Students

Drunk Kermit

Party Animals at Irish University Accounting Club Suspended for Fratty Rager on Campus

Those who believe accounting students are all buttoned-up introverts obviously haven’t met the Accounting and Finance Society at Dublin City University, which was suspended this month after word of their wild and crazy activities got back to school leaders. At an October 4 “initiation” for first-years, committee hopefuls were asked to engage in a variety […]

KPMG master's accounting data analysis

KPMG Master’s Degree Program Admits 135 into Indentured Service in 2018

As a Big 4 alumna, when I saw the KPMG master’s degree program, I immediately thought, “What’s the catch?” But before we get to the catch, let’s look at the program itself a little more. The KPMG Master’s Degree Program Per Accounting Today, the cohort of 135 program participants for the 2018-2019 start class will […]

online master of accounting

Are You Ready for the Next Big Step in Your Accounting Career?

If you’re ready for a promotion, but your career isn’t, it might be time to consider graduate school. When you first went to work for your current company, it was pretty cool. Your friends and family were excited about your new job. You were excited. You were meeting new people, learning new things, making a […]

data analytics accountants

Why Does (and Why Should!) Data Analytics Matter to Accountants?

Successful accountants and business leaders who have mastered data analytics can provide unique insights, making them bigger assets to their organizations. “What do the numbers tell us?” “Let’s dig into the data!” “Can we analyze this in real-time?” It’s very likely that you’ve heard these expressions around the office. Big data. Data analytics. Data science. […]

uhy-recruits-fraud-bank-account

Protip: Don’t Give Your Bank Information to Anyone Claiming to Be an Accounting Firm Recruiter

Never trust anyone online wearing a hoodie. Good night, nurse, what is this: Executives at UHY Advisors are sounding the alarm about online scammers who have been impersonating recruiters at accounting firms, offering enthusiastic young job seekers new career opportunities and internships. All the applicant must do, scammers tell them, is sign an acceptance letter […]

AICPA Trends Report Finds Enrollment in Master’s Programs, Hiring by CPA Firms Taking a Breather

The AICPA released its much anticipated 2017 Trends In the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits (“AICPA Trends” or “TSAGDPAR” for those of you who can’t resist an acronym) report today, and it shows two major developments: 1) A dropoff in enrollment for master’s in accounting programs; 2) Slower hiring […]

Attracting New CPA Talent

Exposure Drafts: Attracting New CPA Talent Starts Early

Exposure Drafts appears every other Wednesday. Send suggestions to editor@goingconcern.com.

PwC’s Recruiting Will Take a Hit Over the Oscars Debacle

Forty-two years ago I sat down to make an important life decision, my second in two years.  The first was to go to graduate school instead of accepting a commission in the Marine Corps. The second was to join Price Waterhouse. Marriage would come later. I was the first in my family to go to […]

5 Unique Master’s Programs That Might Not Be on Your Radar

Please enjoy this sponsored content brought to you by our graduate university partners. Googling online graduate programs can be a nightmare. First off, it will take a while to trudge through 25 million search results. Ugh… ain’t nobody got time for that. Why is it so hard to find a worthwhile program to make all […]

Let’s Talk MBA Specializations With Utica College

This is a sponsored conversation brought to you by Utica College. At some point in your career, you may have heard a self-deprecating quip from someone who claimed to be a "jack of all trades, but a master of none." It's a slight nod to the idea that someone couldn't decide what they wanted to […]

Sponsored: The CFO Track Demands More Skills Than Ever

Have you considered changing your career track or expanding your skills profile? Please enjoy this sponsored content from Georgetown University about their Masters of Finance program. If you’re an ambitious accounting professional, you might have the title of CFO on your career bucket list. Chief financial officers are quickly becoming the most indispensable and sought […]

Sponsored: Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Please enjoy this sponsored content brought to you by our graduate university partners. Interviews are one of those things that you either walk into with a little moxy or you walk in terrified. Ideally, you've done your research and know almost everything and anything about the firm and the person you're interviewing with, your resume […]

Starting Salaries for Accounting Positions Keep Going Up

If you're a college student studying accounting, prepare your gloat face. Starting salaries for accounting and finance positions are expected to go up 3%-4.3% next year according to Robert Half's new salary guide.

Let’s Welcome Public Accounting’s Summer Interns

Monday marks the first day of summer so I suppose we should salute the young men and women who will invade accounting firms for the next couple of months. To the Twitter! BDO is excited to welcome over 300 summer #interns! Check out some tips from former #BDO interns: https://t.co/2pEUkFzabk — BDO USA Careers (@GetToKnowBDO) […]

A Few Law Schools Come to Their Senses, Start Offering Accounting Boot Camps

“Lawyers, because they work for and with business people, think that they’re good at business. Lawyers are NOT good business people.”

AICPA Making it Rain (on College Students)

Since 2011, the AICPA's Legacy Scholars program has put much-needed scholarship cash into the hands of worthy students. The program also "uses service work to help them develop the soft skills, including leadership and communications, needed to maintain a successful career," which is something every accounting student could use scholarship aside. Let's take a look: […]

Let’s End the Big 4 or Bust Myth Once and For All

It’s recruiting season on campuses all across America; that special time of year when accounting students get a taste of what it’s like to be a five-star middle linebacker — minus the “hostesses,” envelopes stuffed with cash, and any semblance of athletic ability. For you soon-to-be graduates deciding on your first employer, however, recruiting season […]

The CGMA Blog is Excited About the CGMA Exam

Because of course they are. Excited?  About an exam?  Seriously? Yes, seriously.  As studious and determined people with big dreams and ambitious life goals, we’re used to being tasked with reciting formulas, choosing the best answer and memorizing large quantities of information in order to prove our aptitude in traditional school subjects.  But how do […]

Why are People in Public Accounting So Ridiculously Good Looking?

Alright, now this one definitely has to be a troll. From Reddit: As a student going through recruiting season, I can't help but notice that all the people I'm meeting, whether or not they are interns, associates, managers, or partners, seem to be extremely charismatic and attractive. The men seem like husband material (especially the […]

LinkedIn Ranks the Best Undergrad Accounting Programs Based on Employability

Another day, another ranking. This time, LinkedIn did the math and figured out which accounting school tops the list in jobs. Makes sense, isn't that why you go to college in the first place? Here's how LinkedIn analyzed the ranking: First, we identified the top companies where Accounting Professionals are choosing to work. Next, we […]

EY Admits They’ll Still Take You Even if Your GPA Sucks

In FT's Test results can define young careers, we learn that EY will give you a chance even with a 3.0 if you can explain your crappy grades: At Ernst & Young, the global accounting firm, good grades are a key qualification for entry-level jobs and a reliable measurement of “technical ability and work ethic”, […]

(UPDATE) Which School Tops U.S. News Rankings in Undergrad Accounting?

