It’s a tale as old as time here on Going Concern. Your career in public accounting probably looks a little something like mine did: slog your way through 150 credits, pass the CPA exams while working, keep near-investment banking hours (yet still pack lunch to make the salary work), and then sit back and watch […]
A while back I spoke to several controllers at nonprofit organizations and asked them what tips they would give to an accounting or finance professional considering that role. Among the advice that was shared included “believe in the nonprofit’s mission and objectives” and “you won’t be rich, but the job is rewarding.” It seems that […]
Three years ago, Anne Bronchetti, CMA, had an accounting intern from a local university who had never heard of the Certified Management Accountant designation until she told him about it. “He knew he wanted to pursue a career in accounting but wasn’t at all sure what path to follow or where he should focus,” said […]
Joel Konts was told over and over again during college that if he didn’t sit for the CPA exam and work for a public accounting firm after he graduated, he wouldn’t have the best of luck making a career in accounting. “I also knew that if I didn’t go for my master’s degree right after […]
Brand is one of those business concepts that everyone knows about but few understand. When people talk about the Apple BRAND every murmurs approvement and nods as if to say, “That’s a strong brand!” but they’d have a hard time explaining why.
No license? No office!
For those of you that can't bear the thought of only having three letters behind your name: This June marked the 20th anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that remains of interest to the accounting profession because the litigants included a state board of accountancy and a dually credentialed attorney advertising that she […]
This survey was done by the Institute of Management Accountants, so of course the AICPA would encourage you to wait for the CGMA to get a dual certification but if you just can’t wait, then the CMA should work fine.
IMA’s Annual Salary Survey explores salary trends of accounting and finance professionals and reveals that certain industries are faring better than others. Public accounting ranked first in terms of average salary, at $125,488, and second in average total compensation, at $153,395, both in 2010 and 2009. The survey was mailed to respondents last December, and the results have just been released this month.
“The CMAs in this year’s study make a little more than the CPAs,” said Dennis Whitney, senior vice president of certification at the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. “For the younger professionals, it’s a little more per year. The number does seem to go up as you get older, but generally it’s a couple of thousand dollars. But the thing that’s the most dramatic is that people with both the CPA and the CMA fare the best.”
For those with both certifications, the difference can be not only $27,000, but $35,700.
“Dual certification is definitely worthwhile,” said Whitney. “It broadens your competencies. You have not only the financial accounting and auditing skills, but also the financial planning, analysis, and control skills and decision-making, which are very important today.”
Grant Thornton rolled out some policy updates today related to obtaining a CPA (full email after the jump), including some impressive bonuses for its newest employees (hired after April 15, 2010). The largest available is $10k if you happen to be of the Elijah Watts types and “are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country.”
Other bonuses include:
• $5k for passing all four sections within one year of full-time hire.
• $3k if you pass within 18 months of full-time hire.
• $7.5k for those in the top ten in their state but not good enough for national recognition.
The firm is also paying a small bonus ($1k) for current employees who have epicly failed so far but��������������������exam between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011.
While most people easily get hung up on the money aspect of things, the bigger change is the requirement for new employees (again, those hired after April 15, 2010) to have passed all four sections of the CPA prior to being eligible for promotion to Senior Associate. That goes for both audit and tax employees.
We covered CPA exam policies in a couple of posts earlier this year and the only other firm that has this requirement is PwC for the audit practice. The tax practice requires a CPA for promotion to manager.
So some pretty interesting developments at GT and it seems to be a fair transition – from a timing standpoint anyway – as those hired in the last six months can hardly find their ass with both hands, let alone be ready for a promotion to SA. But again, this is major policy change going forward and GT is, at the very least, making the case that they will be holding all of their associates to a higher threshold of performance than firms that don’t have such requirements.
Sound off your support or displeasure in the comments on the bonuses or promotion requirements below. And for the non-GTers out there, what do you think of your firm’s policy? Does it need updated to keep the pace with GT’s move? Are changes in the works? Keep us updated by emailing us at email@example.com.
Important information regarding CPA licensure
At Grant Thornton, we are a dynamic global organization that is committed to making a difference to our colleagues, clients, the profession and our communities. As part of our commitment to providing our clients with distinctive service and the highest quality, I am pleased to announce two important changes effective immediately.
