December 10, 2018

Enough With the Lists Already

Here’s Your 2018 List of the Most Mom-Friendly Public Accounting Firms

Hey, ladies! If the grind of a career in public accounting is appealing to you and if you’re planning to have a family of five kids, two dogs, and a cat one day, then you should consider buying a Chevy Traverse—and peruse Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list for 2018. From a public accounting standpoint, […]

KPMG Doesn’t Need You, FORTUNE; It Has Plenty of Other Employer Rankings That Say It’s Still a Great Place To Work

Oh Christ, the FORTUNE1 100 Best Companies to Work For came out today, which means marketing and PR teams all across Corporate America are on high alert. Who went up? Who went down? Who’s new on the list? Who’s off the list? Who gives a shit? That’s my take. If you’re not Google, then you suck. I want an employer who has a cafeteria that serves the most obscure cuisine on the planet (e.g. BBQ Tasmanian devil short ribs with poached platypus eggs) and I want it for FREE. If you can’t make that happen, then I might as well be working for the Taliban as the Womens Initiative coordinator.

PwC Recognized for Trying the Hardest to Not Be Old, White, Male

Prestigiest Big 4 firm, PwC, can add another feather in its cap, as it has now been named the diversiest company by DiversityInc. For those of you that get hung up on methodology, this is how they score the survey that determines which companies are the least Mitt Romney-ish: The survey consists of more than 300 empirical questions (no […]

Vault Accounting 50: The Not Quite Top 25 (2013)

Since we've sufficiently gave attention to the top 25 firms in this year's Vault Accounting 50, as well as those firms whom you all think are the bee knees, we know will present the firms that are a merger or two or three away (or the endorsement of another golfer that will pose in body […]

Here Are the Top 10 Cities For Finance/Accounting Jobs

According to staffing agency Accounting Principals, Houston leads the pack for the top 10 cities for finance jobs. I'm sure this comes as a surprise to just about everyone, who might expect New York to top that list. As a matter of fact, New York didn't even make last year's list and its inclusion this […]

Who Are All These Happy Accountants and What Are They On?

Purveyor of ego-stroking profiles Forbes, has a list of 20 Happiest Jobs in America and despite the misery you've seen all around you for the past three months, three years, or three decades, accountants are 8th on the list. Yep! There are capital market servants all over this great land who are whistling their jovial asses […]

Dropping That Ampersand Appears to Have Hurt Plante Moran Standing in Latest Meaningless Best Companies to Work for Ranking

Because some people still care, here are the accounting firms that made the 2012 Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For: 37 (26) Plante Moran 48 (73) PwC 59 (77) Ernst & Young 67 (63) Deloitte 94 (86) KPMG PwC and Ernst & Young seem to be taking this shit seriously once again while Deloitte […]

Here Are The Most Popular Going Concern Posts From 2011

Here it is, the final week of 2011 and that means lists! Top 10. Freaky 50. Worst 100. If there's a list to be made, the Internet will provide. And since we're not immune to the power of media clichés, we'll present you with our list of the most popular posts on this here website.  […]

Comp Watch: Vault Ranks the Firms That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

All of you people have dreams. Not your-name-in-lights dreams, however. Most of you are more interested in shopping-at-Bergdorf’s dreams. But which firm is going to give you the best combination of salary/bonus/Omaha Steaks to make you happy? Vault’s Compensation Ranking should give you an idea. Here’s your Top 5 out of 20 (previous year’s ranking in parenthesis):

1 (11) SS&G Financial Services
2 (5) Armanino McKenna
3 (8) WithumSmith + Brown
4 (7) Dixon Hughes Goodman
5 (1) Marcum


Where are the Final 4 Horsemen of the Accounting Firm Apocalypse, you ask? Well, a couple of them are completely MIA. Here are the other two plus some notables:

9 (10) Rothstein Kass
10 (NR) Grant Thornton
14 (19) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
15 (18) Moss Adams
19 (20) PwC
20 (17) Deloitte

Seriously, I think Stephen Chipman is putting something in the water at Grant Thornton. Whatever it is, KPMG and E&Y would be wise to get their hands on it. Check out the full ranking if you’re not satisfied. And feel free to share feelings on your firm’s presence (or lack thereof).

Accounting Firms Rankings 2012: Best to Work For: Compensation [Vault]

You Certainly Can’t Complain About a Lack of Accounting Firms Purporting Mom Friendliness

Do you work? Are you a mom? Do you wanna be one? No? Then continue shotgunning 5-hour bombs.

For those of you thinking about juggling tikes and 10-keys, Working Mother hay it’s exactly 100) companies that they think you’re looking for. Hey! and there are even some accounting firms in there, so if you think your current employer will keep you crunching numbersup until your water breaks, you may consider some of these firms.


BDO – “To encourage its employees to use flexible schedules, this accounting and consulting firm has formalized the request process, made sure nearly everyone has laptops that enable remote work and instituted flex training for all.”

Deloitte – “As they pursue their career goals, moms telecommute, ramp up or reduce their workloads, take paid sabbaticals and even go on five-year breaks, all the while maintaining connections to office mentors and freelance work.”

Ernst & Young – “If you’re surrounded by talented people, it makes sense to seek their advice on work life matters, which is what the female employees of this professional services firm often do.”

Grant Thornton – “[Women] earned 32% of all promotions to partner in 2010 (their biggest victory ever) and now fill nearly triple the number of slots they did seven years ago. In the hopes that they will occupy 20% of the partnership by 2015.”

KPMG – “While women earned half of all promotions to manager, senior manager and executive last year, the growth of virtual meetings means they don’t have to stay in the office to be considered top performers.”