Ed. note: U.S. News and World Report has issued a correction, stating they "incorrectly loaded peer reputation scores." The corrected ranking may be found below. Sorry, University of Illinois! RANKINGS. Love them or hate them, how else are we supposed to know who we're better than? The 30th edition of U.S. News and World Report […]

Davenport University Guarantees Employment for Accounting Students

Well, this is interesting. Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan announced that it will guarantee employment for its accounting students. If, by some chance, someone doesn't get a job in six months of graduating, (s)he can get up to 48 more credits from the university, tuition-free. That's a value of nearly $30,000. Students would have […]

This Year’s AICPA Accounting Competition Will Double as CGMA Advertising

If you're into cut throat competition among the country's best and brightest accounting students, you already know what's up with the AICPA Accounting Competition. We write about it every year unless something far more interesting is going on, like a ginormous fraud or some shady partner giving insider tips to his golfing buddy. Or, you […]

Ex-Accounting Professor Invited Students Over to Party, Secretly Filmed Them Using Bathroom (Allegedly!)

This kind of reminds me of that very special Golden Girls episode where Blanche went to college to finish her degree and was propositioned by her professor to get some "extra credit." Even though she was a total slut, she was completely offended at the very suggestion. At least in that case, though, the professor […]

Master’s in Accounting Grads Becoming More Popular With Employers

According to the latest AICPA Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits report (2013), demand for accounting grads is up. But we knew that. Also according to the report, demand for accounting grads with master's degrees is up. We knew that as well but did we know just […]

Deloitte Survey: Millennials Ready to Change the World But Still Need to Borrow a Few Bucks for Rent and Bills

According to a study by the ironically named Take Charge Institute at the University of Arizona, more than half of young "adults" age 23 – 26 rely on their family for financial support. Half! Of those, nearly half of them are employed full-time. No worries though, it's just that Millennials are taking an extended break […]

These 50 Colleges are So Desperate for Students, They’re Putting Education on Sale

June is a little late for schools to be thinking about filling up their freshman and transfer spots but the National Association of College Admissions Counseling says 470 schools — some of which you've actually heard of — are telling them they're in need of warm bodies: NACAC’s  new 2014 “College Openings Update” list is […]

Trends in Campus Recruiting: Never Trust a Big Starbucks Card and a Smile

As we all know, firms of all sizes spend a lot of time and effort cruising campus to pluck the best and brightest from top accounting programs using all sorts of tactics like free dinner, tchotchkes, and even buttering up students' parents. Now, there is a new form of campus predator: your fellow student. We […]

For Just the Cost of 125 Cups of Coffee, You Can Sponsor a Future Leader in Need

NASBA's Center for the Public Trust is soliciting donations to sponsor a future leader, and boy is it a bargain. Cancel that $18 a month you're throwing away for the ASPCA and get on this, stat. If you want to make an investment that’s guaranteed to grow, buy some stock in the character index. Recent […]

Math-Challenged Future Barista With Law Degree Seeks Clue

Let's not all point and laugh at once now, kids.   I did the math and I'm willing to go to school for 3 years after my undergraduate to make 6 figures out of law school. — Cadillactica Pimp (@RaganGotEm) April 21, 2014 h/t Law School Lemmings via ATL

Accounting Grads are More in Demand Than Ever, But When Does it End?

Like most topics, we've discussed this ad nauseam but it's a slow Tuesday so why not attack it again? Here's our jump off point from CPA Trendlines: Bolstering reports of a suddenly surging profession with a high demand for top talent, CPA firms are hiring a record number of graduates. At the same time, the […]

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Accounting Degree, No Probl– Actually, Small Problem

Remember Part 1 of this where a few of you asked "what was the point of this post?" Welcome to Part 2, where I explain that very point. Let’s recall a few details from Part 1, as this article is really only relevant to two unique groups of students: Double majors who declared a first […]

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Accounting Degree, No Problem!

In this week’s accounting issue, we're going to examine the void between requirements in a public university’s accounting program and their state’s CPA requirements. The equation should look a little like this: Seems simple enough; CPA requirements are set by the given state board of accountancy. Universities set their program curriculums.  One might assume, of […]

How To Be a Master of Excel From the Master of Excel

You can go complain to the bartender about your problems or you can come over here and let us take a stab at making everything all better. No matter your trouble, we're here for you, just reach out. GC, 

So I interned at a Big 4 firm this summer in Advisory and was fortunate enough […]

Let’s Exchange Heated Words About: The Top 30 Accounting Undergrad Programs

This is the closest we'll get to a BCS ranking of accounting programs.  Accounting Degree Review mashed together the lists of US News, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Public Accounting Report to come up with their own 30 Best Accounting Schools for Undergrads. I suppose we'll have to live with this until a playoff system is developed. […]

Accounting Student Gets Stumped by Journal Entry Exam Question; Doodles Boat

Profession, meet your future. Grading exams, I'm overflowing with confidence in the next generation of CPAs. @going_concern pic.twitter.com/OzFNkUStAN — Brad Kendrex (@bradkendrex) December 19, 2013  

Recruiting Season: Be Wary of Accounting Firms ‘Looking for a Fit’

And then Jesse said, "YO! MR. WHITE! LOOK OUT!"  Hahaha. No, no he didn't. But here's something interesting not related to Breaking Bad that we read on Twitter this morning:  Spoke to @UChicago MBA students Sat. about patsy "rogues". Surprised when I said walk away from recruiters looking for "fit". #RedFlag — Francine McKenna (@retheauditors) […]

How To Talk to Public Accounting Recruiters Without Coming Off Like a Tool

Found this gem on Reddit: I have a recruiters reception coming up soon where I will meet many recruiters from various firms. I'm only a student so my accounting knowledge is limited to textbook material. What type of questions do you ask? Although we've covered this before (repeatedly, at that), it is that time of […]

Kids Don’t Say They Want to Grow Up to Be CPAs Because Kids are Dumb

This Way to CPA has stooped to a new low, insulting children. Sure the little snot-nosed brats aren't very smart but do we really need to say that out loud? We all know the youth of America is pretty doomed as is but I'm fairly sure little kids saying they want to be CPAs when […]

Beta Alpha Psi Recently Got a Crash Course in Free and Fair Use

Per BAP: FYI: We made the Annual Meeting video private until we get a version with standard music. The music on the first version is copyrighted. Thank you for your patience. Here's the video proudly posted on Facebook on August 14th: And then the oopsie news two days later: Yeah, that's only slightly embarrassing. But […]

KPMG Is Going To Like the Way You (Interns) Look

Not only is KPMG trying to help their interns dress better at this year's National Intern Training in Orlando, they've got to brag about it on Facebook: "To make things even better for our Summer 2013 Interns, KPMG gave each male a $200 giftcard to Men's Wearhouse and each female a $200 giftcard to Ann […]

