October 23, 2018

Interns

Small accounting firms

To Most Accounting Students, Small Accounting Firms Don’t Exist

Here’s a fun article by Marc Rosenberg about “how totally uninformed young accountants are about CPA firms.” Now, you might think that this is one of those condescending KIDS TODAY posts, but it’s actually pretty self-aware. Rosenberg offers a picture of a profession that has an enormous perception problem, citing some pretty surprising examples. He […]

Intern With Uncertain Future Wants to Know If It’s Time to Stay or Go

Need some career advice? Email Rachel at [email protected] and your question may be featured on Going Concern.

Here, Have This Video of EY Interns Cheering for No Damn Reason

Crikey, it's like they're at the Price Is Right or something: Great meeting our interns @EY_IILC in Orlando last week. Check out the video of this passionate group! @EY_CareersUS pic.twitter.com/xgL0fRA9Ft — Steve Howe (@SteveHoweEY) August 11, 2016 Sure, they seem like an ethusiastic group. Watch out for the bullies, though.

Career Limiting Moves: Prospective PwC Intern Accused of Using ‘Sock Puppet’ Twitter Accounts to Tweet Bigoted Crap

Ed. note: Warning, there's some offensive language contained in this post.

Today in potential career limiting moves, we have a prospective PwC intern being accused of creating a bunch of “sock puppet” Twitter accounts to hurl bigoted tweets at high school football recruits.

Let’s Enjoy Some Intern Reviews of Various Accounting Firms

Vault ranks lots of employers and this week they dropped their 50 top internships for 2016. There are lots of accounting firms on this list, so many it's almost unbelievable considering Vault invited more than 600 employers to participate. Here are all the firms that were list: Elliott Davis Decosimo (2) Plante Moran (6) Moss […]

Enjoy the Dreams While You Can, EY Interns

When you wake up, someone will be complaining about how you don't know anything. Have a great time at the Disney parks, interns! Don't forget that fanny pack!☝#IILC — Joe Maturando (@JoeMaturando) July 29, 2015  

Let’s Welcome the Deloitte Summer Interns

It's New Year's Day in the Deloitte universe and new stars are being born: Alright folks, with all the interns we have starting this week across the country, what advice would you give them? — Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) June 1, 2015 My only advice is that when you're waiting for a new story to […]

Prospective Intern Wants to Know if Firm Will Let Him Go on Vacation During Internship

Yes, this was actually posted over at /r/accounting and no, it doesn't seem this person is a troll: Next week is when Big4 interviews happen and I hope to not only be interviewed but also get offered an internship, but… At the beginning of August I have a week long trip that I had planned […]

FT Offer Watch: Public Accounting Starting Salaries for the Class of 2014

We know those of you awaiting offers have been watching compensation threads tick by thinking to yourselves "man, I can't wait to get my offer and compare my salary to those of my fellow interns-turned-FTers in one big monetary weenie measuring contest on GC!" and day after day goes on with no one mentioning offers. […]

KPMG Leads the Way in Telling Interns What Not to Wear

KPMG loves to give its interns a hand when it comes to dress, handing out gift cards and goodies at summer and winter intern training to give them a head start on their business caj wardrobe. The winter intern situation got a little awkward this year when KPMG decided the ladies needed camisoles while the […]

What’s a Day in the Life of a Typical Audit Intern?

The New Jersey Society of CPAs has a breakdown of an average day for an audit intern, and by average we mean very average. As in, arrive at the office at 9am and leave promptly at 5pm. Do you remember those days? Let's see: 7:30am: Wake up, eat breakfast and get ready for work.  8:20am: […]

Trends in Campus Recruiting: Never Trust a Big Starbucks Card and a Smile

As we all know, firms of all sizes spend a lot of time and effort cruising campus to pluck the best and brightest from top accounting programs using all sorts of tactics like free dinner, tchotchkes, and even buttering up students' parents. Now, there is a new form of campus predator: your fellow student. We […]

Caption Contest Tuesday: It’s Beginning to Look Like BoMo Has Lost His Mojo

First, BoMo was totally dissed at this year's Oscars after being dissed by Michelle Obama IRL last year. That's fine, though, maybe he was busy and had stuff to do that night. But now, not even interns want to hang out with him. Could these two look any more disinterested? I'll kick this off: "Cool […]

