWAYS list “10 years Office 2011 experience required”.

        HR writes those. It’s completely meaningless so they always write down any credentials they can think of.

        I’ve had a F200 (in their financial reporting dept.) and F30 (FP&A-is role) job without even STARTING in public accounting (starting in the fall). If you think you need big 4 to get into F500 you’re blind to how the business world works. I may have stuck around with the F200 and forgone public altogether if there wasn’t funding cuts and layoffs towards the end of my stint (govt contractor). Neither the controller or the accounting director had any Big 4 experience, and this is a large publicly traded company.

        If a Big 4 alum comes in and acts like an arrogant asshole, the mid tier candidate will get the job. It’s that simple. Big 4 resume gets you the interview, not the job. There are plenty of smaller firm alums who can totally outclass a Big 4 alum at a F500 job, and any decent hiring manager knows this.

        • taxintern

          yeah, not the case, the people requesting the hiring require that experience to be requested, how else do you think the recruiters know to list it in the description? it doesn’t matter who actually writes it. no one said it was the only way, i’m just saying it’s the easiest way to have experience that trumps everyone else who doesn’t. and congrats you had one unique personal experience at 1 public company, therefore, everything else is the same. i have seen big 4 alum heading up all tax/fp&a/accounting/fin rep departments at all my clients. (F500).

      • McValue Meal Audit

        what you know, who you know, and how you sell yourself will get rid of any big 4 requirement.

        • keepin_it_real

          True but generally speaking, working at a big 4 allows you to know a lot more and allows you to know a lot more people over a non big 4 firm.

    • OverlyCaffeinatedCPA

      I would say, even if you don’t feel public accounting is for you, go with the highest bidder and save as much as you can and get a more enjoyable job in a couple years. In my experience in public accounting at the staff and in-charge levels and with the recent staffing shortages, you can go a couple years without making any real meaningful contributions, before anyone notices or cares much. Firms just need bodies to dispatch to client offices; over the past couple years or so, the expectations of professionals at the staff and in-charge level continue to get lower and lower to allow for this strategy to be effective.

      • advisorynerd

        lol, this is so sad and pathetic

        • dumpus

          and incredibly accurate. in my experience, one could easily identify the ones who came in knowing that they were only going to let themselves suffer through B4 for a finite period of time. of those, very few made the crossover to eventually become True Believers and see exactly how far down the B4 rabbit hole they could go. of those of us who came in knowing we had one foot out the door, it generally took about 6 months to determine the exact level of input and involvement it took to make sure the paychecks came in on a regular basis.

          • advisorynerd

            maybe, it’s just depressing to think about, what a meaningless existence.

            • BasisPoints

              No more meaningless than caring about public accounting, and putting forth your best effort – it’s still meaningless work either way, so why try hard?

            • advisorynerd

              I know it’s cool to loathe working in public accounting, and while a lot of accounting/finance jobs can be called meaningless in certain contexts, if you really are just showing up to collect a paycheck instead of learning and developing, I feel really sorry for you (not you specifically, I know you don’t fall into this category, just in general). I’ll be the first to pile on talking shit about public, but a lot of it is in good fun, at least from my side.

              I hate the hours that I work, but I actually enjoy the technical aspects of the work I do and enjoy helping clients and getting exposed to different things within my specialty area. If I really saw no value in what I do everyday to either the client or my own development, and I worked 60+ hours a week, I’d have to consider offing myself, because that is a miserable existence.

              Do you really think the vast majority of staff/seniors in public find no value in their day to day work and are only there to get paid? Could be true, but I would hope not.

            • buthurt

              I think a lot of the Senior 1 class start feeling that way after busy season. 3 years is enough to burn out most people, especially if you are on some bad clients or if your firm is doing major quality initiatives.

            • dumpus

              i don’t want anyone to think that just showing up to collect the paycheck and learning/developing are mutually exclusive though. i learned a ton about my clients, their businesses, and how to properly account for/audit their business. i learned a ton of technical accounting in a short amount of time that i likely wouldn’t have had the change to learn anywhere but in public. i honestly didn’t care about the team leadership development aspects (accounting is my second career, i’m comfortable with my skill in that area), and i didn’t care about climbing further into the B4 sarlacc and becoming a partner someday. i came in with a plan for what i wanted to achieve, got what i wanted out of it, and promptly stepped away so as not to be deadweight.

              and in my honest experience, i do think that a majority of staffers/seniors *do* have a difficult time grasping the value-add proposition of their work and how it relates to anything other than their career progression. i think that once a staffer/senior matures enough professionally and (if?) develops a profound understanding of their client and their business as a Sr Manager or so, they begin to fight those “good vs evil” battles and start to see themselves as a true value-add component, and get to enjoy the warm and fuzzy feelings that accompany that type of accomplishment. as a staffer/senior, sometimes its difficult to see the forest of value for the trees of testing procedures.

