December 15, 2018

E&Y FSO

Ernst & Young FSO Will No Longer *Officially* Be Asking Employees to Clock Mandatory Hours

It's been quite the past few days inside Chez Turley with people jumping up and down about their compensation numbers and the firm rolling out a new bonus structure. If that wasn't enough excitement for you, then let the news that the firm's FSO group will officially discontinue the busy season requirement of 55 chargeable […]

Will Ernst & Young FSO Start Forced Rankings Next?

We're getting word things are becoming a little claustrophobic over at Uncle Ernie's house. From the mailbag: In NY – FSO (EY) apparently there are so many high performers at staff 2 that discussions regarding ratings are still ongoing to help normalize the rankings. "Normalize" is never a good word. Animal shelters "normalize" their populations in the […]

Future Ernst & Young Associate Can’t Stop Talking About PwC

If you haven’t already, please read Adrienne’s post on submitting questions to the site. I applaud her for hitting every damn nail on the head, and I want to echo her bottom line: we love hearing from you; the advice columns keep this place buzzing; but please check to see if we answered your question last week. I’d also like to add that the details you can provide (practice lines, office location, level, etc.) make it easier for us to offer more precise feedback. Keep ‘em coming.

In the meantime, consider this post as Example A as to what will happen when a lazy ass individual seeks advice they can find right under their noses. With thistried to find some shred of a question to answer, but instead I found myself screaming at my monitor. If this is the product of Helicopter Parenting, we as a society are screwed. Nevertheless, we’ll get right to it:

Hey GC, how’s it going? I am writing about making a decision between EY’s FSO practice and their TAS practice. Right now there is a lot of squawk about PWC’s FSR and EY’s FSO practices. These are both very hot topics and I believe relevant to readers, as seen after the EY FSO Assurance article [this one].

First off, you’re making a decision between two different options at EY, yet refer to the “hot topic” of PwC’s FSR practice (Financial Instruments, Structured Products and Real Estate). Let’s spell out some definitions for people here who are not familiar:


1. EY FSO – Not a practice but rather a term that stands for Financial Services Office. Per their website (which I Googled like any child can do) EY’s FSO practice includes all three lines of business: assurance, tax, and advisory. It’s a go-to-market philosophy/marketing strategy/organizational hierarchy more than anything else. Go to the website to learn more, if you’re so inclined.

2. EY TAS – Transaction Advisory Services – an advisory practice by name, includes a variety of services (due diligence, restructuring, valuation, etc.). Without splitting hairs here, a TAS associate will work on FSO clients (e.g. valuing insurance claims at AIG). Said associate could also work on a transaction involving a factory in Topeka, Kansas.

3. PwC FSR – Most closely related to EY TAS as it would fall under TAS if it were at EY. But it’s not. It’s at PwC, where you don’t have an offer. Again, not relevant.

Many students have accepted or are contemplating offers from the big 4, and there are rumors circulating that FSR and FSO employees work banker hours and get paid like consultants.

You are clearly new to public accounting, Going Concern, and the world in general. Get paid like consultants? WTF does that even mean? And for the love of God, you’re not working at PwC. Stop talking about it. Note: At this point the contributor goes on with a list of questions; my feedback at the bottom.

I am having trouble making a decision between TAS and FSO. For staff one’s in NYC, total year one compensation with salary and signing bonus is between 60-70 thousand on average. Not bad, but with what kind of hours?

On the other hand, TAS year one salary is about 55k, no bonus. What type of hours can be expected? Being that all new hires in EY FSO start in BAP [link for those playing at home], a 4 year rotational program, does good old uncle Ernie just rotate their staff through busy season after busy season? How much travel can be expected in NYC, aren’t most financial clients located in the city? FSO and FSR new hires are earning on average about 10k more than their audit and TAS counterparts. If the hours are comparable to these service lines, why so much more money? If the hours are much longer in FSO, does the staff ever receive a bonus? There must be a hitch…

Readers should note: This contributor happened to email us from a company email address of a flailing/failing/going-down-in-flames investment bank and – in this writer’s opinion – should be thankful to have ANY job at ANY Big4 firm. Turns out this person has already worked at EY during a previous (and VERY recent) internship and assumedly had ample time/networks/professionals/resources/access to the Internet to answer the above asinine questions.

The hitch is that you don’t have an offer from PwC, so drop the comparison. It’s like comparing my ideal commute to work (jet pack, duh) to the one I currently have (6 train, running with delays). Comparing a PwC FSR offer to an EY TAS offer would at least be a bit more relevant.

I’m going to ignore all questions about busy season hours/travel because you should have asked them while going through the interview process. After all, that’s the point of the interview process. I’m also going to point out that your statement that, “FSO and FSR new hires are earning on average about 10k more than their audit and TAS counterparts” is wrong on many levels. First, FSO includes auditors. Second, new hires within FSO make different salaries (tax hires make XYZ, auditors makes ABC, etc.). Finally, STOP COMPARING EVERYTHING TO PwC’s FSR PRACTICE.

What you do have:

1. An offer in EY FSO: What group? I don’t have a f*cking clue, and you never told us.

2. An offer in EY TAS: Which sub-group? There are six spelled out on the company website.

So, back to one the question in your email that hasn’t been answered at GC a thousand times before:

Hey GC, how’s it going?

Overworked and underpaid. Ring a bell? Take a number.

