November 16, 2018

Be true to your school

Let’s Exchange Heated Words About: The Top 30 Accounting Undergrad Programs

This is the closest we'll get to a BCS ranking of accounting programs.  Accounting Degree Review mashed together the lists of US News, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Public Accounting Report to come up with their own 30 Best Accounting Schools for Undergrads. I suppose we'll have to live with this until a playoff system is developed. […]

Top Ten Accounting Programs Are Spectacularly Unspectacular

It's that time of year again where U.S. News & World Report clings to relevancy by issuing their College Rankings List and, per usual, we'll present you with the top undergraduate accounting programs with indifference. The purpose of these rankings, as we all know, allows the alumni and current students of top accounting schools the opportunity […]

Let’s *Try* to Have a Civil Discussion About Accounting Program Rankings

Every year, U.S. News & World Report bestows their storied list of best Colleges and Universities. It's a great opportunity to show school pride (unless you're a Penn State alum) or to make snide remarks because you went to a TTT and are mad with envy. Because we know that discussing loaded rankings such as […]

Here Are the Colleges with the Best CPA Exam Performance

Did I mention I'm enjoying this? These 2010 CPA exam stats have to do with first-time testing events taken by candidates without advanced degrees. The cool part is this is all broken down by section; the not that cool part is the same few schools absolutely killed it on every part. Wake Forest ranked first […]

And Now, We’re Going to Judge Florida Colleges’ Performance on the CPA Exam

First, can I just say I am beyond thrilled that you guys even care about these CPA exam stats? I mean that. I half expected all of you to call me a boring loser for wasting precious Going Concern real estate going over these, so thanks for proving me wrong. I might still be a […]

How One Emotionless CPA Completely Dominated The Penn State Press Conference

U.S. Steel CEO and vice chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees John Surma spent last night in the hot seat, fielding angry questions from bitter Penn State fans-cum-journalists (read: second year J-schoolers) distraught by this whole scandal nonsense. You see, it fell on his shoulders to announce to the world that the trustees canned head coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier.

Why do we care? Surma got his BS in accounting from Penn State University in 1976 and started off his career at then Price Waterhouse. He is a member of the AICPA and sits on the Bank of New York Mellon’s board. Therefore, he’s a member of the club.

And he handled last night’s Penn State press conference like a gangster. Even when angry “journalists” attacked.

See? This is why you send a CPA into the lion’s den. An architect would have crumbled. An engineer may have cried. A doctor would have cowered in fear. But a CPA? Stone-faced and calm with zero emotion, just how a Board of Trustees vice chairman should be when announcing a beloved coach has been canned due to, er, questionable discretion. And of course, because CPAs aren’t real big on that whole interaction thing, they called Paterno on the phone to tell him the news. Not a sit down or even coffee, but a phone call.

Told you he was gangsta.

Here’s the video:

Analysis: If Your Accounting Firm Was a College Football Team

Pack up your white pants and seersucker suits – Labor Day has come and gone which means only one (actually important) thing: college football is back. You NFL loving freaks can have your Sundays of Hollywood-produced sport; I believe the good Lord created Sundays solely as a recovery day for college football fans. Well, for that and drunk brunches, of course.

It is no secret that good ol’ Caleb is a vehement Husker fan,he only reason he’s given me the green light to churn out a post comparing your respective accounting firms to the likes of fried-butter-eating college football fanatics.

I can only pray that my effort will inspire the semi-regular infusion of sport, accounting, and bantering commenters around here, so I give you the “Accounting Firms If They Were A College Football Program” top nine rankings. Grab your body paint and come along for the tailgate.