McGladrey – “Most every working mom has a vision for her own future—maybe she’d like to get a better degree, rocket up the career ladder, have more kids or just get a little free time. Goals like these are often achieved by women at the accounting, tax and business consulting firm.”

Moss Adams – “Moms-to-be can earn up to $250 through the Beginning Right Maternity Program, which evaluates their health needs, supplies a nurse to counsel them through high-risk pregnancies, and helps them get ready for delivery. When primary caregivers give birth, they may take ten fully paid weeks off; those who adopt earn four fully paid weeks of leave, plus $6,000 in aid.”

PwC – “Working a reduced schedule won’t hurt your career at this audit, tax and advisory services firm: Moms who put in just 20 hours per week still earn full benefits and remain under consideration for top jobs.”

All of the Big 4 snuck into the WM100 top ten which shocks absolutely no one except for maybe Donna Kassman. If BDO, GT, MA, and Mickey G’s get their act together maybe accounting firms will get their very own special Mom list. God, that sounds awful actually.

2011 Working Mother 100 Best Companies [Working Mother]

Who Are the Most Influential People in Accounting? (2011)

Accounting Today released its Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting (free registration required) late yesterday and it seems to be a tad more interesting than in years past. Sure, there are plenty of predictable names and faces in the list but any list that has Dave Albrecht, Paul Caron, and Grover Norquist is okay by me.

That said, it’s still in alphabetical order which may not appropriately present who the influenciest influencers are. I mean does sticking a man with a last name that starts with “N” and ends in “quist” somewhere in the middle of the pack (only a few spots in front of the POTUS) truly show how influential he is? It’s just a question.

ANYWAY, here are some notables that you’ll probably recognize:


Dave Albrecht – Associate Professor at Concordia College, The Summa
C.E. Andrews – President, RSM McGladrey
Paul Caron – TaxProf Blog
Stephen Chipman – CEO, Grant Thornton
James Doty – Chairman, PCAOB
Joe Echevarria – CEO, Deloitte
Michelle Golden – President, Golden Practices
Tom Hood – CEO, Executive Director Maryland Association of CPAs
Hans Hoogervorst – Chairman, IASB
Robert Moritz – Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC
Caleb Newquist – Founding Editor, Going Concern
Grover Norquist – President and Founder, Americans for Tax Reform
Barack Obama – President of the United States
Barry Salzberg – CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
Mary Schapiro – Chair, SEC
Doug Shulman – IRS Commissioner
Jim Turley – Global Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young
John Veihmeyer – Chairman and CEO, KPMG
Jack Weisbaum – CEO, BDO

I cherry-picked this list obviously because it’s a bit of a pain to re-type all of them, so don’t hold that against me. Still how two Swedes and two Barrys got mashed together is kind of odd. And on a more personal note, I’d really feel awful if I was the one who took Dennis Nally’s spot. Go check out the full list and discuss at your leisure.

Top 100 Influential People in Accounting [AT]

All of the Big 4 Land on This Year’s Vault Consulting 50 List (2012)

Back with more lists that include your favorite accounting firm. Today’s edition is the Vault Consulting 50. Mostly this list consists of firms that you wish you could work for but you can’t because you either have no pedigree or are dumber than a sack of hammers. That said, all the Big 4 are represented with Deloitte Consulting breaking into the top 5 (2011 ranking in parenthesis):

1 (1) Bain & Co.
2 (3) McKinsey
3 (2) Boston Consulting Group
4 (6) Deloitte Consulting
5 (25) Monitor Group


6 (8) A.T. Kearney
7 (7) Oliver Wyman
8 (5) The Cambridge Group
9 (4) Analysis Group, Inc.
10 (16) Booz & Company

This is a pretty fun list mostly because there was a lot of jumping around by the firms (*ahem* Monitor Group, where did you come from?). Other notables that you’re probably curious about include:

11 (32) Accenture
12 (13) PwC
21 (19) PRTM (who PwC just purchased)
36 (44) Navigant Consulting
42 (45) Capgemini
45 (42) FTI Consulting
47 (NR) Ernst & Young
50 (NR) KPMG

Jump over to the full list if you’re interested to see the rest of the Top 50 and here’s Vault’s methodology for those curious about that sort of thing.

Vault Consulting 50 [Vault]
Last year’s coverage:
Big 4 Have Big Presence on Vault’s Prestige List, Less So in Top 50

Accounting Firm List Mania: Inside Public Accounting’s Top 100

Big news this year boys and girls! PwC jumped E&Y this year in IPA’s list. Other notable moves are the result of mergers including Dixon Hughes Goodman and EisnerAmper. Previous year’s ranking is in parenthesis.

1. (1) Deloitte
2. (3) PwC
3. (2) Ernst & Young
4. (4) KPMG
5. (5) McGladrey


6. (6) Grant Thornton
7. (7) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
8. (8) BDO
9. (9) Crowe Horwath
10. (10) BKD
11. (11) Moss Adams
12. (12) Plante & Moran
13. (20/33) Dixon Hughes Goodman
14. (13) Clifton Gunderson
15. (24/27) EisnerAmper
16. (15) Marcum
17. (14) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
18. (16) J.H. Cohn
19. (18) LarsonAllen
20. (19) Reznick Group
21. (17) UHY Advisors
22. (21) ParenteBeard
23. (22) Rothstein Kass
24. (23) Eide Bailly
25. (25) WeiserMazars

If you want to peruse the rest of the list, check it out here.

Top 100 Accounting Firms List Looks Very Familiar

Mostly because the top twenty-five firms hardly changed.