The Definitive Guide to a Successful Public Accounting Summer Internship

Hey, INTERN. Yes, you there wearing your hangover like a scarlet letter on this lovely Friday. Down your third gatorade and listen up. This is everything you need to know to not completely waste your summer away in your internship.   You earned a coveted internship, but I am not going to stroke your ego […]

Teen Mom-cum-Porn Star Farrah Abraham Is Going to Concentrate on Internal Auditing Because of Course She Is

After getting on a MTV show more or less because she had sex with a dude with a bad overbite and then getting paid $1.5 million for having sex on camera, it only makes sense that Farrah Abraham would pursue an academic path that involved auditing of assets.   In an e-mail interview, Abraham, 22, […]

The Only Thing Better Than Working an Eminem Lyric into Your Accounting Paper Is Your Professor Calling You Out For It

I haven't written anything for academic purposes in quite some time, but it's nice to know that some of the profession's future have some creative thoughts bouncing around the grey matter. The following was sent to us from a student who told us that "one of my buddies who was able to slip in a […]

Comp Watch ’13: This Year’s Accounting Graduates Will Be Resented More Than Ever

With an average starting salary of $53,300, the class of 2013 might have to endure some envious snipes from their Class of '12 co-workers: The average starting salary for accounting graduates this year is $53,300, up from $49,700 in 2012, Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the NACE, told AccountingWEB. In 2011, the average starting […]

Let’s Bicker About: Top Undergrad Accounting Programs

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, any burgeoning debit and credit artists out there would do well by attending one of the following schools for their undergraduate studies: 1. Brigham Young (Marriott) 1.067 2. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 1.076 3. UC Berkeley (Haas) 1.081 4. Cornell (Dyson) 1.089 5. Illinois – Urbana-Champaign 1.116 6. Tulsa (Collins) 1.118 7. […]

We Haven’t Forgotten About You, Public Accounting Winter Interns!

Sorry, winter interns — it's just that we've been, ya know, busy. Just like those senior associates who haven't had the time to take you to lunch. Or that manager who you thought wanted to get to know you better. Or that partner that never pronounces your name correctly. There's no shortage of love, just a […]

(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 […]

Recruiting Season: Is Inter-Big 4 Romance a Relationship Killer?

This week's Recruiting Season post is brought to you by the letters C, P, A and by numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Have a question about accounting careers? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com.   All right, boys and girls, this is the last recruiting season post before we spill all the salary details on you. […]

Recruiting Season: Best of Big 4 in Beantown; Underwhelming Salaries; Second-tier Stepping Stones

Welcome to Tuesdays with More Anxious Accounting recruits. Have a question about recruiting season? Email advice@goingconcern.com with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. Just a friendly reminder – if you have received an offer from a public accounting firm, by all means, share your excitement with us. We've received a fair amount so far, but we are […]

Russian National Is Feeling Rejected By Big 4

Welcome to a special Friday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. Since Frankenstorm might sweep a lot of us out to sea early next week, let's get in all the good advice we can before the world ends. If you're having a career emergency and still have a charge left on your phone while you're waiting […]

Recruiting Season Reason: Meet the Firms Basics For Complete Morons

You'd think I made this up but I swear I didn't, it comes from an actual recruiter who attended an actual MTF and encountered the following actual horrors. Let's open the floor on what NOT to do at Meet the Firms momentarily: How about an open thread for recruiter horror stories at Meet the Firms […]

Are Post-Grad Certificate Programs Sufficient If All You Want To Do Is Pass the CPA Exam and Move On?

When your cat no longer listens to your troubles and your friends aren't answering your calls because they know you're just going to dump all your nonsense on them at the bar, go ahead and email your friends at Going Concern for a little advice. It's cool, we weren't doing anything anyway. Depending on the […]

Recruiting Season: It’s Decision Time; Dealing with Radio Silence; Stalling That Eager Firm

Welcome to the latest Recruiting Season Q&A. This is where we answer several questions from anxious accounting students. Remember, you won't know if your question is stupid unless you ask. Email your query to advice@goingconcern.com with "Recruiting Season Question" in the subject line. Just a reminder – we're compiling the starting salaries for new associates […]

Recruiting Season: Ascending to Public Accounting Royalty; Choosing Between 3 of the Big 4; Doomed to Depression?

Welcome to the latest edition of Recruiting Advice: Take it or Go Screw Yourself. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and put "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. One programming note – for those of you who are on the hunt for full-time offers this year, be sure to email […]

Recruiting Season: Some Social Media Basics For The New Accountants on the Block

Chances are at some point someone in HR with too much time on their hands is going to Google you. Unless you are a John Smith, it would be wise to be proactive when it comes to your Internet presence, lest your potential new employer dig up your Facebook album called "CANCUN PEED ON MYSELF" […]

Recruiting Season: Crossing State Lines; Starting Salary Disappointment; Choosing an Industry

Welcome to this week's roundup of baffled buckaroos. Each week we'll try to save some hapless accounting students from embarrassing themselves somewhere along recruiting trail. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. We'll kick things off with a follow-up from last week when "Pissed […]

Recruiting Season: Planning Your Last Summer, Handling Rejection, and Pesky Friends Wanting a Referral

Good night nurse, we get a lot of emails during recruiting season. In order to answer as many questions as possible, we'll do a lightning round of sorts each week so none of the little grasshoppers out there feel left out. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and include "Recruiting Season Questions" […]

Recruiting Season: There’s No Crying in Accounting

Are you desperate for an internship, full-time position, ANYTHING that won't have you slumming it as a freeloading 47%er? Email us your questions about getting a job, leaving a job or making hummus. I'm in need of some serious help. Tonight was one of the most humiliating experiences I have had in recent memory. It was […]

What Accounting Program Would Jesus Do?

