June 23, 2018

Are Résumés Obsolete in Public Accounting?

resume public accounting

Okay, maybe not quite obsolete, but they absolutely should be. Résumés don’t convey much. Did you work Big 4 or not? Did you have a high GPA in college? They’re the only truly socially-acceptable way to brag about an award or study abroad experience. Beyond that, a résumé isn’t very helpful.

You can tell by someone’s signature if they’re a CPA, so that’s something you probably already know once you have an opportunity to dig into that person’s résumé. Plus, people rarely update them. They are just a static proclamation of how cool you are…

Why not rely on social media, in this case, LinkedIn, instead? Or, just skip it and go straight to a skills assessment that corresponds with the actual job? Wouldn’t that be much more indicative of someone’s abilities?

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner preaches that “skills, not degrees” should be the foundation of every hiring decision. Who cares if you an accounting degree if you don’t have any idea what you’re doing?

Oh, wait, being in over your head without enough training is an auditor’s life. Bad example.

Let’s go back to this Business Insider article, which quoted startup founder Adam Markowitz:

Potential over pedigree. Talent, grit, and passion [are] everywhere — from Ivy Leagues to community colleges, dev boot camps, and everywhere in between.

I agree marketable skills matter more than a fancy degree. And, I’d say in public accounting, the ability to fake it ‘til you make it is also required. That’s something that doesn’t show up on a résumé either.

Unfortunately, no matter how flawed, firms still ask for them. So we have to oblige and scrap one together. But, why spend time crafting your résumé for public accounting recruiting season when as soon as you make it to an on-campus interview, you are asked to retype everything on your résumé (and more) into a digital application? Who has time for that? It’s annoying.

I argue that the “meet and mingle” events are much more important in public accounting than a candidate’s résumé. For direct campus hires especially, no one has done much to differentiate themselves on paper anyway. Maybe a stellar GPA or past internship? Nothing really stands out at that age.

That’s why firms do so many of this type of event. To get a sense of you as a person, and if they can spend 10-14 hours a day in a room with you, without wanting to gouge out their eyeballs. Then, if you pass that first impression test, the internship will determine if you can tick and tie sufficiently and, by golly, you’re in! With people jumping ship right and left, firms won’t tell you, but they do need you.

So, can we just skip the résumé and save us all a little time?

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Job of the Week: Do You Have a Preternatural Ability for GAAP Disclosures?

hire me2.jpgSince there seems to be some unhappy campers out there we’ll take a moment of your day to tell you about a position that might make you less miserable or hopefully better compensated:
Company: Morgan Stanley
Location: New York
Title: Associate/Manager
Description: Associate or Manager for our Legal Entity Accounting & Disclosure Group. Responsibilities will include gaining an understanding of the firm’s equity financing products, derivatives and securities lending business in order to assist in producing and analyzing many of the division’s financial accounting disclosures.
Skills Required: BS or BA in Finance and/or Accounting, CPA preferred; 3-5 years of experience in Public Accounting and/or financial services industry; Must have thorough understanding of FAS 133, FAS 140, FIN 46, FAS 157 and FAS 161 FASB pronouncements
See the full description at the GC Career Center and if this position doesn’t tickle your get your ass off the couch/ship-jumping bone, go to the main page and find your next temporary dream job.

Recruiting: Considering the Non-Big 4 Employers

BelushiCollege.jpgAs recruiting continues this week, we’ll put out the idea of opting to starting your career with a firm or company as opposed to starting at a Big 4 firm. Regardless of the Big 4’s dominance of the BW list, there are several smaller firms that make good offers and all businesses need number crunchers to track all the bloody money.
And this year, since many of the Big 4 don’t appear to be making as many offers, going with a national or regional firm or private company becomes a serious option for many recruits.
For the recruits out there, are you giving serious consideration to taking a position with a non-Big 4 firm? For the rest of you, is starting your career at a Big 4 the only way to go or can relative happiness and success be found elsewhere?
Discuss in the comments.