1. Deloitte
2. PwC
3. E&Y
4. KPMG
5. McGladrey
6. Grant Thornton
7. BDO
8. CBIZ/MHM
9. Crowe Horwath
10. BKD
11. Moss Adams
12. Plante & Moran
13. EisnerAmper
14. Marcum
15. Clifton Gunderson
16. BTVK
17. J.H. Cohn
18. LarsonAllen
19. UHY Advisors
20. Dixon Hughes
21. Reznick Group
22. Rothstein Kass
23. ParenteBeard
24. Eide Bailly
25. WeiserMazars

The top twelve didn’t change at all and there was some shuffling amongst the firms after that, most notably Eisner and Amper whose merger catapulted them from 24 and 26 respectively to 13th on the list. Not much else to report on such a snoozer of a list but it’s worth mentioning that 45% of Deloitte’s revenues are not from assurance or tax services and this is the reason they are numero uno. Check out the entire list here.

Earlier:
Most Top Ten Accounting Firms Saw Lower Revenues, Headcount for 2009

Whoever Founded ‘National Employee Appreciation Day’ Probably Never Worked as an Accountant During Busy Season

That’s right team, March 4th marks National Employee Appreciation Day and if you happen to have a deadline today or just got Lumberged into working the weekend, you’re definitely not feeling appreciated.


Doubly ironic is the news from the latest list from Forbes that says that “Accounting” is the 6th Happiest Job in America. That is followed up by “Finance at #7 and “Legal” at #10. On the one hand, Forbes has these professions in the correct order – accountants are generally less miserable than those in finance or law but the fact that they appear in the top ten is laughable. Of course now that we have In a JIT, perhaps the happy ranking is slightly more believable.

Employee Appreciation Day 2011 [CBS]
In Pictures: The 10 Happiest Jobs In America [Forbes]

Best Place to Work Bupkis

Last week we went through the painful ritual of listing out the accounting firms blessed with a spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work. All the usual suspects made an appearance but ultimately a regional firm, Plante & Moran, took the highest spot among accounting firms (but they didn’t get to ring the closing bell, did they?).

None of this is of interest to you and frankly we’ve had about all we can stand when it comes to these lists but Adrienne pointed us to this post by Laura Vanderkam that takes the debunking to an intricate level, starting with something that we all know, that most of these lists are opted into by the companies HR or Marketing Departments (emphasis ours):

To be eligible for a list, you have to fill out whatever paperwork the tabulators require […] This means that not only do you have to be a great place to work, you have to be a company where management cares about being listed in magazines as a great place to work. Only 311 organizations bothered this year, out of thousands of employers in the US. So if you went through the whole process, your odds were pretty good. But that doesn’t means that the 311 employers that did try are better than the thousands that didn’t.

Our resident math genius is on vacay but if you do some rough calcs, your chances are, what, 1 in 3? Decent odds. Then, comes the strange phenomenon of where these companies fall and why:

[I]t’s strange that a magazine with such great reporters as Fortune relies on such a flimsy methodology for creating their rankings. If you believe this list, then Americans prefer to work at Nugget Market (a 9-store supermarket chain) than at McKinsey, at Google vs. Facebook even though some headline-making defections would point otherwise, and we should want to work at Aeropostale because, as one young employee put it “Where else can you talk to the boss over pizza?” (Um, where can’t you?)

The Trouble With “Best Places To Work” Lists [BNet]

Someone Would Like to Qualify Plante & Moran’s Fortune Ranking

From the mailbag:

The firm would be a great place for a new hire and/or intern. They offer competitive starting salaries along with a great support system and culture. I don’t know exactly how Fortune determines their ranking. If they surveyed newer staff and partners, they are going to look great every time, which seems to be the case.

There are some serious compensation issues for managers. How does a base of [70k-ish] sound (with potential bonus up to a staggering 8%)? How about a [marginal raise] over a 2.5 year period while [being promoted] that same time frame? The partner:staff ratio is so upside down that it is no wonder why they try and keep managers’ salaries so low. Some of the senior partners are a joke to try and rationalize with. I did my best, but couldn’t convince them what market salary was for a manager. I told them good luck.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: KPMG #86 (2011)

Wrapping up our review of the mother of all employer lists, is everyone’s favorite four-letter word, KPMG. Since we’ve had about all we can stand of this, let’s get right to it.


KPMG – Previous rank: #88. How does the firms make up for the lack of sherpas? They appeal to employees’ desire to give back, reports Fortune, “Employees of the U.S. branch of the auditing firm get 12 paid hours to volunteer each year and can leave at 3 p.m. Fridays in the summer [Ed. note: while keeping in mind the needs of clients].”

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -1,043
% Job Growth (1 year): -5%
% Voluntary Turnover: 15%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 5,000
Most common salaried job: Senior Associate – $73,300
% Minorities: 27%
% Women: 48%

Compared to last year’s stats, new jobs and percentage job growth have improved while voluntary turnover jumped 3%. Average salary for the most common job was down from $78k last year, number of job openings nearly doubled and percentage of minorities and women were unchanged. So a slight improvement for KPMG this year in the F100BCTWF and nary a mention of the possibility of more free flesh in the future.

Annnnd so, that wraps up the coverage for this year’s Fortune rankings. The biggest takeaways being the ascension of Plante & Moran and Ernst & Young’s massive drop while the other three amigos managed to improve slightly but they all managed to extend their streak of years on the list. Look for a flier boasting this arbitrary victory in an office near you.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: PwC #73 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Ernst & Young #77 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: KPMG #88

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Ernst & Young #77 (2011)

Well, there had to be a biggest loser in Fortune rankings this year amongst the accounting firms and this year the honor belongs to E&Y. Now, we’re sure you’ll give us your thoughts on why you think the firm took a dive from #44 (highest ranked firm last year) to #77 but the fact that Fortune indicates the firm dropped subsidized gym memberships could be a good place to start. Maybe E&Y decided it prefers its people on the frumpy side? Or maybe they’re simply saving for the Lehman Brothers defense fund?