Firm: Deloitte
Team: Oklahoma Sooners
First Take: Both are always in title contention but seem to shit the bed come Pay Day. Deloitte raises are on par with the Sooners’ BCS bowl record under Coach Bob Stoops (2-8).
Keep it in the Family: During Hurricane Irene, Deloitte encouraged employees to bunk up together, obviously a practice long in use in Oklahoma.
Sputter, Sputter: Sooner alum Blake Griffin jumped over a KIA at last year’s NBA slam dunk contest. A certain Deloitte consultant also prefers a certain overused and washed out mode of transportation…

Firm: PwC
Team: Oregon Ducks
First Take: They’re in the news for legit (raises, hurry-up offense) and controversial (fireside chats, BCS infractions) more often than you’d like. Also, their team colors are atrocious.
Hotties Everywhere: PDubs has Ireland. The Ducks have these ladies.
Just Pick One Already: PwC doesn’t churn out new logo/uniform re-designs as often as the Ducks but both cause a stir when they do. Whether the changes for either team result in better winnings has yet to be seen.

Firm: Ernst & Young
Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
First Take: You hate going up against them, but even if they do win, you’re thankful you’re not affiliated with their alumni.
Compliance? What Compliance? Former coach Jim Tressell thought it best to let a tattoos-for-autographs program run its course. E&Y is apparently doing the same with this minor Sino-Forest sitch.
Questionable Mascots: The poisonous nuts of the Midwest are no match for the Black & Yellow guy.

Firm: KPMG
Team: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
First Take: Still talking about that big win in 1983. An exodus of leadership. The general public has gone from loathing them to just feeling bad for them. Give it up, you’re no longer the powerhouse you (thought you) once were.
Johnny Be Good. The Chairman is also a proud ND alum. Need we say more?
Empty Promises: We’re going to win it all! We’re going to hire thousands!

Firm: Grant Thornton
Team: Northwestern Wildcats
First Take: As hard you they try to be tough, they’re still nerds dressed in purple.
Off-the-Mark Advertising: GT – the lack of aligned teeth took some bite out of your full-page WSJ ad. And Dan Persa for Heisman – really? Your mom for Heisman.

Firm: Rothstein Kass
Team: Boise State Broncos
First Take: First it was a feel-good story but their continued rise through the ranks is pissing off the traditionalists.
The-Anybody-But-The-Other-Guy- Vote: Whether it was Boise’s ridiculously fantastic win over Oklahoma years ago in the Fiesta Bowl or RK’s dominance in the Going Concern March Madness pool, oftentimes their fan support stemmed from us just hating their competition more.

Firm: McGladrey
Team: Missouri Tigers
Only Take: You’re supposed to be on this list; we know you belong on this list; we don’t know what you’ve done to deserve being on this list.

Firm: BDO
Team: Penn State Nittany Lions
First Take: Your parents would have been pleased if you went there but better options awaited you.
Race to the Retirement Home: JoePa is 84 and coaching from the press box. Rumor has it Jack Weisbaum calls the shots from his personal tanning bed.

Firm: CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
Team: University Buffalo Bulls
Only Take: You think you’re a big deal, but really everyone uses you as an exhibition punching bag.

How’d we do? What team best parodies your firm? Share it in the comments below.

Let’s Discuss: Best Accounting Programs According to Recruiters

Yesterday the Journal got into the ranking act with their list of colleges based on recruiters’ preferences. The accounting program rankings aren’t too surprising but we called in the friendly HR professional and recruiting maven Dan Braddock to discuss the rankings. First things first however – the pecking order:

1. BYU
2. Wisconsin-Madison
3. Illinois-Champaign
4. Minnesota
5. Penn State
6. Michigan
7. Maryland
8. Cal-Berkley
9. UCLA
10. Ohio State
11. NYU