McGladrey Interns Are Busy Learning Their Colleagues Are Boring, How to Use an Ice Cream Truck

Remember your first internship? The thrill of getting that company-issued laptop, of learning the ropes, of being mentored by senior staff in things you didn't learn in college like how to get a coffee order right? Well the McGladrey winterns are busy blogging about it, let's check in with Jamie, a tax intern in Iowa […]

Say Hello to Some Dynamic Grant Thornton Winterns

Welcome Southeast region Winter Class of 2014 #Interns from schools ranging from Baltimore to Miami! pic.twitter.com/9Xr3nbmzwX — GrantThorntonCareers (@GTCareersUS) January 15, 2014 Why is this in black and white? Did GT blow its entire color budget on its sharp purple marketing materials? Oh whatever. Congrats, you kids!

Recruiting Season: Salaries and Offers for the Public Accounting Class of 2014

ALRIGHT ALRIGHT, we get it, you've been waiting for this thread. Seems a little early this year but we're getting harassed about it enough to think it's time to get this puppy rolling: Where's the 2014 full-time/summer internship thread? Offers are already going out. If you look at how we have done this in the […]

Public Accounting Summer Interns: Here’s Your Full-time Offer Open Thread (2013)

In all the commotion, we've neglected to congratulate those summer interns who have successfully navigated the summer without blowing their chances at a full-time offer of employment. It's no easy task, although if you followed our Definitive Guide to a Successful Public Accounting Summer Internship, it probably wasn't that bad. So for all the copy […]

Deloitte Interns Wasting Perfectly Good Graffiti Wall

I realize that we won't find the next Banksy in the 2013 Deloitte intern class, but come on, you guys. Maybe print out some of your Excel art and stick that up there. Something. Of course, not everyone can be at the conference, so if you have a message you'd like to post, you may […]

The Definitive Guide to a Successful Public Accounting Summer Internship

Hey, INTERN. Yes, you there wearing your hangover like a scarlet letter on this lovely Friday. Down your third gatorade and listen up. This is everything you need to know to not completely waste your summer away in your internship.   You earned a coveted internship, but I am not going to stroke your ego […]

Ernst & Young Interns Made Fully Aware of Insider Trading’s Pitfalls

With full-time personnel already on notice, E&Y figured any interns not already familiar with insider trading should be made aware that material, non-public information about a client should not be used to trade securities. Nor should you pass it to your golfing buddy, local jeweler, or connection for hard-to-get concert tickets.  A tipster sent us […]

Public Accounting Winter Intern Full-time Offers, Round 2

Today, there are a lot of dazed tax interns walking around, wondering what happened to the last three months of their lives. However! They aren't so out of it that they can't help but wonder what their full-time offers look like compared to their peers around the country. We've had a couple of requests this […]

We Haven’t Forgotten About You, Public Accounting Winter Interns!

Sorry, winter interns — it's just that we've been, ya know, busy. Just like those senior associates who haven't had the time to take you to lunch. Or that manager who you thought wanted to get to know you better. Or that partner that never pronounces your name correctly. There's no shortage of love, just a […]

Will This Intern’s Trip to the Drunk Tank Jeopardize His Career Aspirations?

Over the years, we have received many questions regarding criminal histories and a life in public accounting. Not surprisingly, most of these cases have revolved around drugs or alcohol. We aren't talking about major meth production rings (that might be a small disqualification) or moonshining operations, but your run-of-the-mill silly college mistakes like getting tossed […]

This Busy Intern Will Not Let Silly Work Get In The Way of Important Things Like Getting His Tires Rotated

Names changed to protect the "innocent" though really there is nothing innocent about this email sent from one busy intern to staff making the rounds today: Hey Bob, Hope things are going well. As interns we do not have access to ARMs so until Jack informed me I was unaware I was working 10 hours […]

And Now, May We Present Going Concern’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Ed. note: With only a week before Christmas, you can't walk into any building without hearing Manheim Steamroller or Michael Bublé blasting through the soundsystem. It's enough to make you want to punch out one of those Salvation Army bell ringers. If you can't beat 'em (and not go prison), join 'em, right? So, in […]