Ernst & Young – Previous rank: #44. Need reasons? How about corporate citizenship? Fortune says, “The consulting and auditing firm donated some $31 million to charitable causes in 2009, including $6.4 million in matching contributions.”

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -1,751
% Job Growth (1 year): -7%
% Voluntary Turnover: 11%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 10,000
Most common salaried job: Manager – $102,593
% Minorities: 29%
% Women: 49%

Taking a look at last year’s stats, new jobs, percentage job growth, voluntary turnover, average salary for most common job all trended negatively. Percentage of minorities was flat and percentage of women ticked down 1%. The number of job openings jumped from 622 last year to the 10,000 above, so interpret you can either interpret that as “we’re desperate for people” or “we’re growing like gangbusters.” Arguments for each, thoughts on the 33 slot drop or speculation on what kind of cigars Jim Turley (Cohibas, we thinks) took to Davos are welcome at this time.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: PwC #73 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Ernst & Young #44

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: PwC #73 (2011)

Next up on our F100BCTWF watch is the former home of the next great superhero, PwC who slid a couple a spots from last year’s #71 but this does extend the streak to seven years on the list. We’ll dispense with any more pleasantries and get right to the particulars.


PwC – Previous rank: #71. Why so great? Fortune cites “flexibility” (you read that Times article too?), “training” and “ethics” (although a more robust appropriate email refresher is probably needed).

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -1,100
% Job Growth (1 year): -4%
% Voluntary Turnover: 11%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 9,144
Most common salaried job: Manager/Supervisor – $86,826
% Minorities: 27%
% Women: 48%

Comparing with last year’s stats, things have dropped off a bit as new jobs, % job growth and average salary have all gone down while turnover has gone up. Percentage of minorities is unchanged while percentage of women is down a tick. The brightest spot (or biggest pain in some of your asses) is the number of job openings, which has nearly doubled from last year and is nearly triple of rival Deloitte’s current number of openings.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: PricewaterhouseCoopers #71

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #63 (2011)

Next up on Fortune’s “You wish you worked here” list, comes the newest future resident of 30 Rockefeller Center. A slight improvement for the Green Dot this year, as the firm jumped from 70 to 63. Let’s get right to it.


Deloitte – Previous rank: #70. Deloitte wins the race for fewer white people reports Fortune, “A third of its employees are nonwhite, the highest percentage of the Big Four.”

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -552
% Job Growth (1 year): -1%
% Voluntary Turnover: 11%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: 3,511
Most common salaried job: Senior/Senior Consultant – $81,622
% Minorities: 33%
% Women: 43%

Compared to last year, new jobs, job growth, number of jobs (last year it was 11k), average salary and percentage of women are all down. Turnover ticked slightly up as did % of minorities. So while Deloitte manages to be the top Big 4 firm in the ranking, we’re guessing that the brass is a little miffed by the wide margin between themselves and P&M. Still no tweet from Jim Quigley on this but he seems a little distracted with Davos to be notice a seemingly permanent spot on the F100BCTWF, “Oh, gosh. That old thing? That’s great, just change the number and dates on the press release. And try to get Salzberg to say something a little less cliché.”

Too late, Jim.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Deloitte #70

The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)

Early January marks another edition of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and unsurprisingly, accounting firms are littered all over it. If it were any other year, we could give a rat crap and would cover the list out of basic necessity. However, this year an interesting development has occurred – the highest ranking accounting firm is not a Big 4 firm. Now we realize that this may come as a surprise to you but P&M has been on the list for 13 straight years, topping out at 12 in 2006, so this is hardly a fluke.

Anyway, let’s get to the tape, shall we?


Plante & Moran – Previous rank: #66. Fortune informs us that good times have returned at P&M after a year off, “Employees cheered when the accounting firm reinstated its annual gathering, eliminated in 2009.” Also, the firm throws around busy season survival kits that include “aspirin, stress balls and candy.” No word if they help employees survive cranky spouses and kids but the line has to be drawn somewhere, s’pose.

Stats of note:
New Jobs (1 year): -61
% Job Growth (1 year): -4%
% Voluntary Turnover: 9%
No. of Job Openings at 1/13/2010: N/A
Most common salaried job: Audit staff with average salary of $64,300
% Minorities: 6%
% Women: 54%

It’s interesting to note that the number of new jobs, % job growth and average salary are all down from last year, while % voluntary turnover is up and yet the firm jumped 40 spots in the ranking. Perhaps the leap is due to a HR policy change from last year: the firm now has a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and offers partner benefits for same-sex couples. Regarding these issues last year, we said this:

The firm offers onsite child care during busy season but does not have a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation nor does it offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples.

We’re not saying the latter two reasons are why they fell from #12 but it might help them jump back into the top 50.

Not that we’d dream of taking any credit but could a positive change in human resources policy result in a forty spot jump, despite the salary and hiring stats being down? It certainly didn’t hurt. Discuss P&M’s minor upset and we’ll get to the rest of the firms in due course.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #66

Big 4 Shoots Blanks on Glassdoor 50 Best Places to Work

The following was brought to our attention this morning:

Glassdoor just published their 50 best places to work… and I believe none of the Big 4 are on it. Surprise surprise?