Are you the parent of a future accounting student looking for guidance as you sort through hundreds of brochures in the search for the perfect accounting program for your future CPA? You probably shouldn't email us, we're a bad influence. But if you still want to, go ahead and get in touch and we'll try […]

Top Ten Accounting Programs Are Spectacularly Unspectacular

It's that time of year again where U.S. News & World Report clings to relevancy by issuing their College Rankings List and, per usual, we'll present you with the top undergraduate accounting programs with indifference. The purpose of these rankings, as we all know, allows the alumni and current students of top accounting schools the opportunity […]

Recruiting Season: Dressing for Success Means Following a Lot of Garden Variety Advice

No more articles about how to dress for interviews. We see them every year, and we read them because the case for flat-front slacks is much more interesting than the case for private company GAAP. I successfully avoided Accounting Today's recent article, "Fashion & Finance: Do's and Don'ts for New Recruits." Then I got an […]

Recruiting Season: When an Accounting Firm Has Multiple Openings, Be a Decider

Is your career stuck in neutral? Looking for a way to convince your boss that Fantasy Football strategizing is legitimate billable hours? Need ideas for accounting-themed names for your two Pomeranian puppies? Email us your questions. Hi Colin,   I'm going through campus recruiting as we speak and was curious what your opinion was on applying […]

Deloitte Campus Recruits to Imagine Olympians Naked While Listening to Their Stories of Inspiration

Yes, Deloitte is counting on college students being impressed with stories of determination, hope, competition, blah blah blah while gawking at the Olympic quality bods of Abby Wambach, Cullen Jones, Mariel Zagunis, Jonathan Horton, and April Holmes. And as long at they don't have any of them say something as awkward as Apolo Ohno's quote in that […]

Reminder to PwC Partners: The Firm Won’t Be Considering Your Deadbeat Relatives for a Job

As fall approaches, Big 4 recruiting for next year's crop of capital market servants will shift into high gear. This means lots of handshakes at catered events where students will make small talk, laugh awkwardly, and feign listening in order to land that all-important first job. There's a lot of preparation involved for these students […]

The Best Part of Ernst & Young’s International Intern Leadership Conference Had to Be When Jim Turley Laid Down Some Beats

Remember earlier this month when we showed you some images from the Ernst & Young International Intern Leadership Conference? It illustrated just how E&Y rolls out the black and yellow carpet for its interns from across the globe – charter buses, gorilla hugs, and a dude in a Big Bird Yellow tux.  We've uncovered more […]

Indiana University Accounting Professor Dies After Fall From Parking Garage

Sad news on the Indiana University campus as accounting professor Susan Keenan died from injuries suffered after a fall from the fourth floor of a parking garage: Susan Keenan, 51, survived a fall from a Bloomington parking garage at 7th Street and College Avenue but died in an Indianapolis hospital hours later. The Bloomington Police Department says witnesses […]

Who’s Going to Make Honest Capital Market Servants Out of These PwC Interns?

Last week we mentioned that many interns were doing happy dances after learning that none of their summer behavior warranted a one-way ticket back to whereverthehellyoucamefrom. Based on the comments, Ernst & Young seemed to have the jump on extending offers but now this week, it's the Xerox technicians at Casa de Moritz getting the […]

Here Are Two Accounting-themed Videos Parodying “Call Me Maybe” That You Didn’t Ask For

We've received a number of emails in the past 24 hours pointing to a recruiting video out of PwC Singapore that parodies an awful (yet, awfully catchy) song. I'm only sharing it with you because it deserves public worldwide scorn so this travesty will not be repeated by any misguided recruiting teams here in the […]

Public Accounting Summer Interns: Here’s Your Full-time Offer Open Thread

It seemed like only yesterday we were welcoming the summer interns to their first taste of capital market servitude. Now that it's August and they've sufficiently been pranked, pandered, and paid per hour, the full-time offers for interns are starting to roll out. Yes, you will be seeing many of those Xerox technicians back on […]

Too Bad Peter Olinto Can’t Teach CPA Exam Candidates To Grow a Pair

When doodling in your CPA review books isn't distracting you like it used to, why don't you hit pause on your online course videos and reach out for a little good old fashioned Going Concern wisdom? Operators are standing by now. Hi GC,   Thanks again for all of your advice, especially for us lost, […]

Intern Weighs Betraying a Small Firm for the Big 4

Suffering from Big 4 burnout? Want ideas for your Sarbanes-Oxley 10th anniversary celebration? Need help making a smart the least stupid choice at the vending machine? Email us your questions and let us feel your pain. Hi GC,   Looking for some advice. I am interning at a small firm and I am 95% sure I will […]

Deloitte Auditor Recognizes Overachieving Intern’s Nauseating Enthusiasm, Responds Accordingly

There's nothing quite like an enthusiastic intern who wants to be prepared for their first day on the job. And when I say, "nothing quite like," I mean, "Nothing quite as barf-worthy." Make no mistake, the effort is appreciated young grasshoppers, but you should know that the senior associate or manager that you are corresponding […]

Are Small Accounting Firm Summer Programs Worth It?

Have your colleagues quit taking you seriously? Are you a serial mismatcher of shoes and socks? Wondering if moving back in with your parents is a good idea? Email us your questions and we'll try to get to them before Labor Day. I'm currently set to attend a two-day summer program at a smaller office of a […]

Accounting Students Looking for That Extra Edge Should Look No Further Than Big 4 Bootcamp

Many dewey-eyed accounting students dream of capping off their time in college with a job at a Big 4 firm. But getting that elusive offer isn't as easy as it seems. There are many ambitious candidates that would step over their own mothers to get an offer so some candidates want a little extra edge […]

We Actually Learned (and Debunked) a Couple Things After Reading This Interview with Ernst & Young’s Director of Campus Recruiting

Dan Black is Ernst & Young's Director of Campus Recruiting and yesterday, Forbes gave him the chance to say whatever he wanted about E&Y's campus recruiting efforts. Seriously, they should have just let him write a blog post. It's filled with platitudes about training, international opportunities, social media, and kowtowing to Gen Y types, etc. etc. […]

Here’s Your Public Accounting Interns Open Thread for Summer 2012

If you're like me, you checked out on earlier than normal this week due to the long weekend of bad decisions ahead. It's a welcome reprieve for those of you that are firmly entrenched in the day-to-day amusement park that is public accounting. However, very soon the latest crop of presumptive capital market servants will […]

A Young Reader Requests the Lowdown on Santa Clara University’s Accounting Program

Are you considering wasting my time instead of wasting your own when you should be studying for the CPA exam? Do you get off on degenerates criticizing you? Just need a good old fashioned AG talking to? Get in touch and I'll help you procrastinate by answering questions you could ask Google. I was wondering […]

“Average” KPMG Intern Is Concerned About the Firm’s Dance Around Full Time Offers

Do you have a question about, well, anything but are surrounded by fools who couldn't possibly enlighten you? The sages of Going Concern are here to help. Email us with your questions.  Dear Going Concern,   I recently finished my winter internship with KPMG and I am not sure how I felt about it. On […]

Ever Wonder What Accounting Recruiting Seminars Look Like? Here You Go

The following slides were sent to us from a reliable source who works within public accounting in a capacity that does not involve actual accounting. Call that talent acquisition if you'd like, all we know is that our source sat in on an actual seminar about recruiting talent that included these actual slides. I don't […]

PwC Winter Interns Can Expect Some Good News This Week

From the mailbag:  Just a FYI most of the PwC winter interns should be receiving their full time offers this week. "Good news" is relative of course, as this news could very well mean that, by accepting this opportunity and turning down a similar chance with KPMG, the chances of making partner some day are diminished. […]