What follows is my chat with Dan-o as he tries to break this dorong>: Okay, let’s kick this off. You sent me a link to some WSJ article about the school rankings based on recruiter opinions.
CJN: I did. Personally, I find it hard to take the list too seriously without Texas-Austin or Notre Dame on it.
DWB: It makes perfect sense as to why they’re not on the list.
CJN: Explain, that sounds like crazy talk.
DWB: This isn’t based on caliber of program; it’s a list of what recruiters find to be the “best” schools. Take a look at the list of Best Accounting Schools. First, those schools are huge; many of them are state schools. Recruiters get the most “bang for the buck” out of schools like this. Second, if you mapped these out, they’re schools that can can service as feeder programs for multiple offices. For example, Deloitte can visit UCLA and find potential candidates for their California and west coast offices. This removes the necessity to visit several smaller schools across the same geogrpahic region. Penn State services Philly, Pittsburgh, D.C., Baltimore, New Jersey, and New York City. Lehigh University in eastern PA is a much better accounting program than Penn State, but has a smaller geographic reach and a smaller pool of students.
CJN: But doesn’t the #1 school, BYU, buck that idea completely? Their enrollment is small by comparison and Salt Lake City is a relatively small market
DWB: BYU has more than 25,000 undergrads from every state in the country – again, national reach.
CJN: Fine but why no UT? The Texas market is huge and has national reach.
DWB: I admit, Texas is the one school that I was shocked not to see on the list – on the surface, it is large in size, has a well respected business program, and is nationally known. But dig deeper and it makes sense. Of their 38,000 undergraduates, only 8.5% are from outside the state of Texas. So applying that same percentage to the number of undergrads in the business school (4,500) that’s about 380 students. How many of them study accounting? My guess is not many. That said, accounting students interested in offices elsewhere (Chicago, LA, NYC) should have no problem landing interviews, as the local Texas recruiters from the Big4 blanket UT at Austin.
CJN: And Notre Dame? Why are they MIA? John Veihmeyer has to be pissed. And not just about the choke against Michigan.
DWB: Hahaha. I’m sure he voiced his frustration about both. He’s probably having nightmares about the most recent flop in South Bend. Again, it’s all about size of program. National name, yes, but when your business program is ~2,500 students in total…Also, remember that these rankings for best accounting programs is not just by Big 4 recruiters. This is everyone. Johnson&Johnson, regional mortgage firms, Disney, etc.
CJN: Interesting
DWB: Obviously there is some kind of balance in play here. As a whole, all of these schools are nationally known and well respected in the industry; there are no schleps on the list. For recruiters, it’s all about efficiency of time and finances. A hotel room and flight to visit a school where hundreds of accounting students are salivating at the opportunity to work for you is impossible to pass up.
CJN: So everyone on this list belongs on it or are there other schools that are missing that should be in the top…11 (?)
DWB: Considering their proximity to one another I was suprised to see both the U of Minnesota and U of Wisconsin on the list but no, nothing too surprising. Since it is college football season, the Big Ten definitely has the SEC beat when it comes to accountants (6 v. 0 on the list). Maybe that’s why they’re better on the gridiron.
CJN: OR maybe it’s because it’s the SOUTH. My guess is that people don’t go to Vandy to get an accounting degree.
DWB: I am surprised not to see a school from the South – no UNC Chapel Hill
CJN: Fair point.
DWB: In closing, I think it goes to show that US News & World Report rankings are not the end all be all for recruiters. Nationally known names, established programs, and large alumni bases go a long way.
CJN: Right. And a good football team doesn’t mean shit (read: Alabama).
DWB: Below the belt, CN.
CJN: Whatevs. Can you explain the pachyderm? B/c I sure as hell can’t.

The Top 25 Recruiter Picks [WSJ]

Of Course an Accountant Is the World’s Top Fantasy Football Player

As you’re no doubt aware, this past Saturday the college football season began and on Sunday the NFL kicks off their season. For many of you with a pigskin-crazed significant other, this means that you won’t be seeing much of him or her on the weekends for the rest of the year.

This also means that thousands of hours will be wasted by (primarily) men at work and in their free time, antagonizing over the players on their rosters* and coming up with lame trash talk for their upcoming opponents. For the most part, the gajillion of dollars lost in productivity and the strain put on relationships is accepted by society (there are exceptions).