So we checked it out and yes, it’s true that none of the Big 4 (or any accounting firm for that matter) appear on the Glassdoor 50 Employees’ Choice Awards for 2011.

It’s worth noting however, that the methodology for this particular list is driven entirely by audience participation. From the FAQs:

The Glassdoor list is the only list that truly represents employees’ choice. Unlike many workplace-related awards that require companies to self nominate, Glassdoor relies solely on the input from employees. All that is required for consideration is an employer must have had at least 25 employees complete a survey to be considered.

So you could probably conclude one of a two things: a) Fewer than 25 employees of each firm bothered to visit Glassdoor to sing their firm’s praises or b) the reviews were so incredibly negative that the firms landed nowhere near the Top 50.

Now, possibility “a” seems unlikely since there are plenty of people working at these firms that don’t have anything better to do than mindlessly surf the web and participate in seemingly innocuous surveys and whatnot. Possibility “b” seems a little more realistic, so we’ll explain our thinking:

Since this particular list doesn’t have an application process, it is merely up to some ambitious person in the marketing/Internet reputation department to take the initiative to spread the word about this campaign TO EVERYONE IN THEIR OFFICE. Besides the fact that asking employees to add one more thing to their already-impossible-to-conquer “to-do list,” these types of emails are largely met with eyerolls that would cause most people to topple over backwards in their chairs. But rather than simply delete the message, this wells up so much annoyed rage within the bitter Big 4 Bobs/Betsys out there that they immediately proceed to the survey to crucify their firm out of spite.

Or then again, maybe we’re just cynical. If you’ve got your own theory, do share.

KPMG, Ernst & Young Sneak on to U.S. News Tax Firm Ranking

You may or may not be aware that U.S. News & World Report is the shot caller when it comes to ranking law schools (much to the chagrin of some) and now (to even more chagrin) the magazine is delving into extensive law firm rankings and the Big 4 will enjoy a little bit of perceived prestige that comes along with these rankings.

Christ. We’re barely into rankings/list season and they’ve already chalked up working moms and consulting rankings and U.S. News is now throwing around its weight with this new list.

Granted, virtually no accounting firms will even get a whiff of this list but something tells us that because U.S. News has decided to dive head first into ranking law firms by practice are the Big 4 will be jockeying to make the tax list, even though it is a sliver of a much larger and broader ranking that they won’t be included on at all.

Excuse us while we choke down the vomit that we caught making it’s way out.


Why the hell not?!? U.S. News figured that the world couldn’t do without it’s rankings-for-hire in one more area for the legal field but this time the Big 4 will enjoy a bit of a ride on this wave.

Right. The list. The two of Big Four of course, make their way on the ranking for tax firms: Ernst & Young falls into the coveted Tier 1 (includes 36 firms) and KPMG drops on Tier 2 (47 firms). There were a total out of 119 firms across three tiers.

Admittedly, this is an opportunity for both KPMG and E&Y to boast their tax practice prowess over Deloitte and PwC who don’t appear on the list at all. That being said, Deloitte and PwC enjoy higher spots on the consulting rankings so they’re probably not overly concerned although no one turns down a notch on the bedpost if they can get it.

What this new ranking ultimately will be is one more marketing tool for the firms to use on the impressionable recruits and experienced hires who want to work in top notch – TOP NOTCH! – tax practice. Be it lawyers or CPAs, the firms will tout this ranking to their tax professionals (if not firm-wide) to throw around ONE. MORE. LIST. to impress the trousers off the masses but now people will be saying, “Oh, this is a U.S. News ranking.”

So for the Big 4 to be included in this “prestigious” ranking is a little bit, as Elie Mystal states, like “Christmas morning – if only Santa were a jolly red prestige whore.”

U.S. News Tax Firm Rankings [TaxProf Blog]
Best Law Firms [U.S. News & World Report]
U.S. News Launches First Official Law Firm Rankings [ATL]

Consulting Magazine Throws a Few Bones to the Big 4 with Latest “Best” Rankings

The Big 4 managed to squeeze onto a a couple different recent lists for their consulting efforts including Consulting Magazine’s 2010 Best Firms to Work For and Vault’s 2011 Consulting 50.

We’ll roll out the particulars of Consulting Mag’s lists first and give you Vault’s results later today.


Consulting Mag has several different lists but we’ll stick to the most relevant for the Big 4 . We’ll start off with the overall ranking:

1. Bain & Company
2. The Boston Consulting Group
3. North Highland
4. Point B
5. McKinsey & Company
6. Deloitte Consulting
7. Booz Allen Hamilton
8. PricewaterhouseCoopers
9. Accenture
10. Slalom Consulting
11. Milliman
12. Booz & Company
13. A.T. Kearney
14. Capco
15. PRTM

So the Big 4 really makes two appearances here with Deloitte and PwC. You could throw Accenture in there for old time’s sake. Back when we covered Barry Salzberg’s little merger chat in the Journal, two names that were thrown at him were Booz and A.T. Kearney. While this list is certainly no indication, you’ll see that based on the rankings, Deloitte ranks above both those firms despite commenters suggestion that Booz and A.T. are superior brands.

The list dominated by the Big 4 was the Business Advisory Services:

1. PricewaterhouseCoopers
2. Alvarez & Marsal
3. Ernst & Young
4. KPMG
5. FTI

You don’t see Deloitte and Accenture on this list since they fall on the “Multi-Service” list at #1 and #2 respectively and Capgemini (purchased E&Y Consulting in 2000) is numero uno on the Information Technology list.

