November 13, 2018

Career moves

Accountant Goalie Scott Foster Attends NHL Awards Show, Is Funnier Than Jim Belushi

Golub Capital accountant Scott Foster, who has shunned the public spotlight since he helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 6-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on March 29 as an emergency backup goalie, came out of hiding last night to present an award during the NHL awards show in Las Vegas. As someone who […]

Leave Scott Foster Alone, He Has Accounting To Do

Scott Foster, the accountant-turned-emergency goalie who blocked seven shots in fourteen minutes for the Blackhawks last Thursday, became an instant Chicago sports legend. But don’t think all this instant fame has gone to his head. In a post-game interview, “[T]omorrow I’m going to wake up, I’m going to button up my shirt, and I’m going […]

PwC Chairman Bob Moritz Says Heat Stroke Is Good for Your Career

Whelp, better get the trophies, as this is without a doubt the worst anecdote ever: Heat-tested in Texas. Here’s a great story about the importance of being agile and learning all you can from the opportunities you’re presented with. Early in her career, one of my partners at PwC was assigned to our Houston office. […]

The Transition From IRS Agent to Little Person Sexologist Is a No Brainer

When you think about career transitions, you would correctly assume most folks stick within the same type of industry. For one former IRS agent, however, working for the IRS and working on helping people get fucked really isn't all that different: Dr. Marylou Naccarato was an agent for the Internal Revenue Service for decades before […]

The Best Way to Follow Up Two Gold Medals Is a Career at KPMG

Canadian gold medal winning skier Alexandre Bilodeau is no stranger to KPMG, his dad is a longtime tax partner in the Montreal office and he's got a sponsorship deal from KPMG Canada. So it completely makes sense that he's retiring from competitive sports to focus on his career in accounting. I mean, when you've already […]

Potential Firm-Jumper Wants To Know Just How Bad is KPMG Anyway?

Guys. Guys. GUYS. Clearly this joke has gone way too far, and this isn't the first time someone has asked us this: Hi GC and Happy Busy Season to all. I am currently starting my 4th busy season with D&T in an East Coast office and have recently been approached by KPMG about a senior […]

Life After Public Accounting: Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can’t, Teach

All busy season long, we'll be discussing exit opportunities for those of you feeling like overworked Chinese slave labor counting down the days from your cubes. Remember, there is life after public accounting, even if it doesn't feel like it now. If you've made a break for it and are living the life of your […]

Accounting Career Moves: When Faced with a Choice, Do You Go with Prestige or Power?

Let's use Luca Maestri’s move from Xerox to Apple as a discussion starter: Apple Inc. (AAPL), the world’s most valuable company, has hired Xerox Corp. (XRX) Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri as its corporate controller. […] “Moving from Xerox to Apple is a step up, even going from CFO to controller,” John Bright, an analyst […]

Shipping Wars’ Token Hot Chick Is a Former Accountant?

As far as reality show accountants go, I guess Shipping Wars' Jennifer Brennan isn't quite the caliber of the PwC Dumpster Diver but does compete well with Cosmo bachelor and country hottie Tripp Davis. If you haven't caught this A&E "reality" show about moving strange loads cross-country, "Texas Cowgirl" is basically the resident hottie. She […]

A Miserable Internal Auditor Wants to Jump Into Public Accounting

Need help putting together your typo-laden farewell email? Need assurance that your GC trolling doesn't present an ethical conflict? Unsure which flavor of Doritos to choose from the office snack machine? Get in touch and we'll do what we can. Hi Adrienne, I have not seen a post about Internal Audit to Public Accounting so […]

PwC Manager, Exploring New Career Opportunities, Accidentally Makes Entire Office Aware of It

When looking for a new job, discretion is important. Discussing your upcoming interview during the morning team meeting is typically frowned upon as well as making remarks like “I’m getting out of this godforsaken dump as soon as possible” within earshot of superiors. Another no-no? Not catching the “PwC [Your office] All” in the CC line of your response to a professional recruiter:

Caleb,

Woke up this morning only to find out that someone decided to look for new opportunities. Only problem is that on his reply he copied the entire office of 1900 people. Perhaps a lesson learned for all those auditors looking for a new job.