Bloomberg/BusinessWeek’s Top Undergrad Business Schools of 2012 List Doesn’t Do the Top CPA Exam School Justice

Not to burst Wake Forest's bubble but Bloomberg/BusinessWeek just gave them 19th in their list of top undergrad business schools in America for 2012. (Notre Dame was #1) That's really sad but it doesn't change the fact they dominate on the CPA exam. Just for shits and giggles, let's see how Bloomberg's top 5 undergrad […]

Big 4 Advisory Intern Wants To Squeeze Blood Out Of A Turnip

Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC. Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary GC,I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory.  I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January.  Is […]

Ernst & Young Intern Really Needs Help with an Essay So He Can Go Overseas for Two Weeks

Ed. note: Troubled this busy season? Email us your predicament at advice@goingconcern.com. For the most part, the emails we receive seeking advice are genuine.  We have struggling GPA’ers and struggling interviewers.  Managers tempted by the partner carrot and the curious public-to-public hopper. And generally, you all turn out solid, noteworthy advice. This is not one […]

Watch These Big 4 Auditors Pull a Mildly Humorous Prank on Their Intern

Allegedly, this stunt was pulled earlier this morning in a Big 4 audit room somewhere in the Boston area. If you'd like to claim responsibility for this stroke of genius or have other samples to share, email us.

Should Big 4 Interns Be Hazed?

This is our second intern-themed post this week, which gets me thinking that some of you are neck-deep in coffee jockeys. This can be a trying time for those of you that are A) impatient B) dicks C) control freaks D) all of the above. As such, the following has probably crossed your mind at […]

Interns, Here’s the Lowdown on Ernst & Young’s FSO Assurance Practice in NYC

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com with your problem(s) but only if you’re comfortable being mocked in an older sibling kind of way.

GC,

I know my question is somewhat specific but I just accepted an Internship offer for E&Y FSO Assurance in NYC and was interested in gaining some insight into the 3 divisions within FSO Assurance. First, I would love to hear your opinion on the pros and cons of each of the three sectors (Asset Management, Banking, & Insurance) including which EY is best known for. I was also wondering if there was a clear leader in each of those sectors in NYC and was wondering which of the Big Four was bestnks so much for your help. I know I am still a year away from having to actually select one of those options but gaining people’s opinions never hurt. Thanks so much.


Congratulations on landing a sweet summer gig with Uncle Ernie. You’ll be working for a great firm in a great city making a great salary while fetching great coffee for your superiors. Cheers!

But really, welcome to New York. You’re smart in thinking ahead to the fact that where you start with your internship will lead to a fulltime offer with the same group. This is because internships are essentially training camp for your first year – make it through the summer successfully and you’re in the club. I did a little digging within my professional circle to uncover some of the EY clients that you’d have the potential of working on, as well as my own two Lincolns.

Insurance – Let’s start with this one because I have a feeling that the group consensus will be unanimous: DO NOT JOIN THIS GROUP. Sure, it is a small, “family-like” practice in the financial services industry, but you’re not coming to work for the warm and fuzzies (if you are, avoid public accounting altogether). You’re coming to make yourself a valuable asset to future employers – one, three, or ten years from now. Can you receive accelerated responsibilities and extensive interaction with your clients? Yeah, but that’s because your co-workers are jumping ship and no one within the firm wants to transfer to the Insurance group. Unless you have an absolute passion for the industry (which you don’t, since you emailed us), I would avoid this group. Stay in this group for five years (you know, to make the dream promo to manager) and you’re setting yourself up for a career working for an insurance (or re-insurance) firm.

Banking and Capital Markets – This group is bigger and more prominent than the Insurance group. It’s taken its hit in recent years because…ummm…the banking industry is in turmoil, but some of the pain has been buoyed by their growing Broker Dealer client base (also falls into this group). Potential clients include Bank of America (*gulp*), UBS Wealth Management (the shining star in the UBS sky), Icahn Securities, JG Wentworth, ING Financial Holdings, and Cantor “run for the hills” Fitzgerald. Sources tell me audit staff are constantly trying to take rotations to the asset management group, so take that for what it’s worth. Career advancement outside of public can take you to either a banking or hedge fund depending on your client exposure, but have you read the papers recently? Banking ain’t the hottest date to the prom to these days.

Asset Management – this is EY’s money train in New York when it comes to audit (and even tax) services. EY and PwC dominate this market in New York, and depending on whom you ask EY has a more rounded client base (blue chip and start ups). Premier clients include Eton Park, Reservoir Capital, Anchorage Capital, and Och Ziff Capital (do some Googling to get an idea about these firms). The exposure to different investment strategies and financial products you will see will be second to none. Don’t forget that you can count the relevant investment banks left standing on two hands, whereas there are thousands of hedge funds and private equity firms in the country (most of which are in the greater NYC area, too). Your easiest and most lucrative path out of audit and into the private sector will be with a background in asset management. Absolutely, positively, 100%.

So there you have it. As always, GC’er please chime in below with your comments.

Intern Needs Help Breaking the News of “The Decision” to Leave His Current Big 4 Firm for a Rival

Ed. note: Need advice on your career, the CPA exam or how to best enforce your firm’s dress code? Email the career advice brain trust at advice@goingconcern.com for answers.

Dear GC,

This past summer I worked as an intern with a Big 4 firm. Learned a lot, some decent people, long hours. Still felt relatively miserable considering most of the people I worked with were wound pretty tight. Fast forward to now, and I am considering “taking my talents to south beach” by switching to a different Big 4 firm. Yes, there is an immaterial amount of additional money on the table, so my decision comes down to (1) a more interesting client base and (2) a more exciting and open culture among the happier employees at the new firm.

To me “the Decision” has been made. How do I tell the firm I interned with (and accepted an offer with) that I won’t be coming to the party next year? Am I at risk of being “that guy?” Can you put me in contact with a cable network willing to run a one-hour special so I don’t have to tell them directly?

Thank you.

-Raymone James

LeBron Raymone,

First, congratulations on one-upping your entry level status in such a dire market. It sounds as though your decision is a done deal so cutting the cord with your personal version of Cleveland shouldn’t be hard to do.

Being that it’s already November, you need to reach out to the firm you’re breaking away from immediately. They’re in the middle of interview season anyway, and knowing that they have an additional spot in their budget now rather than later is important (and fair to their process). Reach out to the recruiter that was your point of contact within the firm (and probably the one that presented you with the original offer). Leave them a voicemail at work stressing the need to speak about a “time sensitive issue” and follow up with an email stating the same. Should you not hear back from them in 48 hours, follow up with another call. If it’s another empty voicemail, follow up with another email (forward the original) and state then that you will not be starting with them after graduation. Explain the situation (using the “it’s not you, it’s me” angle usually works), and thank them for the positive intern experience.