Deloitte Consulting and PwC get dropped on a few more lists that include: Career Development, Work/Life Balance and Culture while KPMG and E&Y are nowhere to be found. A list of “Best Places to Start a Career” listed Deloitte at #3 and KPMG at #6 with PwC and E&Y MIA.

Naturally there is room for bellyaching and there are vaguely familiar frustrations in the feedback portion:

Leadership
You have to manage your career with little help from management. Here’s the rope, climb the mountain or hang yourself…

Work/Life Balance
The concept of a work life balance is talked about, but only as an afterthought.

Compensation/Benefits Satisfaction
Your work will double, but salary may not.

Those aren’t specific to any one firm but something tells us you could find someone in any of the Big 4 consulting/advisory groups griping about these issues. OH! And as far as scoring for morale goes, the Big 4 are shutout of the top ten.

So a bit of a mixed bag on this particular list but you’ll likely see a rash of press releases in the coming days and weeks along with emails and whatnot from your leadership.

So feel free to debunk the latest seemingly arbitrary rankings. We certainly expect the consulting purists of the bunch to be disgusted with the Big 4 sullying these particular grounds.

The Best Firms to Work For, 2010 [Consulting Magazine]
PricewaterhouseCoopers Named Among the Top 10 Best Firms to Work For by Consulting Magazine [PR Newswire]

Does It Matter That Deloitte Left the Rest of the Big 4 in the Dust on CNN Money’s MBA List?

Can we have a show of hands who takes a list of employers published by Time Warner seriously? Fine. To hell with you; for this particular exercise we’ll assume that the list is 100% accurate.

Here’s the breakdown for the Big 4 on the CNNMoney’s 100 Top MBA Employers, Where MBA students say they’d most like to work:

#12 – Deloitte
#44 – PricewaterhouseCoopers
#45 – Ernst & Young
#75 – KPMG


So Deloitte dominates when you look at the Big 4’s performance. To put it in a little bit of perspective, Deloitte ranks ahead of The Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley while the rest of the Big 4 rank behind the State Department.

Is this possibly due to the fact that they are the only firm to keep their consulting (not Advisory) practice in-house? Do they simply do a better job of selling their firm? Or is it possibly because male-patterned baldness is not discriminated against in leadership positions?

Or maybe we’re making too much of this. All the firms have a spot on the list and Google beats everybody’s ass with extreme prejudice, so is this one of those “it’s just a thrill to be on the list” moments, which results in the fliers all over your office and in the halls of Career Services at B-schools?

But forget all that for a minute. What’s really surprising (or perhaps not) is that the expectation of MBA graduates whose preferred field is public accounting are expecting an average salary of $59,176 for their first job after graduation. That amount is less than those for academic research ($79,590), education/teaching ($76,138), government/public service ($77,943) and “Other” ($92,110). Oh, and it’s behind “Auditing/accounting/taxation (corporate)” at $64,841. The average salary for preferred fields is $90,990.

Five years after graduation, those same graduates expect to make $92,075. Again, dead last. The average salary being $157,324.

Whether this says more about the state of the accounting profession or the firms that court those seeking accounting focused MBAs, we’re not really sure.

But in the grand scheme of things, it might just say that Deloitte’s position on the list may be – gasp – meaningless.

100 Top MBA Employers [CNNMoney]

BDO Breaks Barrier to Be First Accounting Firm to Land on Obscure Employer List

First off, we can’t remember the last time BDO graced these pages twice in one day. You’d think something would come out of B to the D to the O more often but whatevs. BDO 2.0 today is a little bit of good news for the firm in the form of an exclusive spot on an obscure “Best Places” list.

God forbid our lives be devoid of a ranking in the last half of May but since it’s graduation season and there are some job hunters out there that need to start paying back school loans and credit cards debts, perhaps the timing isn’t so bad. A list we might add, that did not previously have an accounting firm on it. Progress people. Progress.


BDO shattered the glass ceiling on Experience’sBest Places to Work for Recent Grads” that “picked 20 organizations whose entry-level hiring and retention practices are exceptional.” The list is specifically aimed at those companies that are hip to the Gen Y crowd, although we don’t really know any “recent grads” list that wouldn’t be.

Regardless, BDO has some decent company on the list that includes Accenture, Kellogg’s and Morningstar but BDO is the sole accounting firm. The fact that not a single accounting firm (let alone a Big 4 firm) is on the list is a travesty of the highest order. We then realized that the list’s very nature is severely flawed.

It’s too short. Any employer list with less than 50 companies on it simply cannot be taken seriously.

And since there were no accounting firms on last year’s list, this might as well have been random list of companies thrown together for the sake of keeping communications professionals busy.

This year, the Experience folks must have recognized their gross error and that since no employer list could be taken seriously devoid of a professional services firm. Not wanting to make it too complicated, BDO’s inclusion be probably chalked up to an alphabetical advantage.

Best Places to Work for Recent Grads [Experience]
BDO Press Release

The Big 4 Continue to Impress College Students, Dominate Latest Universum List

It’s been far too long since we had a Big 4 dominated list to share with you. The last that we can dig up was PwC’s three-peat for Training 125. We were starting to get the shakes…

Thankfully the drought has ended with the latest list from Universum, who we last hear from in the fall with their 50 Most Attractive Employers.

