July 20, 2018

Is Big 4 all that?

Can Someone Help This Guy Know What It Feels Like To Be Wanted?

I am pretty sure some of you have some sage advice for this poor lost little sheep who can’t seem to elbow his way into the Big 4.

I have a question. I go to a small college where I am an accounting major. I hold a high GPA, several internships, involved in campus activity and in the community and a member of a fraternity. I understand that your resume is not going to get you an interview with one of the big 4. However, since I do not attend a school that the big 4 recruit from I am not able to gain any face time. I cannot get the time of day from any recruiter because I am not in their “pipleline” and I am always told that they willl keep it for consideration come time to recruit in the fall. I have networked like crazy through alumni of my school, my fraternity, my friends, my church, and my community. I am always referred to the recruiter and then I am always told that I will be considered. If you can shed any advice on how to obtain an interview from the big 4 that does not recruit your school I would appreciate it. I am I just out of luck and should of went to a bigger university?

Ahem. “Should have gone to a bigger university” for starters. This particular OP also attached a resume which I obviously won’t share and didn’t even open. I didn’t need to. And I’m a no-CPA-having, pissed off blogger, imagine what Big 4 recruiters would think reading a submission like the one above.

When you say you’ve “networked,” what exactly does that mean? “Networking” with your fraternity usually doesn’t have anything to do with work, and unless you are a member of the St H&R Block congregation, I’m unclear as to how your church is helping you get in at the Big 4. It’s good that you are making the rounds to get advice and support on this but the best thing you can do is evaluate your own way of approaching this because something obviously isn’t working.

In any correspondence with the firm, double-check this list to make sure you aren’t making any of these. I wouldn’t dare say working at the Big 4 is like rocket science or that you need to write a perfectly-worded dissertation to get in but maybe your fraternity experience is better expressed in person than written. You’d probably do great at a recruiting event if you had the opportunity to go to one.

There is a back door you can take by attending other professional events to see if you can meet someone who knows someone that likes your __________ (knowledge; ability to be molded into whatever they need; desire to please people whose job it is to bullshit you into one more busy season) and get you in. I don’t think writing to these people is going to help you.

In short, your fast track to the “pipeline” is to make yourself marketable and desirable to these bloodthirsty sharks. Slit your wrists in the water if you have to knowwhatI’msayin.

In a followup email to the OP, I asked “How are you approaching these recruiters? ‘Hey I kinda want a job with you guys’ or ‘I have x to offer and will take y assrape in exchange for it’ ?”

“I am pretty assertive so I am probably approaching it the second way you mentioned it. I am not sure if I would want to stay forever but, I want the name on my resume and I am willing to put in the time while I am young and single,” he wrote. I’d have to see his communications with recruiters or HR shlubs to confirm if he is being explicit about the level of assrape he’s willing to endure and for how long.

They can smell it, you know.

Is Life at the Big 4 Really What Working Mothers Want?

Let’s just say we weren’t surprised to see all 4 Big 4 appear on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list, nor were we surprised to see list favorites like Grant Thornton and McGladrey joining them. As is my wont, however, I’m loathe to point out that the definition of “working mother” is a vague one.

It would be ignorant to assume that all working women want are flexible working hours and more than 12 weeks off after squeezing out another kid but once again it appears as though that is the yardstick we’re using. Know what would have really come in handy for me when I first had my son? Time off for his dad so he could stay home with my infant while I escaped to work for a little quiet time with irate customers. Maybe I’m not your average working mother and you are as always welcome to correct me if I don’t represent the status quo but in my view, moms with jobs want more than just a cookie cutter work-life balance. I don’t even know what work-life balance is and am pretty sure the term was made up in some HR braindump meeting, but somehow it exists to this day and supposedly remains the definitive goal of most working women even though it doesn’t even really have a definition. Sorry but I don’t buy it and I don’t know many working women who do.

What working mothers really need is the respect of their peers, opportunities to advance through the firm that are in line with those of their male peers and a work life that doesn’t stress them out to the point that they want to shake the baby and slap the hubby by the time they get home from a grueling work day.

Is that work-life balance? Maybe. Don’t get me started on the idea that all women are motivated by a desire to raise a family either because for some of us work-life balance means being able to balance a cocktail in one hand and the remote in the other at the end of a long day. Where’s the list of top companies for Dads? Bunch of sexists. Oh and pay equal to their male counterparts would also be nice but since we’re still caught up in this antiquated notion that women desire more time off to raise their families, it really shouldn’t be reasonable to expect women to receive equal benefits if they are also requesting special treatment.

Anyway, congratulations to Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Grant Thornton, McGladrey and PwC for making the Working Mother list and I’ll keep waiting for the day when we can get over ourselves and admit that we all have unique goals that aren’t always easily defined by nonsensical terms and preconceived notions of what people should desire.

Accounting Salaries Are Dead Even; Is Big 4 Work Experience the Difference?

Last month we opened a thread on your salaries and your response was impressive. Just for fun, we found some poor soul to crunch some of the numbers so that we might share some information on the data we gathered.

We’ll start off with a post facing off the Big 4 salary against non-Big 4 salary. Here are the average salaries for each based on the data we collected:

Non-Big 4 – $72,136

Big 4 – $71,166


If you getting worked up over less than a $1,000 difference, then you’re more shrewd than we imagined. For the more reasonable of you, the discussion is, what are the unmentionables here? Both Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms have their advantages and many of you have made the jump from Big 4 to non-Big 4; non-Big 4 to Big 4; Big 4 to non-Big 4 back to Big 4, whatever.

A popular argument is that the Big 4 work experience is irreplaceable on a resumé but is it? Will potential employers really pick someone with a Big 4 background the majority of the time?

Most people would agree that auditing is auditing and the tax law is the same no matter where you work. Smaller firms have just a many unique clients as large firms so there’s experience to be gained everywhere.

Now before you start shouting, “if you want a job at a Fortune 500 company, blah, blah, blah” how many of those jobs are really out there? Enough so that everyone that has left a Big 4 firm will be able to find a job? Let’s not pretend we all have the same ambitions here.