            • BasisPoints

              This is the real question though, isn’t it? Does the “forest of value” even exist if you don’t chug the kool-aid? Does testing in a better/worse manner, selecting just the right procedures, actually add any value whatsoever?

              The audit does not intrinsically add any value to the client. It might help them quality for lines of credit, it might allow them to trade with certain brokers, it might allow them to remain publicly listed… but these attributes were intrinsic to the company already – auditors only give an opinion on it.

              Perhaps the opposite of what you postulated is true – perhaps the staff and seniors understand the meaninglessness BECAUSE they perform the procedures, while the sr managers and partners believe there is value because 1) they have deluded themselves into believing they’re important, and 2) are detached from the reality of the testing, instead seeing only their meetings with client leadership as their biggest use of time.

              It’s not unprofessional to come to terms with the meaninglessness of one’s job – in fact it shows a certain amount of professional maturity when someone can still apply themselves to something they know has no value prop to anyone besides the partners.

            • advisorynerd

              What I don’t understand though is why these fresh college grads come into a career in accounting and expect to add value. They had 2-3 years of rigorous accounting courses that basically showed them exactly what they would be doing. It’s called financial reporting because you are reporting numbers AFTER the fact, when it is too late to add value. If you want to add value at some point in your career, and you are a younger staff in public accounting, work hard, network, and learn as much as you possibly can, that way in 10 years you can actually have a job in industry that adds value. You certainly aren’t going to get there by mailing it in for a few years because nobody is paying attention to what you actually do.

              There just seems to be a never ending wasteland of 2nd year associates who expected their career to be something that was never in the cards, and are stuck either being miserable or trying to figure out which MBA program can get them into iBanking or MBB, where they will likely find that their value add proposition hasn’t gotten that much better. I’m fascinated by it and am just trying to understand it. I’m only 30 myself, so I don’t want to say it is a generational thing, but it just doesn’t make any sense. If you feel like need to add value, and that you are ready to add value as a 22 year old college grad, why would you sign up to join a B4 firm as an auditor after 3 years of classes and an internship or two have shown you that you are going to be doing nothing but tying out stupid workpapers that nobody cares about?

            • N.E.R.D.

              In college, your accounting courses are not ticking WPs and rolling SALY. Courses often test you from a CFO’s POV (like the CPA Audit Exam. When does knowing the structure of an opinion letter affect staff 1?). Accounting classes explore diverse subjects, aren’t pressured with budgets, and still operate with “Monopoly Money” aka no real world consequences for mistakes.

              If you expose young minds to this only and feed them kool-aid during recruitment, this is why you see so many shattered dreams during the second year. It’s when the realization that grunt level accounting work is rote and relatively valueless sinks in. They don’t go in with that mindset; it’s when reality replaces perception.

            • dumpus

              i think that the basis of the problem is that for me, both undergrad and b-school were infected with the mantra of “always be adding value”, and a significant number of my accounting/finance/business courses were predicated on identifying and exploiting the value-add prop. there seems to be a disconnect between what is taught in college vs what is done in the real world (no shit) that manifests itself as a cadre of 2nd and 3rd year associates who are looking for the solution to their existential crises at the end of a rolled up $20. or at least that’s what a guest stint at in my firm’s Philly office indicated.

            • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

              “rigorous accounting courses”


            • dumpus

              to answer the first part, i honestly think it does to a point. i didn’t realize it in my time in B4, but once i got to industry and worked on the opposite side of the table from the controls auditors and IT auditors, i did see where managers and directors were working with us to help find solutions to problems that not only helped mitigate audit issues, but also operational aspects of how our corp controllership and IT performed. scope creep or not on their end, its still something in the smaller day-to-day scheme of things. and we’re all pretty much day-to-day.

              i fully agree that the opposite may be true as well. i’ve seen more than a few engagement-level managers move up to become sr managers or directors and get that MiB mind-ray eraser thingy and immediately forget about their prior lives. but so long as they feel that they’re adding value somewhere, no matter how minuscule, they’re convincing themselves that they’re in a cush little place, which is more than the staff excel jockey can say.