We’ve presented this in chronological order, so no need to start from the bottom and we’ve redacted the names to protect the innocent and those not too good with the email. As you can see, things get off to a pretty warm start:

[Anxious Recruiter],

I am very interested! How do we follow up on this?

[Anxious-to-get-the-hell-out PwC Manager]

The recruiter, sensing a live one, is on it:

I am submitting your new resume today. When can we talk [Anxious PwC Manager]?

The PwC Manager, sensing a little-too-eager beaver, starts balking:

[Anxious Recruiter],

I am committed all weekend, and will be unable to discuss until sometime on Monday. I hope that’s okay,

[PwC Manager]

Anxious Recruiter, being the early-bird-gets-the-worm type, plays it cool and suggests that they still get things rolling first thing Monday:

Not a problem [obviously less interested PwC Guy]. Can we set a time to talk on Monday? I get in to the office at 745am. I also have a meeting at 10am. I have 2 positions that are remote to discuss. I have already shared your resume with the client and they are interested.

Thanks!!

Sunday afternoon comes with no word from formerly excited PwC Manager and our recruiter starts panicking:

[PwC Manager],

Can we set up a time to talk tomorrow please? It is important!

Thanks!

It’s finally gotten to the point where the PwC Manager has to say, “Look pal, you’re freaking me out. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

[Anxious Recruiter who is coming on way too strong at this point],

I am currently traveling and will not reach my destination until after 10:30AM. Let me know what time will work for you after that, and I will try and make myself available.

Thanks,
[PwC Manager]

I know email is tricky but be extra careful with the more sensitive ones, mmmkay?

What Can a Big City Big 4 Auditor Expect at Small City, Second-tier Firm?

Back with another edition of “Decide My Life for Me – Public Accounting Edition.” Today, an antsy Big 4 employee in a large city wants to know if moving to second-tier firm in small city will mean a demotion or cut in salary.

Do you have trouble matching your socks? Need help making sense of your cryptic performance review? Are you worried that someone with a bun in the oven is also capable of doing their job? Email us at [email protected] and someone will try to straighten you out.

Back to our “Should I Stay or Should I Go” du jour:

Hi,

I was curious if you had any information on employees jumping from Big 4 firms (auditing) to upper-mid-tier (i.e. McGladrey). Do you find that they are often promoted? I am currently in a large city and am uninterested in staying in the city long-term. I was thinking of moving to a 300,000 person city with some firms like McGladrey, Grant Thornton, etc. If I am jumping ship as a senior or manager, where should I expect to come in at? Same level? Same salary?

Thanks
Jumper

Dear Jumper,


Had it with Big 4 life, eh? Let me guess, the groupies got to you, didn’t they? Every damn time.

As to your inquiry, here’s the deal – you won’t be promoted if you decide to accept a position with McGladrey or Grant Thornton. Why? There are a few reasons: 1) You don’t have the experience; 2) You don’t have the experience; 3) You don’t have the experience. We all know that Big 4 auditors think they’re pretty special and that anyone who doesn’t soil themselves after looking at their stellar résumés followed by an immediate job offer is simply stupid. So it comes as a shock to many when this scenario doesn’t play out. As far as second-tier firms go, they definitely want Big 4 talent when they can get it but they’re aren’t about to throw you a bone because you worked at E&Y Chicago or PwC New York.

What you can expect – if you’re senior associate or a manager at a Big 4 firm, you can reasonably expect to be offered (not a guarantee, obv) a similar position at GT or Mickey G’s that you currently have. If you’re moving to a smaller city, you could see a similar salary but you should not expect a raise. You’ll receive the market rate for your position in your new city. The firm may put you at the high range of pay for your group but be prepared to be reminded of that fact come merit increase time.