Deloitte Intern Candidate Just Smoked the Competition’s Thoughtful Thank You Emails

Kiss that Green Dot Internship good-bye, you inconsiderate beasts. Love it…I just received a handwritten thank you note from an intern candidate I took to lunch last week. Those will NEVER go out of style! — Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) November 30, 2012 Better go brush up on your Judith Martin, rubes. [via @LifeatDeloitte]

Recruiting Season Regrets: The Guy Who Passed Up a Career with Deloitte to Sell Copious Amounts of Pot

Right now, many accounting students are giving serious thought to their futures. Right this very minute, in fact, a few are gnawing their already bloody fingernails waiting for a Going Concern blogger to tell them what to do with their lives. They can't trust their parents and friends so it's only natural that they ask […]

Recruiting Season: It’s Decision Time; Dealing with Radio Silence; Stalling That Eager Firm

Welcome to the latest Recruiting Season Q&A. This is where we answer several questions from anxious accounting students. Remember, you won't know if your question is stupid unless you ask. Email your query to [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Question" in the subject line. Just a reminder – we're compiling the starting salaries for new associates […]

Recruiting Season: Crossing State Lines; Starting Salary Disappointment; Choosing an Industry

Welcome to this week's roundup of baffled buckaroos. Each week we'll try to save some hapless accounting students from embarrassing themselves somewhere along recruiting trail. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at [email protected] with "Recruiting Season Questions" in the subject line. We'll kick things off with a follow-up from last week when "Pissed […]

Recruiting Season: Planning Your Last Summer, Handling Rejection, and Pesky Friends Wanting a Referral

Good night nurse, we get a lot of emails during recruiting season. In order to answer as many questions as possible, we'll do a lightning round of sorts each week so none of the little grasshoppers out there feel left out. Have a question about recruiting season? Email us at [email protected] and include "Recruiting Season Questions" […]

The Best Part of Ernst & Young’s International Intern Leadership Conference Had to Be When Jim Turley Laid Down Some Beats

Remember earlier this month when we showed you some images from the Ernst & Young International Intern Leadership Conference? It illustrated just how E&Y rolls out the black and yellow carpet for its interns from across the globe – charter buses, gorilla hugs, and a dude in a Big Bird Yellow tux.  We've uncovered more […]

Is It Shallow to Choose One Accounting Firm Over Another Based on Prestige?

If you have a problem that your spouse, friends, or Labrador can't seem to fix, why not ask emotionally detached accounting bloggers who can barely run their own lives to help? Email us your questions and we'll pull it together just for you. Dear Going Concern,   I know you get a lot of these […]

Who’s Going to Make Honest Capital Market Servants Out of These PwC Interns?

Last week we mentioned that many interns were doing happy dances after learning that none of their summer behavior warranted a one-way ticket back to whereverthehellyoucamefrom. Based on the comments, Ernst & Young seemed to have the jump on extending offers but now this week, it's the Xerox technicians at Casa de Moritz getting the […]

Public Accounting Summer Interns: Here’s Your Full-time Offer Open Thread

It seemed like only yesterday we were welcoming the summer interns to their first taste of capital market servitude. Now that it's August and they've sufficiently been pranked, pandered, and paid per hour, the full-time offers for interns are starting to roll out. Yes, you will be seeing many of those Xerox technicians back on […]

The First Images Out of Ernst & Young’s International Intern Leadership Conference Are a Tad Disturbing

Ahhh interns, gotta love 'em. Ernst & Young loves them so much they hold a yearly conference for the kids who stand out as best and brightest at Disney World, bringing out 1,800 interns from around the world last year. This year's party has just started but thanks to the EY Careers page on Facebook, […]

Intern Weighs Betraying a Small Firm for the Big 4

Suffering from Big 4 burnout? Want ideas for your Sarbanes-Oxley 10th anniversary celebration? Need help making a smart the least stupid choice at the vending machine? Email us your questions and let us feel your pain. Hi GC,   Looking for some advice. I am interning at a small firm and I am 95% sure I will […]