          • OverlyCaffeinatedCPA

            I would say there are still some high performers out there, but they aren’t in the majority and that’s partly our fault (those of us that are are managers or higher). Perhaps one starts off with the initiative and motivation, but after a couple years of getting the same raise as your counterparts that ‘work from home’ and always seem to be filling their Facebook feeds with pictures from daytime baseball games and circumstances of the like, maintaining the same level of motivation gets hard. Public accounting is an industry that creates some of its own problems, like this. Then, take into account that with a couple years experience, most staff or in-charges can make more and work less by leaving public accounting and when they do, we blame the Millennial generational shift.

            • buthurt

              That’s the process I went through. I worked my ass off for 3 years, but still got similar raises as my peers who didn’t have to work nearly as hard. I also start to feel that whatever I did was pretty much meaningless, I’m just pushing the papers these days.

    • New Bee

      I usually agree with most of Amber’s writing, but I felt compelled to offer my opinion in somewhat contrast to her “Why You Should take the Offer” points. The third bullet, which is de-emphasized here, is literally about the ONLY reason you should choose to accept the offer, besides having partnership aspirations. The pay at Big 4 sucks ass (relatively), at least in audit and tax. And you have a million other options for a “business bootcamp” experience that won’t drive you half insane and crush your soul.
      Sure, you can still make it in the long run without Big 4 experience. But that’s like telling kids they don’t need good grades in school to do well in their careers. Yeah, I guess it’s possible and it happens, but why would you take those odds when you have a choice?

      • N.E.R.D.

        Lay off the kool-aid man. You are parroting exactly what they tell you during recruiting events.

        It’s actually pretty easy to make it without B4 experience. However, B4 have a vested interest in making you believe that this is untrue so that you’ll put up with their shit for longer.

        • advisorynerd

          Having B4 on your resume tells the recruiter at a prospective job that you were competent enough to make it through the interview process and get an offer, so you aren’t a complete social idiot and can come off intelligently. There are other ways to convey this to a potential hiring manager as well. A staff 3 at EY compared to a staff 3 at regional firm X. both with solid ratings, is essentially the same thing.

          I do think that after the senior level, in some areas, the experience and technical expertise that a recruiter would expect from the same candidates, say as a second year manager, would probably be much different. This is still more a function of the type and size of the clients, not necessarily the inteligence of the professional. So if regional firm auditor has audited middle market manufacturers for 6 years compared to EY auditor who has audited large multinational manufacturers for the same time, a F100 manufacturing co recruiter will pick the EY guy no question.

          • N.E.R.D.

            By manager, you’re committed and probably pretty sure which direction you want to steer your career. This article is talking about the crucial early years and whether to even go into accounting/B4.

            However, I do believe your assessment is correct re managers level recruiting.

    • Point and Clique

      “If you hate accounting.”

      Good luck finding your dream job, then, especially in the age of automation. There are only a handful of people on earth who like accounting, and if you meet one, RUN. They tend to infect other people with unnecessary work.

    • These discussions inevitably turn into “Big 4 v everyone else” arguments.
      Can we settle this already? Big 4 does two things other firms cannot do:

      1. Makes it as easy as it can for you to find a job in industry
      2. Can give you a bigger breadth of exposure to different industries, company sizes, and other opportunities (i.e. service lines, global rotations, city transfers, special projects) than any other firm can give you.

      It does not mean:

      1. The name will do everything for you
      2. Other firms don’t give similar types of opportunities (just not in the breadth of a Big 4
      3. The brand name on your resume will beat a great and deep network. Networking wins out 9/10 times. The only time it doesn’t is when specific skills are needed in a specific timeframe.

      All Big 4 does is to make it easier for proactive and motivated individuals to effectively manage their career, professional development, and network. If you do none of these, at least you have the name on the resume.
      There’s nothing that says that someone else can’t be successful with a different firm or background. Just that it might or might not be harder to get the end result.

      • N.E.R.D.


        • Non Big 4 firms are inferior and so are its people.

          • Quixote’s BFF

            Broseph preaching the truth! #Quixoterules

      • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

        Big 4 100% does not give “a bigger breadth of exposure to different industries, company sizes, and other opportunities”. If you want diverse experience, you are better off at BDO or Grant in a smaller market. You will be WORKED TO THE BONE, but you will get the diverse experience you crave. Big 4 will put you in an “industry group” before you even start.

