September 20, 2019

PwC Really Wants You to Be a CPA Before Senior But Will No Longer Hassle You About It

Fresh from /r/accounting comes news that PwC Assurance is no longer requiring licensure before promotion to senior which naturally led me to ask my cat who happened to be sitting next to me on the couch “wait, since when do you need a CPA to get promoted to senior to begin with?” I mean manager, sure, but senior? Guess we missed that memo which would make sense since whenever we end up copied on company-wide PwC emails it usually ends badly.

Here are some highlights from the letter that went out from PwC Vice Chairman and US Assurance Leader Maria Castañón Moats to Assurance grunts (which you can check out in its entirety here):

Effective today, Assurance will no longer require associates to pass a primary credential exam for promotion to senior associate. This means that associates who have demonstrated appropriate progression against the PwC Professional Framework may be eligible for promotion on July 1, 2019 whether they have passed their primary credential exam or not. If you are in an Assurance practice that requires a primary credential, you will still be required to hold your primary credential for promotion to manager.

Man, would-be procrastinators who rushed to squeeze exams in before July are gonna be piiiiiiiissed. But hey, good news for future procrastinators, I guess.

While we are no longer requiring primary credential exams for promotion to senior associate, we remain committed to getting each staff member credentials as early in your career as possible. So, to further support you in getting credentialed early, we have a few additional enhancements to the policy:

1. We are increasing the Assurance primary credential exam bonuses to reward those associates who pass exams early. The increased bonus awards are retroactive for all current associates and those who were promoted January 1, 2019 to senior associate who have already received a primary credential bonus. The incremental bonus amounts will be paid on April 30, 2018.

2. Associates will have 40 hours per year of protected time to book in TalentLink to study for their primary credential exam. The deployment team will help staff schedule this time based on client demands.

3. For those who have an expired Becker license and are eligible to renew the programs at the PwC discounted priced under the Becker Promise they will only be responsible to pay 50% of the cost – the firm will cover the other 50% one additional time.

SO. It looks like PwC is taking a more chill approach on leveling up for associates but perhaps hoping a few hours to study and some extra cash will be incentive for them to grind toward licensure anyway.

She ends her letter with “thank you for your continued focus on attaining your primary credentials early on in your career” which feels like a really passive aggressive way to say “you fucks better be happy with some more money cuz we’ve had it with y’all dragging your feet on this crap.”

Because we’re us, this is the part of the show where we wildly speculate as to what has motivated PwC to ease up on the pressure. Could it possibly be a talent shortage? Too many associates jumping ship before they’ve invested the appropriate amount of blood, sweat, and tears to the cult firm? A once-in-a-lifetime epiphany whereupon TPTB realized that working assurance associates to the bone while also expecting them to invest 300+ hours in professional licensure is slightly unreasonable not to mention fairly unobtainable without insane doses of methamphetamine?

With firms supposedly fighting over “top talent” (read: warm bodies), it will be interesting to see if we have a pending firm war brewing. Let’s be real, ping-pong tables and jeans Fridays just ain’t going to cut it in this thirsty world of public accounting.

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