Football is more of a religion than any of the faiths these days anyway. Plus, we’re fairly certain that men sitting on their asses while ingesting meat and watching freakishly obsese men (and a few athletes) sacrifice life and limb is all but guaranteed by The Constitution. Fantasy football is a mere extension of this phenomenon.

Anyway, there has to be a king of this geekfest of stats, laptops and greasy food and his name is John Rozek. And he is an accountant.


More technically, Rozek is “king of fantasy football by the World Championship of Fantasy Sports, the big dog in big-money, faux-football leagues.” The World Championship of Fantasy Sports (“WCOFS”) will be awarding $2 million in prize money this year which should allow some of the big winners to actually get laid.

Rozek (who won $25k last year in various leagues) doesn’t claim to be a guru, just smarter than the born losers he plays against, “You have to take advantage of people not making the best picks,” he told the Trib. “And you can’t fall in love with players.”

This really shouldn’t surprise you one iota. Looking over a mess of seemingly meaningless numbers, maintaining objectivity, impervious to distractions like spouse, kids, etc. when its busy and/or football season is what accountants so good at their jobs in the first place. It’s like revealing that an accountant is the best at stamp collecting (we’re sure it’s a fine hobby) or a World of Warcraft champion. Most people’s reaction would be, “Meh. I could’ve guessed that.”

Chicago accountant is world’s top-ranked fantasy football player [CT]

*Full disclosure: I am in one league and my team will be dominating this year.

John Veihmeyer Wins One for the Gipper

[caption id="attachment_10529" align="alignright" width="150" caption="But how does he feel about Charlie Weis getting fired?"][/caption]

A few weeks back we presented the BusinessWeek ranking of accounting programs that found Notre Dame at the top. At first we just figured Touchdown Jesus had something to do with it but now we have reason to speculate that a divine carpenter had nothing to do with it.

Since KPMG Chairman-elect John Veihmeyer was recently named alumnus of the year by Notre Dame’s accounting department, some people might assume that JVeih did a little lobbying of the BusinessWeek folks in order to earn the top spot and perhaps this is South Bend’s thank you for the kind words.


Whether this back-scratching theory has any weight to it is up for a debate but what we know for sure is that some lucky Irish students/future Klynveldians got to hear JV speak recently at Notre Dame Stadium and some inspiring words were shared:

During his remarks, Veihmeyer used his own educational roots and career experiences to remind students what a unique opportunity they have had at Notre Dame and how it will benefit them on the road ahead. His audience listened in rapt attention. While the average college student would have paid just to have dinner in Notre Dame Stadium, these students knew that getting career advice from the Alumnus of the Year and CEO and future Chairman of a Big Four Accounting Firm was priceless.

From the sounds of it, the speech was the KPMG equivalent of this:

Follow up on Program Rankings: William & Mary, Texas Placement Statistics

William&mary_seal.pngWe interrupt our regularly scheduled downtime for a brief message to update our Accounting Program Ranking thread.
A reader (no doubt a proud William & Mary alum) pointed us to some employment statistics for the MAcc class of 2009.
The 28 recipients of the Mason School’s (#1 for program for small schools as you’ll recall) MAcc degree break down like this:
• The Big 4 firms took 18 of the 28 graduates, E&Y and Deloitte took five each while KPMG and PwC took four each.