In fairness to them you should try to speak to them live on the phone; however you’re not obligated to make a dozen attempts to reach them. Everyone has email in their pocket these days and it’s reasonable to expect a response in two business days.

And why are you worried about being ‘that guy?’ If by that you mean ‘the guy who left for better money, clients, and culture,’ I’d bet it’s safe to say many of us wouldn’t mind being that guy (or lady) too.

Good luck.

Let’s Bicker About the U.S. News Accounting Program Rankings

Wow — Texas, Illinois, BYU are the top three? No one saw this coming.

1. Texas – Austin
2. Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
3. BYU


4. Southern Cal
5. Michigan
6. Penn
7. Notre Dame
8. Indiana
9. NYU
10. Ohio St, Washington (tie)

Not exactly sure if Michigan jumped over Notre Dame at the last second in this year’s ranking but I’d like to imagine a flurry of points coming in late to catapult the Wolverines over ND. Sorry, John. Btw, here’s the methodology if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tax Intern Wants to Know What Job Opportunities Exist After a Three Year Stretch at a Big 4 Firm

Ed. note: Willing to take some advice from three strangers and peanut gallery full of overworked, underpaid paper pushers (aka spreadsheet jockeys)? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com with your problems.

Hi!

First I just want to say that this website made all the down time during my Big 4 internship bearable!! Seriously, there are no words to express my gratitude!

I’ve learned a lot from your site, and I’m kinda hoping you can give me some advice…

Right now I have a full time job offer in Tax, but lately I’ve been questioning if this is the right move for me.

Honestly, I don’t think I can handle more than 3 years of public accounting, so I was wondering what job opportunities there are in the private sector for tax professionals with only two to three years of public accounting experience? (I feel like the focus is usually on audit, so I’m finding I don’t really know a lot about the tax world outside of the Big 4).

Also, I would eventually love to work for a nonprofit…would I have better luck at finding a job in this sector with an audit or advisory background, as opposed to tax?

Thanks a million!!!!

Clueless

Dear Clueless,

Thanks for stopping by GC this summer and squeezing us into your “busy” internship days. (Shameless plug – remember to talk about this site when you return to campus this fall. We’ll be talking about recruiting on a regular basis).

Let’s assume that you are going to accept the offer for Big 4 tax. Maybe you have an MS in tax. Maybe there are not any audit positions available for campus hires. Maybe you have a crush on the lead engagement partner. Not my biz. Whatever your situation, you should be focusing on making yourself as merlo-rounded as marketable as possible. A few ideas:

1) CPA – Not even a question. Get it done immediately.

2) Request an audit rotation – As you experienced this summer, there are times when things get a bit slow for tax professionals. Request short term rotations into audit where you can receive additional exposure. This will be marginally easier to do if your CPA is already completed.

3) Seek out non-profit clients – It does not matter if your experience is on the audit or tax side; the goal here is to receive client exposure for a look at the culture/business model/workplace environment at some of your local NFP’s.

4) Volunteer – If NFP clients are not an option, try to find time in your schedule to volunteer. Like any new job possibility, you should research what life is like at a non-profit before jumping into the career move.

As for private sector jobs, with 2-3 years tax experience you’ll have little trouble, as many businesses are trying to do more tax work in-house as opposed to contracting it out to their CPAs. I’d encourage you to stick it out until Senior Associate if you can, since this will give you ample opportunities outside the firm (and maybe a nice get-away). Good luck.

GCers – your thoughts?

And Now…Ernst & Young Interns Employees Singing a Song About Making Partner, Acronyms in the Tune of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’

UPDATE: Don’t ask me why staff are singing a song about “Intern Dreams” but apparently that is the case, hence the change in the headline. Carry on.

After being away for awhile, many you probably thought that I get on here and bitch and moan how awful it is to be back to grind with you all. It’s been quite the opposite experience actually, as we’ve learned that Adrienne is more than capable of getting people’s attention that inevitably result in emails being sent directly to me while it was widely known that I could be doing any number of things at the time, including A) watching someone’s Vespa go up in flames in London B) eating space cakes C) speaking to French women with a bad American accent D) watching a shockingly violent fight at Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Parade.

But nevermind all that. Cooler heads typically prevail around here so it’s nothing that couldn’t be handled. Plus, it nice to know that I can leave for a couple of weeks and the site doesn’t miss a beat.

But what really makes my life easy is coming back to emails pointing me to the EYConnects Facebook page where you can find this video:


As any long time reader of GC knows, Ernst & Young runs away with from the rest of the Big 4 when it comes to producing videos that border on hilarity. No need to look further than the masterpiece of “In a JIT” to the video from the Las Vegas office featuring an Elvis impersonator.

While “EY Dream” doesn’t feature legendary lyrics like “On a jet like Turley” mocking acronyms and well-rehearsed choreography wins points in our book. Still would have been funny to hear some self-deprecating lyrics related to Lehman Brothers. Oh well, we’ll keep waiting.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on this latest effort below.

(VIDEO) The CBH Raleigh Interns Present: Insanity!

Ever see those annoying exercise infomercials in the middle of the night that promise ripped abs and a tight core, all while screaming at you to get your fat ass off the couch and get started for just 12 easy payments of $99.95?

Well a few Cherry, Bekaert & Holland interns in the Raleigh office decided to make a video that pimps out the greatest fitness plan of all-time – a summer audit internship – with that same high energy madness. We have to admit we didn’t have high hopes until we actually watched it and let’s just say these interns did not disappoint.

When we asked a CBH spokesperson if these amazing interns will be joining the team come fall, we were told “Full time offers? These are obviously all super-accountants, so I’d be afraid to see what they’d do to us if we didn’t. However, I hear HR is still looking at their before pictures.”

Amazing results!

(UPDATE) Fulltime Offer Watch ’11: Interns, Let’s Talk About Offers

A wise suggestion from the mailbag:

I had an idea for an interesting blog topic – most Big 4 interns will be finishing up within the next week or two. It would be interesting to see what the starting salaries and bonuses are turning out to be across the firms and across the different offices for new hires starting Fall 2012. I know you did a similar compensation blog a while back and it had several hundred comments with people sharing their respective numbers.


Thanks, astute future capital market servant! Jesus, is it really August already? We did do this last year around this time and you are correct that we got some great feedback from the kids. Except for the ones who got kicked off the team before the big trip to Disney, awww sucks for them.

Instructions this year are the same as last year, please be sure to include 1) your starting salary 2) your office 3) practice 4) signing bonus (if applicable) 5) Bonus for CPA (if applicable). Remember that anything you post will be seen by everyone you know including your colleagues, lover, dog and grandma so please, if you want to remain anonymous, post as such. Mommy won’t be around to moderate your discussion.