This time around, it’s the Top 100 IDEAL Employers, that is described as “annual employer image survey…based on more than 163,246 employer evaluations, reflecting the opinions of approximately 56,900 Undergraduate students.” In the “Business” field of study, the Big 4 have, once again, landed high on the list:


Ernst & Young – #2
PricewaterhouseCoopers – #3
Deloitte – #4
KPMG – #6

Big 4 domination on a college student list is nothing new. Their recruiting strategy is aggressive and any company getting bested by Google in anything is exactly a surprise. Some other notables:

FBI – #11
IRS – #23 (IRS 2, Sarah Palin 0)
Grant Thornton – #30
Accenture – #66

Frankly, the number beside the firm name is irrelevant. The firms will boast the latest ranking in press releases and on campus visits per standard operating procedure. This continues to demonstrate that the firms are impressing college recruits effectively. They are presenting the image they want to present and they are doing so with an ever increasing online presence. We will continue to see them high on these lists.

The Universum American Student Survey [Universum]
Universum USA Presents the 2010 Top IDEAL Employers [Press Release]

PwC Achieves Dynasty Status on Training Magazine’s Top 125

Did you think that the Big 4 domination of all magazine lists was over? Jesus, were you wrong. Not only is PwC numero uno on Training Magazine’s Top 125, they’ve been in the top spot for three years running. Clearly this is solidifies the dynasty for P. Dubs.

Personally we don’t think it would be that hard to get on this particular list. You fly everyone to a relatively large city that has bars, casinos, and strip clubs near the hotel and you’ll get some positive feedback regardless of the boring topics discussed.

The magazine lists its criteria for measurement (and, shockingly, our criteria wasn’t mentioned) so we can understand how this index of companies was cooked up:

• Training tied to business objectives

• Demonstrable results

• Number of trainers

• Employee turnover and retention

• Leadership development

• Tuition assistance

• Training technology and infrastructure

• Certification

• Training budget and percentage of payroll

Because we know you’re wondering, only two other firms made it on to the list: KPMG at #5 and Grant Thornton at #103. So this begs the question: WTF E&Y and Deloitte? Completely SHUT OUT? Are your efforts being expended elsewhere? Deloitte’s diversity trainings don’t count? What about the Deloitte University plans; doesn’t that count for something? Sorry, E&Y; the donuts and secure bathrooms obviously don’t help you on this list.

Never mind those losers; back in Titletown, you had better believe P. Dubs put out a press release. Our favorite part being the last paragraph before the “About” section where it catalogs every list the firm has ever been on for the past decade and a half. We get the picture P. Dubs. You can make it on to lists. Good job. Please feel free to notify us directly for the next one.

Digitial Issue [Training Magazine]

Putting Accounting Firms’ Quest to Dominate Magazine Lists into Perspective

We’ve hypothesized about accounting firms’ quest to dominate every magazine list on Earth. Admirable goal, no question but the motivation has escaped us.
Until now. We’ve been enlightened:

Going back to the dominating magazine lists – its a lot like the bald middle aged guy (Big 4 accounting firms) that buys a Corvette (magazine awards) to compensate for a lack of equipment size (crappy work environment) to attract the ladies (slaves).

That pretty much clears it up.

Accounting Firms Plan to Offer Less Internships in 2010

intern-where-is-my-report.jpgBack again for round two of the latest Big 4 domination of a BusinessWeek list.
The entire list with company profiles is now available but we’ve pulled some of the more interesting items for your enjoyment, after the jump.


Intern hiring planned for 2010 and interns hired for 2009:
• Deloitte: NA; 2,233
• KPMG: 1,700; 1,745
• Ernst & Young: 1,800; 1,971
• PwC: 2,175; 2,278
• Grant Thornton: 328; 388
&bull RSM McGladrey: 225; 330
Average Total Pay:
• Deloitte: $10,000
• KPMG: $10,900
• Ernst & Young: $9,585
• PwC: $9,848
• Grant Thornton: $11,716
&bull RSM McGladrey: NA – Average hourly wage was $21.33
Interns who received full-time offers:
• Deloitte: 73%
• KPMG: 90%
• Ernst & Young: 92%
• PwC: 89%
• Grant Thornton: 60%
&bull RSM McGladrey: 62%
Interns with offers who accepted:
• Deloitte: 82%
• KPMG: 93%
• Ernst & Young: 92%
• PwC: 93%
• Grant Thornton: 56%
&bull RSM McGladrey: 88%
We don’t know who’s responsible for auditing these numbers so take them for what they are. That being said, if they are indeed kosh, what is up with Grant Thornton’s numbers? With the exception of the average total pay, not too impressive, even when compared to the firm that sponsors Natalie Gulbis.
To add insult to injury, BW uses this picture which some people will be quick to point out is no longer part of GT’s Global Six campaign. Maybe the claim that the GT interns don’t get coffee is bunk?
For the Big 4, it looks like there will be fewer internships available in 2010, which reflects the slimmer hiring budget that has been discussed here. The good news is that unless you do something like arrange an awards ceremony that includes “Most Likely to be the Office Whore” using a work email, you’ll probably get a full-time offer. Discuss the stats and outlook for the menu/coffee gophers in the comments.
Earlier: Deloitte Tops BusinessWeek’s ‘Best Places to Intern’ List, KPMG Gets the Silver

Deloitte Tops BusinessWeek’s ‘Best Places to Intern’ List, KPMG Gets the Silver

Thumbnail image for confidence.jpgAll right Deloitte. What are you paying BusinessWeek? Seriously, you take the “Start Your Career” crown and now you’re just getting greedy with the arbitrary magazine list championships. You’re risking backlash if you continue to dominate:

Our ranking of the best U.S.companies for undergraduate internships highlights employers who have put together an outstanding experience for students. Accounting firm Deloitte tops our list, followed by rivals KPMG (No.2) and Ernst & Young (No.3).The last of the Big Four accounting companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, comes in at No.5, right behind consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.


This is getting ridiculous BW. Four out of the top five spots go to Big 4? Do they really have an unbreakable stranglehold on your list methodology?