Already Doubtful Big 4 Advisory Intern Needs Help Managing Expectations

Just starting out your career and unsure of your path? Worried that drinking Dr Pepper 10 and using too much Axe body spray might give your co-workers the wrong impression? Need help picking out your outfit for your first day as a new hire? GC is here to help, hit us up. I'm currently a […]

Deloitte Auditor Recognizes Overachieving Intern’s Nauseating Enthusiasm, Responds Accordingly

There's nothing quite like an enthusiastic intern who wants to be prepared for their first day on the job. And when I say, "nothing quite like," I mean, "Nothing quite as barf-worthy." Make no mistake, the effort is appreciated young grasshoppers, but you should know that the senior associate or manager that you are corresponding […]

Here’s Your Public Accounting Interns Open Thread for Summer 2012

If you're like me, you checked out on earlier than normal this week due to the long weekend of bad decisions ahead. It's a welcome reprieve for those of you that are firmly entrenched in the day-to-day amusement park that is public accounting. However, very soon the latest crop of presumptive capital market servants will […]

“Average” KPMG Intern Is Concerned About the Firm’s Dance Around Full Time Offers

Do you have a question about, well, anything but are surrounded by fools who couldn't possibly enlighten you? The sages of Going Concern are here to help. Email us with your questions.  Dear Going Concern,   I recently finished my winter internship with KPMG and I am not sure how I felt about it. On […]

Ever Wonder What Accounting Recruiting Seminars Look Like? Here You Go

The following slides were sent to us from a reliable source who works within public accounting in a capacity that does not involve actual accounting. Call that talent acquisition if you'd like, all we know is that our source sat in on an actual seminar about recruiting talent that included these actual slides. I don't […]

PwC Winter Interns Can Expect Some Good News This Week

From the mailbag:  Just a FYI most of the PwC winter interns should be receiving their full time offers this week. "Good news" is relative of course, as this news could very well mean that, by accepting this opportunity and turning down a similar chance with KPMG, the chances of making partner some day are diminished. […]

Big 4 Advisory Intern Wants To Squeeze Blood Out Of A Turnip

Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC. Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary GC,I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory.  I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January.  Is […]

Ernst & Young Intern Really Needs Help with an Essay So He Can Go Overseas for Two Weeks

Ed. note: Troubled this busy season? Email us your predicament at [email protected] For the most part, the emails we receive seeking advice are genuine.  We have struggling GPA’ers and struggling interviewers.  Managers tempted by the partner carrot and the curious public-to-public hopper. And generally, you all turn out solid, noteworthy advice. This is not one […]

Watch These Big 4 Auditors Pull a Mildly Humorous Prank on Their Intern

Allegedly, this stunt was pulled earlier this morning in a Big 4 audit room somewhere in the Boston area. If you'd like to claim responsibility for this stroke of genius or have other samples to share, email us.

Should Big 4 Interns Be Hazed?

This is our second intern-themed post this week, which gets me thinking that some of you are neck-deep in coffee jockeys. This can be a trying time for those of you that are A) impatient B) dicks C) control freaks D) all of the above. As such, the following has probably crossed your mind at […]

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.

Intern Needs Help Breaking the News of “The Decision” to Leave His Current Big 4 Firm for a Rival

Ed. note: Need advice on your career, the CPA exam or how to best enforce your firm’s dress code? Email the career advice brain trust at [email protected] for answers.

Dear GC,

This past summer I worked as an intern with a Big 4 firm. Learned a lot, some decent people, long hours. Still felt relatively miserable considering most of the people I worked with were wound pretty tight. Fast forward to now, and I am considering “taking my talents to south beach” by switching to a different Big 4 firm. Yes, there is an immaterial amount of additional money on the table, so my decision comes down to (1) a more interesting client base and (2) a more exciting and open culture among the happier employees at the new firm.

To me “the Decision” has been made. How do I tell the firm I interned with (and accepted an offer with) that I won’t be coming to the party next year? Am I at risk of being “that guy?” Can you put me in contact with a cable network willing to run a one-hour special so I don’t have to tell them directly?

Thank you.

-Raymone James

LeBron Raymone,

First, congratulations on one-upping your entry level status in such a dire market. It sounds as though your decision is a done deal so cutting the cord with your personal version of Cleveland shouldn’t be hard to do.