Because not everyone fits into the Big 4 cookie cutter, all interns looking forward to full-time offers are welcome to join the conversation, compare packages (erm) and brag about how much better their firm is than others. There’s no crying in baseball but this is public accounting, which means whining is also welcome.

Get on that, future leaders of the industry!

UPDATE:
The latest:

I believe PwC and DT offers come out this Friday. I’d really appreciate the input from other readers. It could affect my own FT offer.

(UPDATE) Can Anyone Make Sense of Ernst & Young’s Hiring Numbers?

I’ve been out of the numbers game for awhile now but for the life of me, I can’t figure out just how many people Ernst & Young will be hiring off campus for this year. Or is it last year? The firm put out a press release yesterday that states that it “will hire approximately 5,000 students from campuses across the US in the 2010-2011 academic year.” That’s all fine and good but it’s different from the report in CNN back in March that we told you about that said “It’s looking to hire 7,000 employees from college campuses — 4,500 full-time and 2,500 interns […] in 2011.”


That report also stated that “campus recruits are up 20%,” but yesterday’s press release said “campus hiring [increased] 25 percent from last year.”

All told, E&Y and the rest of the Big 4 are hiring lots of people but the numbers don’t quite add up. The nice folks at E&Y are trying to help me out, so I’ll report back when I’ve got some answers.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed by an E&Y spokesperson that “numbers referenced in the release are for the US, whereas the numbers cited in the Fortune article are for the Americas.” To clarify, the “Americas” includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean.

[via Ernst & Young]

Big 4 Summer Intern Open Thread

Let me just say first off that this will not be an exclusive thread to the Big 4, I simply have to appease my SEO fanatic co-workers. That means if you’re interning at Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey, Moss Adams, Rothstein Kass, it doesn’t matter, don’t be afraid to jump in with questions or comments or respond to any of the regular commenters out there (“GT Partner” is a treat).

Anyway, it’s not technically summer but DWB encouraged me to drop an open thread on you all so that A) interns can share their skyrocketing anxiety and B) the veterans can bestow some of their wisdom upon these coffee gophers so that they don’t get in the way too much. Since I saw my fair share of interns pass through my time inside the House of Klynveld, I’ll jump in first.

For starters new interns, you need dress nice. If you show up in baggy Dockers without a belt and a Nike golf shirt and scuffed-up shoes – I hate you already. And unless you can do back flips (as it relates to your work) and buy me coffee once a week, my mind is made up about you already. For the ladies, since the dress code is a little more subjective for you, all I ask is you not show up in your pajamas. That said, your female superiors will be eyeing your attire much closer and they will be judging the shit out of you. And if they’re really offended by your fashion forwardness, they aren’t above tattling on you. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

As for work – find it. Sometimes you may have to act busy by reading god-awful training manuals or diversity literature or something else that makes you want to bathe with a toaster but FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR MEDIOCRE BIG 4 CAREER, I suggest you don’t look bored. I don’t care if you have to grovel to the lowliest A1 on your team, if you’re not working (or at least appear to be working), someone will notice and that doesn’t bode well for your chances at fulltime offer.

Finally, make some friends. Can you carry on a conversation that doesn’t revolve around your Beta Alpha Psi chapter or the bitch of an Intermediate mid-term you had? Excellent, you’ll be fine. Someone will like you. If you like talking about those things, I strongly suggest you find a hobby fast. The Mets are driving you crazy? Great, talk about that. You just saw the Arctic Monkeys in concert? Wonderful, music is rad. Outdoorsy type? Talk about some camping trips. You’re into Brazilian Jujitsu? Okay but don’t show off your injuries. That’s just gross.

Bottom line: be yourself. Unless yourself sucks. In which case, email the career advice brain trust and we’ll turn this around. Now if you’ll excuse me, some of us don’t have interns and I have to fetch my own coffee.

Will One Bad Performance Review Doom a PwC Intern’s Chances at a Fulltime Offer?

Editor’s Note: Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com.

I need some advice. I am doing an internship and all my performance evaluations have been good except one. I got one that said did not meet expectations. All the others were met or exceeded expectations. will the on bad pff prevent me from getting a job offer?

PwC Intern

Dear PwC intern,

Forget about your work ethic; your grammar and spelling should be enough for HR to deny you an offer.

Quick side note: I’m sure Caleb has touched on this before (if he hasn’t, he should), but emails are a representation of your professional image. Spelling/grammar mistakes are excusable when it’s an email to a fellow intern about the evening’s happy hour, but not when you are trying to represent yourself to the client, a partner, a manager, or in this case the GC community. My first piece of advice – proofread your $#!%.

Now, back to your original question. Considering the job market and how strapped for staff the firms will be in the next few years, you should be fine. Modern day internship programs at the Big 4 are a testing ground for both the firms and you, the student. Were you able to fumble through workpapers, create some binders, and generally not piss anyone off? Seems like you did, for the most part. For whatever reason (and considering that you didn’t provide one, I’ll assume the poor ranking was justified) you received a less than satisfactory review on one engagement. The positive reviews will counter this. Also, if you have a positive relationship with your recruiter, he/she will fight for you to receive an offer (after all, HR has their own goals to fulfill).

However, if you rubbed an important partner, manager, or recruiter the wrong way at any time, consider your goose cooked. All it takes is a short “I don’t want this person receiving an offer” email from a person of authority to erase your chances of receiving an offer.
Good luck. Cross your fingers and dot your i’s that you can rise above the poor review.

How Does an Overachiever Stand Out From Other Overachievers During Big 4 Recruiting Season?

Ed. note: Got a question for Dan Braddock or anyone else on the GC advice team? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll get to your query in due time.

Dear Going Concern,

I am currently a sophomore in college and am interested in a Big 4 internship (Chicago) for the summer of 2012. This means that I will be
involved in the heavy recruiting season this coming fall. I have a 4.0 GPA, am on my way to becoming Executive VP of Beta Alpha Psi, am a member of the Accounting Club, and have done some volunteer work. Any tips on how to stand out from the sea of other students just like me? Should I do anything else before recruiting season besides networking? Any advice would be appreciatedver

Big 4 Lover,

Glad to see that GC has some young people in the audience. Take what you read here with a grain of salt and shot of tequila – adulthood makes people cranky, not just public accounting.

Be cognizant of the fact that there are two versions of you that every recruiter sees: the version of you on paper and the version of you in real life. Either version can make or break your candidacy. Let’s break it down:

You on paper: At first read, the “résumé” you describe seems just fine – you’re maintaining strong grades while being involved in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom, even holding a leadership position. I wonder if your “volunteer experience” was only due to the Beta Alpha Psi volunteer requirement or if you do it on your own; either way, this is minor and I’m nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking. Any Big 4 recruiter will have your résumé sitting in their “yes” pile going into the fall recruiting season.