        • Have you worked at a Big4 before? Because that’s not how it works. Consider the type of opportunities you can have access to and in a much larger scale:

          Small, private clients? Check
          Start ups? Check
          Small, public clients? Check
          Large, private clients? Check
          Large, public clients? Check
          Government clients? Check
          Not for Profits? Check
          Benefit Plans? Check
          IPOs? Check
          Mergers and Acquisitions (audit)? check
          Opportunity to work on all types of industries? Check

          While I was on the big 4 I worked on all types of clients. Government, financial services, manufacturing, service companies, technology, real estate, hospitality, not for profits etc. Don’t forget, Big 4 has small offices. And in those cases your experience may be very diverse client-wise.

          But that’s not even the point I was trying to make. Granted, I didn’t do a great job of explaining…but my main point is that someone at a Big 4 has access to all these opportunities. Not only that, but there’s more of these opportunities just due to the sheer size of the firm. Someone who can successfully manage their career has more resources at their fingertips.

          Perfect example: Mcladrey recruiters reached out to me because they were expanding their M&A due diligence practice to other parts of the US and they needed people. Yes, that means they have just *started* expanding. My area had two guys in the entire office, and it’s a hopping area. The Big 4 all have sizeable teams already in place.

          Which means the access to different opportunities exist in other firms, but there’s a bigger risk that you’ll never be able to get a slot due to lower amount of resources.

          It’s the opportunity and access to resources to manage your career to which I’m referring to. There are simply just more of them at a Big 4. Doesn’t mean you can’t get the same experience, but it’ll be tougher or higher risk that you won’t be able to. Which is my main point above…


          • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

            Yes, I am a Big 4 tax manager. Interned at a one man shop, started at one of the firms that claims 5th largest & moved up to the majors after making senior.

            While you may have gotten to work on all of those types of clients, that is not typical Big 4 experience. It is also not the Big 4 model. Big 4 audit prefers clients with $200M+ market cap that pay over $250k in fees. In many ways, this drives the tax practice, as much of the tax consulting comes from information discovered while auditing tax provisions.

            At Big 4, unless you are a national office partner, there is always someone above that has to sign off on your decisions. Processes are standardized. You are selling the brand. At a smaller firm, you are selling yourself. You will likely be the final say on advice given to the client.

            Big 4 hubris bothers me. You may work on more complex transactions, but I once worked for a guy who worked 3 months a year & made 250k. He did it by helping local businesses. No matter how diverse your Big 4 experience is, you will not be helping a local painter file payroll tax returns. Big 4 does not open ALL doors. It only opens BIG doors.

            • “Yes, I am a Big 4 tax manager”

              Dude…this conversation is pointless if we’re talking tax…I meant audit.

              “No matter how diverse your Big 4 experience is, you will not be helping a local painter file payroll tax returns.”

              Look, I agree with you. But I think it’s implied when we compare Big 4 to “other” firms, that we’re talking about large regional or national firms; Not local or small to medium regional firms

              But you made good points. Obviously, if you want that type of interaction with the type of clients you describe, then yes, big 4 is not superior. In fact, I’d argue Big 4 is actually a very bad decision if that’s what the end goal is.

    • Good list Amber. Although, I’ll say #2 on the “why you should accept” is a bit of a stretch. Auditors are most definitely underpaid relative to industry peers.

    • BasisPoints

      Because we don’t upvote our own comments 😉

    • McValue Meal Audit

      If you want a career in finance or accounting, I would 100% say go to a big 4 or large national firm. Even if you just do two years, you will learn a lot and have a nice base for your next job.

    • Big4Veteran

      All of Amber’s reasons for declining the offer are stupid. If you are a college senior that is majoring in accounting and have received an offer from a large accounting firm, its a little fucking late in the game to be deciding that you don’t want to do accounting. By this point you’ve probably racked up a pretty decent amount of debt, and you don’t have many opportunities to find a job outside of accounting that will pay even close to what a large accounting firm will.

      If you are going to graduate college with an accounting degree and have the opportunity to start your career at a large accounting firm, then fucking do it. There will be many opportunities to change the direction of your life down the road. Up until you get married and have kids.

      Amber is terrible. I often wonder how many people’s careers (and lives) she’s ruined with her shitty advice.