Being that it’s already November, you need to reach out to the firm you’re breaking away from immediately. They’re in the middle of interview season anyway, and knowing that they have an additional spot in their budget now rather than later is important (and fair to their process). Reach out to the recruiter that was your point of contact within the firm (and probably the one that presented you with the original offer). Leave them a voicemail at work stressing the need to speak about a “time sensitive issue” and follow up with an email stating the same. Should you not hear back from them in 48 hours, follow up with another call. If it’s another empty voicemail, follow up with another email (forward the original) and state then that you will not be starting with them after graduation. Explain the situation (using the “it’s not you, it’s me” angle usually works), and thank them for the positive intern experience.

In fairness to them you should try to speak to them live on the phone; however you’re not obligated to make a dozen attempts to reach them. Everyone has email in their pocket these days and it’s reasonable to expect a response in two business days.

And why are you worried about being ‘that guy?’ If by that you mean ‘the guy who left for better money, clients, and culture,’ I’d bet it’s safe to say many of us wouldn’t mind being that guy (or lady) too.

Good luck.

Tax Intern Wants to Know What Job Opportunities Exist After a Three Year Stretch at a Big 4 Firm

Ed. note: Willing to take some advice from three strangers and peanut gallery full of overworked, underpaid paper pushers (aka spreadsheet jockeys)? Email us at [email protected] with your problems.

Hi!

First I just want to say that this website made all the down time during my Big 4 internship bearable!! Seriously, there are no words to express my gratitude!

I’ve learned a lot from your site, and I’m kinda hoping you can give me some advice…

Right now I have a full time job offer in Tax, but lately I’ve been questioning if this is the right move for me.

Honestly, I don’t think I can handle more than 3 years of public accounting, so I was wondering what job opportunities there are in the private sector for tax professionals with only two to three years of public accounting experience? (I feel like the focus is usually on audit, so I’m finding I don’t really know a lot about the tax world outside of the Big 4).

Also, I would eventually love to work for a nonprofit…would I have better luck at finding a job in this sector with an audit or advisory background, as opposed to tax?

Thanks a million!!!!

Clueless

Dear Clueless,

Thanks for stopping by GC this summer and squeezing us into your “busy” internship days. (Shameless plug – remember to talk about this site when you return to campus this fall. We’ll be talking about recruiting on a regular basis).

Let’s assume that you are going to accept the offer for Big 4 tax. Maybe you have an MS in tax. Maybe there are not any audit positions available for campus hires. Maybe you have a crush on the lead engagement partner. Not my biz. Whatever your situation, you should be focusing on making yourself as merlo-rounded as marketable as possible. A few ideas:

1) CPA – Not even a question. Get it done immediately.

2) Request an audit rotation – As you experienced this summer, there are times when things get a bit slow for tax professionals. Request short term rotations into audit where you can receive additional exposure. This will be marginally easier to do if your CPA is already completed.

3) Seek out non-profit clients – It does not matter if your experience is on the audit or tax side; the goal here is to receive client exposure for a look at the culture/business model/workplace environment at some of your local NFP’s.

4) Volunteer – If NFP clients are not an option, try to find time in your schedule to volunteer. Like any new job possibility, you should research what life is like at a non-profit before jumping into the career move.

As for private sector jobs, with 2-3 years tax experience you’ll have little trouble, as many businesses are trying to do more tax work in-house as opposed to contracting it out to their CPAs. I’d encourage you to stick it out until Senior Associate if you can, since this will give you ample opportunities outside the firm (and maybe a nice get-away). Good luck.

GCers – your thoughts?

Public Accounting Interns: What to Do if You’re Wary of Accepting Your Fulltime Offer

The morning subway commute to work in Manhattan this week was refreshingly quiet; maybe it’s because so many bankers are in Cashew Mode (Street talk for the fetal position); the Hamptons are crowded; the interns are GONE. I know, staff members…time to return to the days of fetching your own copy paper and finding other “mentoring” reasons to light up the corporate card. But this is not about you – rather, it is about the suckling interns that are now the proud holders of fulltime offers.