However, your résumé is strong on the “I am just trying to land an internship at a Big 4 firm.” What are your interests outside the realm of debits and credits? Unless you are a living, breathing calculator, I’d like to think that you have hobbies other than what is described above (this is assuming you did not leave any experiences out when describing your background above). I encourage you to diversify your experiences in college – not just for the sake of your résumé but for the sanity as well. VP of the Wiffle Ball Club? Great. Part of the campus sewing circle? Fantastic. Genuine, non-accounting extracurriculars will not only enrich your life but they’ll be great conversation starters when you begin meeting with recruiters and Big 4 professionals on campus.

You in real life: As you mentioned, you’ll be in the thick of the recruiting process this fall. Being that you’re only a sophomore (and probably on the 5 year track due to Illinois requiring 150 credits for the CPA), you’ll be interviewing for the “leadership” programs at the Big 4. These lead to internships which lead to job offers which lead to high-fives and back slaps for everyone. Here’s what you need to do when you meet the firms:

Do not regurgitate your resume – let your strong résumé speak for itself. No one likes a bragger, not even your mother.

Do not be too transparent – 99.99997% of Beta Alpha Psi members join the society because it looks good on a résumé. DO NOT TELL THE RECRUITER THAT. Unless you want to come across as an internship-chasing fool, then by all means go ahead and say so.

Do not suck up – There is a subtle difference between saying, “I’m only a sophomore, but I have heard positive things about your firm from my professors and older classmates and I’m hoping to learn more,” and “OMFG your company is so cool!!!”

Be yourself – you are more than accounting. The best people you’ll ever work with in the industry will also be much, much more than debits and credits.

Does Interning Count as Experience Towards a CPA?

Today’s CPA exam question has little to do with the actual CPA exam and more to do with your career thereafter, or before if you’re already working in indentured servitude public before taking the exam.

From the mailbag:

Hi Adrienne,

I’ve been trying to look this up, but I keep ending up with vague responses. Can you get your “accounting hours” or whatever work related experience needed for a CPA license (1-2 yrs) before you pass the exam? Do summer internships count (say you interned on an audit)? Which states make you get audit work experience as opposed to states that just ask for accounting experience?

Thanks.
A bit confused.

For future reference, you guys can really help me out here by letting me know what state you are in (or applying for licensure in) as all states are different. Generally speaking “experience” is defined as work performed under the supervision of a licensed CPA in that jurisdiction. Even if you are unsure of which state you will be applying to, a general idea is helpful for my purposes.

You should be able to get your experience before, during or after taking the CPA exam. In some states, you have a limited amount of time to actually complete the requirements once you have passed, in others you will have to take some CPE to “refresh” passing scores after quite some time has passed (5 years).

States like Oregon, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky will accept general experience in lieu of direct accounting work, meaning you can work in corporate finance and still get your experience requirements met.

States like Colorado and Oregon will accept work performed under the supervision of a Chartered Accountant as well. Colorado will also waive the work experience requirement completely if you meet certain additional educational experience requirements (150 units), check with the Board for exact details on this. Illinois and Massachusetts may also allow you a license without actual work experience. In Mass, you can receive a non-reporting license if you do not meet the 1 year of overall experience and 1000 hours of attest experience, meaning you can do everything but issue reports on financial statements.

States like Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Montana, and Nebraska will give you a CPA certificate instead of an actual CPA license if you have passed the exam, meaning you can put it on your résumé but will not actually be able to practice as a licensed CPA in that state until you meet the additional work experience requirements.

Currently, California does not require audit hours and you can always add them later if you decide you want to perform audits in the state.

Your best bet is to cough up $10 to access NASBA’s Accountancy Licensing Library to search through the different requirements based on which you might meet. You don’t have to know where to look, just plug in what you have (or expect you will have by the time you are ready to apply for licensure) and figure out which state would work best.

Hope that helps!

How Should a Ex-Big 4 Intern Explain That He Snubbed a Full Time Offer?

Welcome to the Animal-Kingdom-to-Win-in-the-Preakness-edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a former Big 4 intern who turned down a full time offer wants to know how best to explain this snub to his new prospective employers without dragging his old firm through the mud.

Need help with a busy season break-up? Dealing with some crazies at your job? Do you feel ignored for your effohref=”mailto:advice@goingconcern.com”>advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll help you get some attention (or, at the very least, create a diversion).

Back to the Big 4 snub:

Hello,

I interned at a Big 4 tax recently and got a full time offer. My internship experience consisted of little work aside from fighting boredom and trying to find work. I was very disappointed with my experience, and to an extent, felt cheated. I was not expecting much as an intern, but I was expecting to learn at least a few things. Long story short, against the advice of people who say they have my best interest in mind, I turned down the offer.

I have a bad habit of not using my rear view mirrors when I drive, so I am not seeking advice as to whether I should beg for my offer back. My question relates to how I should approach recruiting in the future. Rule #1 is not to speak poorly of a past employer. Not sure how to get around that. Advice? Also, would saying that I was not happy with my internship hurt future opportunities due to the fact that it seems that few people full time seem to be happy (proven flight risk)? Should I leave this experience off my resume? My mother always told me honesty is the best answer, but then again she has been telling me I am special for the last 22 years of my life. Depends how one defines special perhaps.

Anyhoo, I am confident that I will land interviews in the coming season and I have connections with many firms who had extended me internship offers. I am just unsure how to go about explaining this little snag in a beneficial and professional way.

Thanks for any help.

Dear Momma’s Boy,

This is the first instance that I can recall hearing about an intern turning down a full time offer without another one in place. Your confidence in your decision is impressive but we can’t help but think that you had a slightly itchy trigger finger. But as you said, we’re not looking back. Onward!

You are correct that you should not speak poorly of your previous employer. Slamming your former firm for asking you to spend all day at the copy machine will make you sound petty, unprofessional and any prospects will immediately wonder how you’re talking trash about them once you’re out of their presence. Rather than get all mysterio about the experience, you should listen to your mother and be honest about it. But don’t focus entirely on the negative aspects of the internship; there has to be something you took away from it. Once you’ve described something positive (no matter how petty), you can explain why you turned the internship down. Just be careful to not make the situation personal. “It wasn’t a good fit” or “It wasn’t what I expected” is a far better than saying, “I was bored” or “I was smarter than everyone else” OR “I should be running that firm.” Keep it constructive and thought-provoking in when discussing it. Also, I would not leave the experience off your résumé simply because that misrepresents you. Best to go with honesty all the way.

So just keep your ego in check; did you turn a prestigious firm? Yes. Why? It was a decision made based a variety of factors and it wasn’t an easy one to make (even though it might have been). You’ll come off as contemplative and your integrity will be intact. Those aren’t bad qualities to have.