Anyone made a similar move with different results? Share below.

Should a Big 4 Associate Leave the Cush Life in Bermuda for an Opportunity in a New City?

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected]

Dear Caleb,

I really need some advice with a career decision I have to make. I currently work for one of the Big 4 offices at the staff level in Bermuda and have been offered the opportunity to move to a bigger office in a major city in America. While I am excited at the opportunity to move to a new city and experience everything there is to do there, I am hesitant about the increased workload that would entail. Here in Bermuda we work about 60 hr weeks for two months during busy season and then work around 40 hr weeks for the rest if the year. In addition, because of the no income tax in Bermuda, this new job would actually mean a pay cut. So is the prospect of a new city and new experiences worth being overworked and underpaid?

– Undecided

Dear Undecided,

Ahh, Bermuda – beautiful place.

Your situation is not unique by any means. I have spoken with a number of people within Big 4 audit groups that are stationed in Bermuda and are being “encouraged” to return to the States via internal transfers. This has been due mainly to the loss of offshore work on the asset management industry. Seeing how the firms are all on hiring sprees, it’s not surprising that leadership is looking to capitalize on your generous work/life balance for the sake of the Greater Good.

The main difference that I sense in your case is that you refer to the transfer to “a new city” and not “home.” Either you are originally from one area in the US and were offered a transfer to a new city, or you are native to Bermuda and this would in fact move you away from your established roots. If it’s the former, consider asking to move to closer to “home”? Would you even want that? If you’re from Bermuda, then you have more to details to weigh.

You also raise two red flags that damn near every commenter on this site will tell you ARE major concerns: more hours for less money. If we polled the audience for their responses to your question of “is the prospect of a new city and new experiences worth being overworked and underpaid” – the response would be a resounding “no.” After all, you’re listing the two main reasons people leave public accounting. But you’re still young in your career. Think about your long term plans – where do you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years? Not firm-wise, but geographically. What is the long term career potential if you stay in Bermuda? Do you want a career in public? What city does your firm want to ship you to?

Let’s open it up to the Peanut Gallery: has anyone been in this situation before?

PS – If you do transfer to the States, please sneak me a bottle of cologne from your local perfumery. Amazing stuff!

Former Deloitte Partner Jeff Farber Lands Deputy CFO Gig at AIG

Not only is Mr Farber a Deloitte audit alum, he also had stints as the controller at Bear Stearns and CFO at Gamco Investors. Today came the announcement that he is still winning, now as the new sidekick to David Herzog.

In this new position, Mr. Farber will provide global leadership and coordination for AIG’s Controllership and Accounting Policy functions, as well as the AIG Global Tax Department. He reports to David L. Herzog, AIG Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

It’s worth noting that as the a leader and coordinator for global tax department, Farber alone will encompass more oversight than all of Weatherford International.

ANYWAY, back to the boilerplate:

“Jeff Farber is well prepared to help take these key AIG finance functions to an even higher level,” said Mr. Herzog. “Over the past several years the finance team has worked diligently through an extraordinarily complex restructuring, and this new role provides Jeff with an opportunity to lead a great team and work closely with the finance transformation team as we roll out our new financial platform.”

Sounds like a hoot. Best of luck to Mr Farber.

Credentials for Accountants: Certified Valuation Analyst

Need help deciding what you want to be when you grow up? Check out the rest of our posts on credentials for accountants.

The CVA isn’t like other certifications in that if you’re going for one, you’re probably trying to add to your arsenal of professional credentials and have a few days to spare for the intensive training.

What’s it take?
This is directly from the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA):

The Business Valuation Certification and Training Center’s compact five-day intermediate level curriculum is comprehensive and substantive, providing value from beginning to end. A good understanding of accounting, taxes, economics, finance, and a basic understanding of business valuation fundamentals are prerequisites. The BVTC’s primary goal is to provide you with information that will serve as a solid foundation for your professional valuation endeavors, whether or not you plan to pursue a designation.