Interns – what a long, sometimes awkward road of courtship it’s been, amiright? For some of you, the relationship with one or more of the firms started in your junior year, whereas others of you were swooned early and often from the wee days of being a fi��������������������But regardless, with a fulltime offer in hand your search for a job has finally come to a definitive end. Or has it?

It would be silly to think that every intern across the board has a positive summer experience. After all, the old school way of doing things was that internships were cutthroat programs that were unofficial “try outs” for only the top flight of students. Only if the i-ship was successful for both parties would a firm extend an offer. But remember, these were “real” internships with more in-depth work being done than the average fleets of thousands that we have now. Back then if a student didn’t receive an internship, it was not nearly the Scarlet Letter it is in today’s system. But in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses sort of way, the modern day internship program is just one giant recruiting pipeline tool. You know it. I know it. Everyone (including the professors) know it.

What about that intern at ABC LLC that feels incredible pressure to accept the offer, oftentimes when recruiters remind them of how much the firms have invested in said student (University happy hours. Dinners. “Trainings” in Florida. I don’t need to keep going.). Is it worth risking not getting an offer from another firm during the Fall recruiting season? Afraid of being labeled as a “risky” candidate?

So, interns – what the hell are you supposed to do? Here are a few ideas.

Same firm, different role – This is the easier change to make. Maybe you interned in financial services tax, but you have a yearning to get involved with non-profit or corporate clients. Speak to your recruiter about the possibility of transferring your offer to a different group. This does not mean you can make the move from Assurance to Forensic advisory, however. Stay within the skill set your internship provided.

This kind of move will only be possible if the group you’d like to transfer to has vacant spaces. For example, if the corporate tax group has 10 fulltime needs for FY2012 and they extended five fulltime offers to interns, you have a decent shot of transferring groups. If there were nine offers made for the same ten spots, your chances are much slimmer. Why? Because your recruiter (and really, the practice leader) will want to keep some room in the budget in case the next big tax star is found on campus in the fall. If you are going to request a change, be absolutely sure it’s where you want to be. Don’t go shooting yourself in the foot 1-2 years down the road from now.

Request a deadline extension – Look at the deadline on your offer. Got it? Good. Now go look at your university’s fall career fair schedule. Same date? Pretty damn close to it? Mmmhmm.

The turn-around on fulltime offers is a short window for two reasons: 1) because of the “you should be dying to work for us” Kool-aid and 2) because the recruiting teams need to know how many people to hire from campus. This is a fair and understandable, but it can put potential hires in a sticky situation if they are unsure of where they’d like to be come graduation.

Put your feelers out to the other firms early – before getting back to campus – Tell them about the positive experience you had during your internship, but express your continued interest in pursuing a fulltime option with them. It’s okay to ask them if there is any chance to be considered in the fall; recruiters do not waste time, especially their own. If you receive positive feedback from other firms, request an extension for your offer. Send your recruiter an email asking to speak with them over the phone; remain positive throughout the conversation (about your internship experience, your relationship with them, etc.); kindly ask for an extension. Most importantly, have a date in mind. Ask the other firms what their timelines are for interviewing on campus and extending offers. They are not immune to the situation themselves, and they will understand the sensitive timing.

Important to keep in mind: the conversation rate (interns who receive, then accept fulltime offers) is a critical aspect in many firms’ performance rankings for the recruiting staff, so it is in the recruiters’ best interest to do what is in their ability to land every acceptance possible. It should also be noted that the relationship you have within the practice you interned with and your recruiter are influential wild cards in these situations. The stronger the relationship, the more flexibility you will be privy to.

Seasoned vets – what advice can you give to you future staff members? Dish your details below.

And Now…Ernst & Young Interns Employees Singing a Song About Making Partner, Acronyms in the Tune of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’

UPDATE: Don’t ask me why staff are singing a song about “Intern Dreams” but apparently that is the case, hence the change in the headline. Carry on.

After being away for awhile, many you probably thought that I get on here and bitch and moan how awful it is to be back to grind with you all. It’s been quite the opposite experience actually, as we’ve learned that Adrienne is more than capable of getting people’s attention that inevitably result in emails being sent directly to me while it was widely known that I could be doing any number of things at the time, including A) watching someone’s Vespa go up in flames in London B) eating space cakes C) speaking to French women with a bad American accent D) watching a shockingly violent fight at Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Parade.