Introducing the CPA Pass Bonus
It is our goal to continue to attract intellectually curious, talented individuals to our firm and to encourage them to pass the CPA exam and earn their license as soon as possible. As such, I am delighted to announce that Grant Thornton will now offer a CPA Pass Bonus.
Grant Thornton will pay professionals who joined the firm as entry-level associates from campus on or after April 15, 2010
· $5,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam prior to or within one year of their full-time date of hire
· $3,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam within 18 months of their full-time date of hire
· $10,000 – For those who are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country
· $7,500 – For those who are recognized as earning the highest cumulative scores on their initial sitting for the four sections of the CPA Exam within their state and were not national winners
To recognize a transition within the spirit of the new policy, Grant Thornton will pay a one- time “catch up” to experienced associates through senior associates
· $1,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam, if they pass during the August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 time period only
CPA requirement for promotion to senior associate
In addition to paying a bonus to those passing the CPA exam, the firm has made the decision to require audit and tax employees to have passed all four parts of the CPA exam in order to be promoted to senior associate.
For employees hired on or after April 15, 2010
· This new promotion policy is effective immediately.
For employees hired before April 15, 2010 or as experienced associates and senior associates:
· Employees who have not yet passed the CPA exam will be “grandfathered” under our current policy. In that regard, we encourage all individuals currently at the associate 2 level or above to pass the CPA exam within the next 2 years. However, they must be a licensed CPA prior to being promoted to manager.
For additional information, please see the CPA Pass Bonus Policy linked here.
If you have any questions about either of these changes, please contact your practice leader or local HR professional.
Back with another edition of “I need advice from a bunch of strange accountants,” a soon-to-be MSA grad is concerned about their low undergrad GPA. Will the Big 4 crush him out like a stale Parliament?
Have a question about your winding career road? Concerned about a recent pest problem and not sure how to handle it? Watching other companies bail on their new logos and wondering if you should do the same? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you some better options than Helvetica.
Meanwhile, Back on c I graduated from college with a BA in business and have a 3.1 undergrad gpa. After working in a supply chain department for three years I left a low-level management position for a one year full-time MSA program. I will graduate next summer and I currently have a 3.9 gpa. Also, I recently passed the CFE exam, I will be CPA eligible in December, and I’m hoping to join BAP.
What advice can you give me for when talking to recruiters or attending job fairs this fall? Will firms look past my unimpressive undergrad gpa if I keep my grad gpa high? How do recruiters typically view candidates that are a few years out of undergrad and have little accounting work experience? Is there anything I can do to positively differentiate myself from students who are following the traditional 5-year accounting path? Will I have a shot with the Big 4? I really want to work in public accounting, but if I don’t get competitive offers from large firms I may stay in school and pursue an MBA.
In this day and age, the Big 4 is being more choosey with their entry-level hires. They simply aren’t pulling hobos off the street, asking them to pick up a calculator and start solving client’s financial reporting and tax issues. That said, your low undergrad will likely put you at a disadvantage versus your fellow recruits, especially in the eyes of set-in-their-ways partners who look at grades as a measure of potential success within their firm (which only takes the best and brightest!).
Is it bullshit? In the opinion of the editor – yes. But that’s the dealio, so let’s move on.
Judging by your pending CFE credential, it sounds as though you could possibly be interested in forensics. If that is the case, this interest and your CFE – that your tradish 5-year grad won’t have – differentiates you from the pack. You know exactly what you want to do and you have tangible proof. USE THAT to stand out from the crowd. There may be a 23 year-old 4.0 wunderkind that has the firms drooling but they have not one iota about that person’s ambitions. You know exactly what you want. Make them understand why that will be an asset to them.
And what about your previous work experience combined with your graduate GPA? DWB says that can help you too:
Sounds like you had a successful stint in the corporate world once you graduated. One could also assume you found your legs; you have a good head on your shoulders moving up to a management role. Your recent work history and grades during the MSA program are more indicative of your abilities than what you did when you were 20.
The odds are still against you but you’ve got a shot. And if you really want to work in public accounting, don’t forget that the Big 4 is not the end all to be all. Grant Thornton just picked up Huron Consulting’s investigations practice which could be a good fit for you. Many of the other top ten firms (choose your list: Vault or IPA) out there will have forensics shops, so your public accounting aspirations can easily be realized. Get out there and make it happen.