The five-hour CVA exam is administered in a rotating yearly schedule in 13 U.S. cities (twice yearly in Chicago) following the five-day training.

The NACVA is a NASBA-recognized CPE provider, meaning the training and certification can satisfy CPE requirements for CPAs. State boards have the final say on what counts for CPE purposes so check with yours if you are interested in completing this program to satisfy CPE requirements. The NACVA has trained 15,000 CVAs since its inception in 1990 and its members are subject to the same sort of ethical standards as CPAs.

The entire program – not counting the exams and any study materials – runs about $3,555 (by comparison, the CPA exam costs around $1000 – $1500 just to sit, excluding CPA review fees or retakes) and the exam itself is $595.

Who would want a CVA?
Tax professionals, for one, but also M&A consultants, investment professionals, financial analysts, financial officers and of course accountants interested in valuation and providing this service to their clients.

Why would you want a CVA?
Businesses need to be valued for all sorts of reasons. Mergers and acquisitions make up a large part of this but the CVA also comes in handy for estate taxes, employee stock ownership plans, divorce, and partner break-ups. This makes it an always-in-demand credential in a constantly-evolving marketplace.

Compensation
Salary is impacted according to one’s position or other credentials. For example, a CFO with a CVA can expect to make a median salary of $125,000 according to PayScale. On the other side of the spectrum, a senior tax accountant with a CVA weighs in at an average of $60,000. But we knew tax was a thankless gig to begin with, didn’t we?

Since CVAs can also unravel bankruptcies and liquidations, the career options may be just about endless moving forward. Better start saving your pennies for that 5-day excursion.

Adrienne Gonzalez is the founder of Jr. Deputy Accountant, a former CPA wrangler and a Going Concern contributor . You can see more of her posts for GC here.

Three Social Networking Tips for Accountants

Depending on where you’re working these days, you might already be or soon to be under snow. Why not put that much-needed day “working” from home to benefit your next career move? Here are three steps that you can take now to better your social networking profile to prepare for post-busy season.

Update your LinkedIn account – When was the last time you refreshed your LinkedIn account? Dig up the password, log in, and revamp your profile. Those 23 requests sitting dormant in your inbox? Accept them. Update your work experience. Include details about both the industries you work in and the responsibilities you’ve accrued. Remember, recruiters are constantly filtering through LinkedIn profiles looking for potential matches.

Also, make sure you upload a respectable picture. If it is something you wouldn’t want your client seeing, pass on it. But whatever you do, do not leave the picture option blank. Recruiters are much more inclined to review a potential match if the profile includes a picture. Worst case scenario – have your roommate, significant other, or spouse snap a photo one morning before you head to work (the post-work look of disgust should be avoided).


Be socially responsible – No, I’m not talking about going out and saving the whales. For those of you who are active on social networking sites, you need to be cognizant of the fact that you’re constantly creating an online footprint.

Facebook – Double check the settings in your Facebook account. Facebook is continuously altering these; oftentimes the new defaults leave your information wide open for the general public to see. Your Facebook profile — including status updates, wall posts, and photo albums — should be off limits to viewers who are not your Facebook friends. Speaking of photos, lose the keg stand picture from senior year. You wear a button-down shirt to work now.

Twitter – The email address on your resumé is most likely connected to your Twitter account. Block your tweets from the general public if you are discussing things you’d rather not share with a potential interviewer.

Dig up those old recruiter emails – You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re cold, robotic emails that tease you on random weekday afternoons. Typically they’re titled, “New Opportunities in hedge funds” but the more apt title is, “How to get the $*@! off your current engagement and home in time for dinner.”

Dig through your old emails and find some of these. Read through them. See what sparks your interest. At the very least, try to figure out what you want to do next, what qualifications you already have, and what you can do to prepare yourself for the next step. Your current engagement might be providing you an opportunity to expand your skill set; jump at that possibility.