      • “If you are a college senior that is majoring in accounting and have received an offer from a large accounting firm, its a little fucking late in the game to be deciding that you don’t want to do accounting”

        What are you talking about? There are plenty of opportunities outside of accounting for accounting majors. C’mon Big4V. That’s a ludicrous statement, even from you.

        I can list off a ton of non-accounting roles you can do with an accounting degree:

        -Insurance claims adjuster
        -Financial Adviser
        -Police Officer
        -Military Officer
        -Law student
        -Corporate Sales
        -Commercial Sales
        -Actor/Voice Actor
        -Bounty Hunter
        -Private Investigator
        -Wilderness guide
        -Nonprofit organizer
        -Internet Troll
        -Private tutor

        • Big4Veteran

          “There are plenty of opportunities outside of accounting for accounting majors.”

          I think we are agreeing, although you don’t realize it. I’m saying that if you’ve racked up a bunch of student loan debt to get an accounting degree, and you’ve got an offer in hand from a large accounting firm, then it makes a lot of sense to give public accounting a whirl. You can always go on to do all the other things you listed above once you are more financially secure, and after you’ve determined (after trying it in the real world!) that you really don’t like accounting.

          • That’s a fair point if the person is undecided. But if they truly want to be, say a pediatrician, then no amount of “giving public accounting a chance” is going to change them wanting to be a pediatrician.

            On the other hand, if you’re just an undecided dumb kid with a Big 4 offer..yeah, just take the damn thing already.

            • Big4Veteran

              Agreed. I’ve always said that if you have a passion (outside of accounting) and can make a living doing it, then you should go do it immediately. But let’s be real, college seniors in accounting who are just now realizing that they don’t want to be an accountant have no fucking clue what they’d rather be doing. Either Amber doesn’t know this, or she’s just constructing a straw man for her shitty article.

    • Big4Veteran

      “Another reason you may want to take an offer — which I don’t believe to be true but will mention for the trolls — is people still believe there is a lot of value in having a Big 4 firm on your resume.”

      This is where Amber shows how dumb she is. Look at the background of just about every CFO and Controller of every major company in America. You will see something that almost all of them have in common.

    • tenuredservant

      This is how I read these pros/cons.
      Why you should take the offer in Public?
      1- If you’re an idiot who doesn’t know how to tie a Windsor (in-depth professionalism training – seriously? working for Alfred would be a better training for that; opportunity to see a variety of businesses and industries – writing under influence of Kool-Aid – there may actually be some truth to this for non-Audit folks since they actually get to be on more than one engagement
      2- You did not just call Salary a reason to join public accounting
      3- Only good reason to join, you will not be fighting to get interviews 2 years down the road for your first real job.

      Why you should NOT take the offer in Public?
      1- Not a good enough reason to not take the offer – No one here loves accounting besides the author, I assume. We’re in it because we wanted an easier business major without requirement to take LSATs at some point in our future to have a career.

      2- Are you kidding me? Public accounting is one of the laziest, if not the laziest, professions ever. Please tell me you don’t also believe that Big4 are like the Ivy leagues of Accounting

      3- So your argument is, if you want to be a Doctor don’t accept the offer from Big4? I actually can’t argue with that logic. Well played author, well played

    • Timothy Bizznelli

      Working in the Big 4 was a horrific experience for me. On my third day, I found out that the security guards working at the front desk of our building (small office, not a large market) were basically thuggish stormtroopers who often stole from employees. One of them had even groped a female tax manager and told her “she was the bees knees” according to testimony obtained later.

    • Mountaineer

      1) You will learn a lot
      2) You may have opportunities to build some connections you wouldn’t otherwise make.
      3) Easier to find a job when you leave.
      4) Will fund your CPA and give you a bonus
      5) gives you perspective on what “long hours” means
      6) Gives you supervisory experience faster than other jobs.
      7) will help you learn when people are talking out of their ass
      8) learn to talk out of your ass

      1) long hours and no life.
      2) half-hearted appreciation

      • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

        Your Cons list is way too short.

        • Mountaineer

          That’s because Auditing is too cool for school.

    • Chris

      The irony is that I didn’t hate accounting when I entered public accounting. Public accounting is what made me hate accounting. If you do anything to the point of burnout you will eventually hate it no matter how much you liked it in the first place. And let’s be honest..no one really likes accounting that much in the first place.

      • Why Can’t I Post as a Guest?

        In high school I played football to the point of burnout, but I still love getting drunk & watching on Saturday. It’s burning out doing something boring that sucks.