Bottom line: read through EY’s website to understand their practice lines and acronyms, something you should have done before emailing us. Also, consider taking a job in a “safer” practice…because the last time we had record Black Friday sales was November 2008…and we all know that the house was on fire then…

Interns, Here’s the Lowdown on Ernst & Young’s FSO Assurance Practice in NYC

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected] with your problem(s) but only if you’re comfortable being mocked in an older sibling kind of way.

GC,

I know my question is somewhat specific but I just accepted an Internship offer for E&Y FSO Assurance in NYC and was interested in gaining some insight into the 3 divisions within FSO Assurance. First, I would love to hear your opinion on the pros and cons of each of the three sectors (Asset Management, Banking, & Insurance) including which EY is best known for. I was also wondering if there was a clear leader in each of those sectors in NYC and was wondering which of the Big Four was bestnks so much for your help. I know I am still a year away from having to actually select one of those options but gaining people’s opinions never hurt. Thanks so much.


Congratulations on landing a sweet summer gig with Uncle Ernie. You’ll be working for a great firm in a great city making a great salary while fetching great coffee for your superiors. Cheers!

But really, welcome to New York. You’re smart in thinking ahead to the fact that where you start with your internship will lead to a fulltime offer with the same group. This is because internships are essentially training camp for your first year – make it through the summer successfully and you’re in the club. I did a little digging within my professional circle to uncover some of the EY clients that you’d have the potential of working on, as well as my own two Lincolns.

Insurance – Let’s start with this one because I have a feeling that the group consensus will be unanimous: DO NOT JOIN THIS GROUP. Sure, it is a small, “family-like” practice in the financial services industry, but you’re not coming to work for the warm and fuzzies (if you are, avoid public accounting altogether). You’re coming to make yourself a valuable asset to future employers – one, three, or ten years from now. Can you receive accelerated responsibilities and extensive interaction with your clients? Yeah, but that’s because your co-workers are jumping ship and no one within the firm wants to transfer to the Insurance group. Unless you have an absolute passion for the industry (which you don’t, since you emailed us), I would avoid this group. Stay in this group for five years (you know, to make the dream promo to manager) and you’re setting yourself up for a career working for an insurance (or re-insurance) firm.

Banking and Capital Markets – This group is bigger and more prominent than the Insurance group. It’s taken its hit in recent years because…ummm…the banking industry is in turmoil, but some of the pain has been buoyed by their growing Broker Dealer client base (also falls into this group). Potential clients include Bank of America (*gulp*), UBS Wealth Management (the shining star in the UBS sky), Icahn Securities, JG Wentworth, ING Financial Holdings, and Cantor “run for the hills” Fitzgerald. Sources tell me audit staff are constantly trying to take rotations to the asset management group, so take that for what it’s worth. Career advancement outside of public can take you to either a banking or hedge fund depending on your client exposure, but have you read the papers recently? Banking ain’t the hottest date to the prom to these days.

Asset Management – this is EY’s money train in New York when it comes to audit (and even tax) services. EY and PwC dominate this market in New York, and depending on whom you ask EY has a more rounded client base (blue chip and start ups). Premier clients include Eton Park, Reservoir Capital, Anchorage Capital, and Och Ziff Capital (do some Googling to get an idea about these firms). The exposure to different investment strategies and financial products you will see will be second to none. Don’t forget that you can count the relevant investment banks left standing on two hands, whereas there are thousands of hedge funds and private equity firms in the country (most of which are in the greater NYC area, too). Your easiest and most lucrative path out of audit and into the private sector will be with a background in asset management. Absolutely, positively, 100%.

So there you have it. As always, GC’er please chime in below with your comments.

One Ernst & Young Tax Associate’s Resolution Is to Find Out If She’s Underpaid

Welcome to the good-riddance-2010-hello-busy-season edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an E&Y tax associate is considering a move to another Big 4 firm but wants to know if she’s pulling down fair scratch after “an irrevocable slip up.”

Need ideas for 2011 resolutions? Wondering how to best present strange and morbid experience on your LinkedIn profile? Looking for ideas on how to handle a client who will be less than grateful for all the hours you’ll be putting in this year? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll have everyone kissing your feet in no time.

Back to our New Year job hunter:

Hi, I’m currently working at EY FSO NY in Tax and considering going to one of the other big 4 firms but am wondering how much the going rate is these days for hires with the MST in my market. When I initially signed on here I was offered 70k with the MST but due to a huge irrevocable slip up I’m not being paid that. Understandably if I’m going to be slaving away through a 9 month busy season with these financial clients I want to at least get paid the going-rate hence the reason I’m exploring my options. Btw, I’m a staff 2 now.


Naturally, we had to ask about this “irrevocable slip up” because we pictured something along the lines of DUI, an inappropriate email or something even more serious but unfortunately it was just a college credits issue.

ANYWAY, this problem you have – ordinarily, we’d think that you’re shopping the job scene simply because you think you’re underpaid but since your situation is special, we’ll make an exception. We asked around and 70k is right in the wheelhouse of where you should be so at the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask some recruiters what openings the other firms have. On the other hand, if you like working at E&Y, it wouldn’t be presumptuous to explain your situation to a performance counselor or partner, the idea being that you’re happy but because of mix-up, you’re down the pay scale compared to your peers. Do this after speaking to recruiters so you can substantiate your claim.

Keep in mind that the downside is that tax associates with a MST and FS experience are a dime a dozen in New York, so we advise moving sooner (i.e. now) rather than later (i.e. April) when all your burned out colleagues are calling recruiters. If you wait a couple of weeks, before you know it, you’re swamped with work and missing for a couple of hours in the middle of the day will look pret-tay, pret-tay suspicious. Good luck.