• Twenty-one of the graduates took jobs in the Richmond or DC area with the remaining grads taking positions in cities that included San Francisco, Kansas City, and Boston.
• Eight graduates fell into a salary range of $45,000 to $50,000. Only one graduate started at a salary above $60,000. Seventeen graduates (62%) received bonuses in addition to their base salary.
The McCombs School of Business has similar stats for 2008 (see the link below for all the stats):
78% of their survey respondents stated that they went to a Big 4 firm.
Average salary was $52,702.
73% of the respondents took jobs in the state of Texas, while 13% accepted positions in New York.
Since these two schools are both highly ranked it’s not a surprise that the stats would be similar but it would be interesting to know how other schools’ compared to these programs. If your school puts out similar statistics that you want to see mentioned here point us in the right direction (you’re lucky you go this today) and we’ll put them up so you can debate them to the death.
Mason School of Business [The College of William & Mary]
The McCombs School of Business [The University of Texas at Austin]
2008 MPA Salary_7-10-08.pdf

Accounting Program Rankings: Open Thread

Thumbnail image for BelushiCollege_CPA.jpgA tipster pointed us to a link that went up on Tuesday over at the College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business that announced the school as the “number one ranked small school for both their undergraduate and Master of Accounting programs.”
The website gives us the lowdown on the Public Accounting Report’s 2009 Annual Survey of Accounting Professors :

For the first time, the rankings have been split into three categories: small, medium and large schools, according to the number of teaching professors at the institution. The school rankings are based on professors’ ranking of accounting programs on a 1 to 10 scale in answering the question, “which programs consistently turn out students capable of some day attaining partner status?”


Judging by our partner thread poll over 60% of you aren’t interested in making partner and only a small percentage of you will actually become parters, so the question seems narrow to us.
We did some looking around and the only other school we’ve found that is making any noise about this so far is the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business:

Following a venerable tradition in the PAR, McCombs continues to excel across all three rankings–undergraduate, graduate, and PhD.–each of which ranks the top 25 programs in the nation.

tu UT ranks #2, #1, #1, and #1 in undergrad, grad, doctoral (teaching), and doctoral (research). The #1 ranked school for the undergrad program was the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but nothing appears on the website yet.
So if only two schools are making a fuss about this, the question is worth asking: do the rankings mean anything? The Big 4 recruit at many schools and it’s no secret that academic “prestige” does not guarantee professional success so are schools making a BFD out of something of marginal importance?
Our question is merely our own musing so opine it if you like but this is an open thread on accounting school rankings so discuss at nauseam whatever you like. If your school has sent out an announcement related to the “Public Accounting Report’s 2009 Annual Survey of Accounting Professors” toss it our way and we’ll update the post with other rankings.
UPDATE: Check out select placement stats for the College of William & Mary and UT Austin here.
McCombs Tops List of Accounting Programs in Latest Ranking [McCombs Today]

Jim Quigley, Still ‘a Proud Aggie,’ Fails to Go Out on a High Note

Jim_quigley.jpgThat’s right, he’s proud. Never mind that the football team just finished their season 4 – 8. Sports aren’t everything.
The Big Q, swindler of unsuspecting journalists, took time away from calling CEOs on private jets to give a speech at Utah State (his alma mater) to faculty and students on ethics.
We won’t give you all the gory details since CNN probably is working on that piece right now. We’d hate to steal their thunder.


We will mention that Quigs is swelling with pride that USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Scholars agree to “principles” which he quoted in the speech:

“I agree to conduct myself according to the highest ethical standards. I will accept personal responsibility for my conduct and any consequences for mistakes, accidental or intentional. I will be honest, truthful and fair in alof my actions and interactions with others. I will also demonstrate civil, respectful and courteous concern for and behavior toward others at all times both in and outside of the classroom.”

It seems like a fine group of sentences but I implore you: is it an oath/promise laminated on tiny cards? Hardly, dude.
Ethics and integrity aside, Quigs’ remarks seem like the standard boilerplate metaphors and clichés. Hell, he even quotes the Oracle in his conclusion, “Warren Buffett said: ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.’ And, once lost, it can take years to rebuild.”
It works well enough but we would have rather heard Quigs wrap it up with “I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman but I’ve sure woke up with a few.” It would’ve brought the house down. High note, Quigs. Always look to go out on that high note.
Jim_Quigley_Utah_State_remarks.pdf