July 21, 2018

Choices

Close to Partner, But Having Second Thoughts

PwC announced its new partner class last week and it's a reminder that becoming partner in accounting firm is an impressive career milestone. Yes, despite a ton of opportunities to find meaningful, less soul-sucking work elsewhere, a few of you reading these words right now will become partners and live to tell about it (at […]

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 […]

Would You Rather: Have Part II of PCAOB Inspection Report Released or Find Out an Audit Partner Passed Along Inside Information?

Oh, to be a Big 4 firm these days. Yes, billions of dollars flow in from every corner of the world thanks to your professional services, but thanks to the audit practice, there's peril around every corner!  The news that former KPMG audit partner Scott London passed along inside information to someone outside the firm […]

Why Do People Become Auditors in the First Place?

Ed. note: Is busy season bringing out the worst in you? CPA exam seem hopeless? Having trouble finding the box of tickmarks in the supply room? Email us your problems and one of us will put you on the couch. GC,   I recently decided to leave my position in a Big Four Advisory position after […]

Does Your Work Attitude Need an Adjustment?

For the majority of the time you’re at work, what’s your attitude? Gung-ho and get-it-done? Excitement? Just happy to have a job? Get through the day so you can go home?

I started thinking about this after reading self-described Chief Happiness Officer Alexander Kjuerulf’s examination of “What the heck is work anyway?

• If work is simply what you do because you have to, then happiness at work is almost impossible by definition.

• If work is only what you do for money, it eliminates all volunteer work.

• If work is only what you do for a purpose, then all aspects of your job that are not productive are no longer work.

I’m not claiming to have the answer yet, but as I see it, here are some elements of a definition of work that is conducive to happiness:

• Work is something you choose to do. You may not have a choice of whether or not to work, but you have choice in what work you do.

• Work is something you’re valued for. Either someone pays you for your work or someone takes the time and resources to organize your work.

• Work is an activity where you make a positive difference for someone else.

Whether or not you agree with where Kjuerulf is going with this, he is absolutely correct that work is a choice. You can choose not to work (and face the consequences on your lifestyle), and you can choose the work you do.

But there is a critical element that Kjuerulf leaves out – you also can choose your attitude. If the work you do every day is not something you love, you can choose to do it with an attitude that expresses your desire to do a good job, deliver an excellent end product, and respect those around you.

Even if you tend to love the work you do, but occasionally get an assignment you don’t enjoy or teammates who rub you the wrong way, you can still choose your attitude.

It’s that ability to choose that sets us apart. Those around us (bosses and colleagues, alike) make it easier to choose a positive attitude by appreciating our efforts and the attitude we demonstrate in accomplishing our goals.

What attitude will you choose today?

About the author:
Derek Irvine is a seasoned, internationally-minded management professional with more than 20 years of experience working across a diverse range of industries. An authority on the topics of employee engagement and recognition, he is a regular speaker at indus try and professional group conferences worldwide and is frequently published in leading media. He is coauthor of Winning with a Culture of Recognition.

Reprinted with permission from HR.com.

Decision Time for One Recruit: Deloitte or KPMG?

Returning again with another edition of accounting career therapy, a recruit has two offers – one from Deloitte, one from KPMG. Rather than speak to their friends, family or flip a coin, they emailed us.

Need help making your next career move? Been taking a beating at work and need inspired? Need help deciding if you’re too hot for accounting? Send us your query (and pictures) to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help/judge.

I have an offer from Deloitte and KPMG. Where I reside, the local Deloitte is almost twice as large than the local KPMG, but is also known to work longer hours. Of course, rankings will say that Deloitte is better than KPMG and seemingly pays more according to my research done on this very site. I don’t want to seem shallow, but I am at the moment. Should I go for the money/prestigious name or the shorter hours?

On a side note, I’m honestly only looking to a 5- to 6-year plan in public accounting (hopefully to make manager). With that in mind, what route would you take between Deloitte and KPMG?


Ahhh, the firm versus firm debate. One of the oldest and stupidest to be had. But it’s fun, so let’s indulge, shall we?

Regardless of the back and forth you might read in the comments, judging the firms collectively is a waste of time. There are “good offices” and “bad offices” at each firm. How you choose to define “good” and “bad” is up to you but it sounds like you’ve painted yourself into a corner, saying “Big prestigious firm = good,” “Money = good” and “Long working hours = bad.” Choosing a firm based on this perception is futile exercise. The difference in money won’t be life changing and “shorter hours” probably won’t feel shorter. Trust us.

And you know who agrees with us? DWB.

Clearly in this situation, the KPMG recruiters did a better job managing (i.e. bullshitting) the “long hours” argument. Long hours are a simple fact of life. Unless you want to work at the Post Office, you’ll be hard pressed to find 9a-6p. Also, remember that regardless of where you start your career you will find yourself at the bottom of the food chain. Welcome to the Big 4, kid.

Try this on for size – forget money, prestige and long hours. What about – gasp – choosing the firm that seems like the best fit for you? Did you like the Deloitte people or were they snooty two-shoes? Did the KPMG people seem like a fun bunch or were they all work and no play, thus a bunch of dull mofos? You’re going to have to work with these people EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And many nights. And weekends. Do you want to be around people that you think you’ll enjoy working with or that you’ll consider suffocating with pillow or poisoning their late-night food?

With that in mind, make your choice. Hell, maybe it won’t be either firm but forget about money, perception and hours. If that’s your measuring stick for choosing a firm, then you may have bigger issues on your hands.