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 definitely looking to compile a wide sample. Please include your firm, office, practice, starting salary, bonus (if applicable) and any other information that you feel like oversharing. Now, this week's letters.

Chowda Head:

Any thoughts on which firm is the best in Boston? I have offers from all four Big 4, but ultimately torn between Deloitte and PwC. I was also shocked when PwC offered me a bit less $$ than the rest, since I've heard they are supposedly known to compensate well… What's that about?

Well, you may have heard that PwC Boston does a lot of work for Bain Capital and a certain Presidential candidate so if that seems to be your speed, I'd go that route. Other than that, I'll largely defer to the peanut gallery on this one since I'm not that familiar with either PwC or Deloitte in Boston but I can personally testify that the KPMG people from Boston were great. And by "great" I mean they were DRINKERS and great to hang out with at national training. That, and there was this nice gal from the Boston office that I always saw at these national trainings who always answered the age-old training question of "If you weren't an accountant, what would you do?" with "dog walker." I always thought that was a WAY better answer than most of the clowns that said "a financial analyst" or "lawyer" or "I can't imagine not being an accountant" because dog walking is actually fun. You get to learn a lot about the different personalities of dogs, it's a good excuse to go to the park, and I really don't mind picking up after them even though their shit is RANCID. Anyway, Boston is great even though everyone there has awful taste in sports teams. 

As for the slightly lower salary, you'll be happy to know that PwC intends on making it up to you. You won't be starving.

BillsToPay:

I've just received a full time Big Four offer in the Midwest (Not Chicago), and I was a little underwhelmed by the salary.  I know that it's not going to make a huge difference, but is there any precedent of college grads negotiation a higher starting salary with the Big Four, or is the starting salary in an office pretty much set?

Think of it this way – There are probably a few dozen college students that would gladly take your Big 4 job for the money offered in a nanosecond. 

Still on a BlackBerry:

I got an offer to intern at WithumSmith+Brown, EisnerAmper and ParenteBeard, but I really wanted Deloitte… Which should I choose to (a) secure a definite position after graduation, and (b) when I apply to Deloitte again which program will they look at with more prestige?

I see how it is – you want to land a guaranteed job and then you want to use that job to land the job you actually want. The first question is impossible to answer because we don't know the individual needs of the offices that extended you offers. They all have a need for new recruits, so it'll be up to you to determine which firm fits you best.

As far as prestige goes, it's much easier to defer to the 2013 rankings over at Vault (methodology) which has the three firms listed thusly (2012 in parenthesis):

16 (13) EisnerAmper
21 (24) ParenteBeard
38 (32) WithumSmith + Brown

Now before you rush to sign with EA, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the flagship Vault ranking (methodology) has them ordered quite differently:

13 (7) WithumSmith + Brown
26 (35) ParenteBeard
34 (10) EisnerAmper

The disparity in the rankings should tell you something. Internships are more than just a springboard into capital market servitude; you should actually, ya know, enjoy the experience. But if prestige is all you're worried about, then I'd say go with EisnerAmper. 

Handout Harry:

Like every breathing intern, I got an offer. The offer was low, but I'll deal with it. Its going to be hard pill to swallow when I compare it to my Goldman and tech friends, but I'm thankful. I'll be accepting the offer with KPMG, regardless of how some posters feel about the firm. A few of my friends are looking to get into a big 4 as a non-intern, how wrong/unethical would it be for me to apply for the other Big 4 in order to guide them and help them along in the social and pre-interview events?

So let me get this straight – you completed an internship, received an offer that you plan to accept, and now are asking if you think it's wrong/unethical to go through the whole process all over again just for the hell of it? Yes, I read the part where you wrote that you were going to "guide" your friends and help them along in the social and pre-interview events, but that's the weirdest part. What are you, some kind of Big 4 sherpa? Do your friends speak English? Are they potty-trained? Do they chew with their mouths closed? Why do you feel compelled to hold their hands through this? Furthermore, what do you plan to tell the recruiting professionals when you show up at these events? That situation will be filled with so much awk, I'm getting uncomfortable for you just thinking about it. 

I imagine it going something like this:

Recruiter who's easy on the eyes: Hey, I'm Jennifer. 

HH: Hi, Jennifer. I'm Harry. 

Recruiter who's easy on the eyes: Harry? Did we meet last year at this thing?

HH: Yep we did.

Recruiter who's easy on the eyes: I knew you looked familiar. How's it going?

HH: Oh pretty good. I graduate soon and will start with KPMG next year.

Recruiter who's easy on the eyes and now completely perplexed: Yeah? That's…cool. What are you doing at this thing again?

HH: Just guiding my buddies through the process.

Recruiter who's easy on the eyes and now even more perplexed: Oh? Who are your friends?

HH: See those guys over there whose faces are covered in chicken wing sauce? That's them. Lemme introduce you.

You're asking if it would be "wrong/unethical" to be a "guide" but I'd be more inclined to call you a "cockblock." No one wants a cockblock.

Good luck, everyone.

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