To compile our list, we judged employers based on survey data from 60 career services directors around the country and a separate survey completed by each employer. We also consider how each employer fared in the annual Best Places to Launch a Career, our ranking of top U.S. entry-level employers released in September of each year.

So, the employer’s own surveys are judged and you consider a list previously issued by you? Unless we’ve been misled, those employer might not have gone so well. As for considering your own list to make a new list, does that mean that this is basically the same list but with a different name?
Putting the methodology hocus-pocus aside, we notice that while Deloitte took home the gold medal, KPMG got the big talk up for their global rotations:

Two years ago KPMG realized it had to make a substantial investment in its internship program if it hoped to woo top students from larger consulting and accounting firms. So the company decided to offer interns an opportunity to gain valuable overseas experience. KPMG lets student interns spend four weeks in the U.S. and four weeks abroad. “It’s extremely competitive [to recruit top students], and this is a differentiator,” says Blane Ruschak, executive director of campus recruiting at KPMG.
A chance to work overseas is precisely what appealed to Andrew Fedele, 21, an accounting and economics double major at Pennsylvania State University. “I was sold pretty much when I first read about [KPMG’s] global internship program.” He spent four weeks in Chicago and four weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa. “South Africa has just such an interesting history. To go there and live with the locals and work with them was really exciting.”
What did KPMG get in return? Exactly what it hoped: Fedele accepted a full-time job almost immediately after KPMG made its offer at the end of the summer.

The article does manage to point out that “KPMG…hired nearly 900 fewer entry-level employees this year. But 91% of those full-time hires were former interns, whereas only 71% of new hires in 2008 were interns.”
The trend of fewer non-interns getting hired on at Big 4 (in this case KPMG) firms was something that we touched on in August, although BW doesn’t bother mentioning that it’s most likely due to the slashing of the firm’s hiring budgets.
We can’t give this latest meaningless index any more thought. If you’ve got an opinion on the latest jumble of the Big 4 in a BW list, leave them in the comments.
Best Places to Intern [BBW]

What a Relief. There’s Now a Global List of Best Employers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for outsourcing.jpgTechnically its Unverisum’s 50 Most Attractive Employers.

Universum, an “employer branding company”, claims FIRST! on a global list:

This is the first global index of employer attractiveness and highlights the world’s most powerful employer brands, those companies that excel in talent attraction and retention. The global rankings are based on the employer preferences of students from US, Japan, China, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Russia, Spain, Canada and India.

The usual suspects all made the top ten with PwC coming in at #2, E&Y at #5, KPMG at #8, and Deloitte at #10. This varies considerably with the BusinessWeek list that the Big 4 dominated, with Deloitte on top.

Personally, if we never saw a list of “best employers” of any variety we’d be thrilled but we’re sure the firms are happy to send you an email about this latest triumph. Feel free to speculate on your firm’s ranking, including Deloitte’s big drop, or pass along any spirited communication from your firm.

The World’s Top 50 Most Attractive Employers [Universum]

CPAs Rank #6 for Best Jobs in America

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for accountant.jpgDon’t have enough corporate magazine lists in your life? Didn’t think so. CNN/Money’s Best Jobs in America dropped this morning and lo and behold, CPAs come in at #6.
Seem high? Maybe. CPAs did only receive grades of ‘C’ on “Benefits to Society” (you don’t keep people from dying) and “Low Stress” (‘C’ seems generous).
Also, CPAs only rank in the top ten in “Flexibility” but still managed to sneak into the top ten overall.
Continued, after the jump


Dubious, right? Money still makes their case:

Businesses began stocking the payroll with CPAs after major accounting scandals earlier this decade, and a host of new corporate accounting rules going into effect soon should ratchet up demand further.
Government agencies are also hiring CPAs, to monitor how well companies are complying with the new regs. Add inevitable changes to personal income tax rules and you have a pretty recession-proof profession.
“Unless Congress does away with taxes, we’ll always have work,” says CPA Lisa Featherngill of Winston-Salem, N.C. Some 33,000 independent CPAs also work for themselves, typically as tax preparers.

Debunk:
1. Scandals early in the decade? What about present scandals? Lotta good hiring all those CPAs did.
2. Remind us which agencies are doing a bang up job keeping companies in line with regulations?
3. Oh, and regardless of the certainty of taxes, this happens.
Maybe we’re overreacting. Perhaps they’re pointing out that if you’ve got a CPA, that gives you options (get crackin’ non-CPAs). Regardless of what Grant Thornton’s latest survey says.
So, if you’re a CPA and you’re happy, clap your hands. And discuss the list and why (or why not) being a CPA kicks so much ass.
Best Jobs in America [CNN/Money]

Deloitte is Handing Out Giant Foam Fingers Today

green#1.jpgBusinessWeek’s “Best Places to Launch a Career” hits the newsstands today and Deloitte stuffed the ballot box best.

E&Y is the first loser, PwC gets the bronze and KPMG jumped one spot to #4, up from #5 last year. Grant Thornton dropped in at #51.

A few stats that probably help Deloitte land on top include:

• Average pay range being $5k higher than all the other firms

• Highest average signing bonus and 90% of new hires received them

• Highest three year retention rate of 56%

• Lowest drop in entry level hiring

Regardless of who comes out on top in this list, all the firms will be hyping their inclusion while on campus this fall.

We’ll revisit this next week when more of you are actually at work, not hungover, or haven’t already left.
For the rest of you, feel free to discuss the list in the comments, as we’re sure there are opinions out there on this.

Best Places to Launch a Career [BusinessWeek]