But nevermind all that. Cooler heads typically prevail around here so it’s nothing that couldn’t be handled. Plus, it nice to know that I can leave for a couple of weeks and the site doesn’t miss a beat.

But what really makes my life easy is coming back to emails pointing me to the EYConnects Facebook page where you can find this video:


As any long time reader of GC knows, Ernst & Young runs away with from the rest of the Big 4 when it comes to producing videos that border on hilarity. No need to look further than the masterpiece of “In a JIT” to the video from the Las Vegas office featuring an Elvis impersonator.

While “EY Dream” doesn’t feature legendary lyrics like “On a jet like Turley” mocking acronyms and well-rehearsed choreography wins points in our book. Still would have been funny to hear some self-deprecating lyrics related to Lehman Brothers. Oh well, we’ll keep waiting.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on this latest effort below.

(VIDEO) The CBH Raleigh Interns Present: Insanity!

Ever see those annoying exercise infomercials in the middle of the night that promise ripped abs and a tight core, all while screaming at you to get your fat ass off the couch and get started for just 12 easy payments of $99.95?

Well a few Cherry, Bekaert & Holland interns in the Raleigh office decided to make a video that pimps out the greatest fitness plan of all-time – a summer audit internship – with that same high energy madness. We have to admit we didn’t have high hopes until we actually watched it and let’s just say these interns did not disappoint.

When we asked a CBH spokesperson if these amazing interns will be joining the team come fall, we were told “Full time offers? These are obviously all super-accountants, so I’d be afraid to see what they’d do to us if we didn’t. However, I hear HR is still looking at their before pictures.”

Amazing results!

(UPDATE) Fulltime Offer Watch ’11: Interns, Let’s Talk About Offers

A wise suggestion from the mailbag:

I had an idea for an interesting blog topic – most Big 4 interns will be finishing up within the next week or two. It would be interesting to see what the starting salaries and bonuses are turning out to be across the firms and across the different offices for new hires starting Fall 2012. I know you did a similar compensation blog a while back and it had several hundred comments with people sharing their respective numbers.


Thanks, astute future capital market servant! Jesus, is it really August already? We did do this last year around this time and you are correct that we got some great feedback from the kids. Except for the ones who got kicked off the team before the big trip to Disney, awww sucks for them.

Instructions this year are the same as last year, please be sure to include 1) your starting salary 2) your office 3) practice 4) signing bonus (if applicable) 5) Bonus for CPA (if applicable). Remember that anything you post will be seen by everyone you know including your colleagues, lover, dog and grandma so please, if you want to remain anonymous, post as such. Mommy won’t be around to moderate your discussion.

Because not everyone fits into the Big 4 cookie cutter, all interns looking forward to full-time offers are welcome to join the conversation, compare packages (erm) and brag about how much better their firm is than others. There’s no crying in baseball but this is public accounting, which means whining is also welcome.

Get on that, future leaders of the industry!

UPDATE:
The latest:

I believe PwC and DT offers come out this Friday. I’d really appreciate the input from other readers. It could affect my own FT offer.

(UPDATE) Can Anyone Make Sense of Ernst & Young’s Hiring Numbers?

I’ve been out of the numbers game for awhile now but for the life of me, I can’t figure out just how many people Ernst & Young will be hiring off campus for this year. Or is it last year? The firm put out a press release yesterday that states that it “will hire approximately 5,000 students from campuses across the US in the 2010-2011 academic year.” That’s all fine and good but it’s different from the report in CNN back in March that we told you about that said “It’s looking to hire 7,000 employees from college campuses — 4,500 full-time and 2,500 interns […] in 2011.”


That report also stated that “campus recruits are up 20%,” but yesterday’s press release said “campus hiring [increased] 25 percent from last year.”

All told, E&Y and the rest of the Big 4 are hiring lots of people but the numbers don’t quite add up. The nice folks at E&Y are trying to help me out, so I’ll report back when I’ve got some answers.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed by an E&Y spokesperson that “numbers referenced in the release are for the US, whereas the numbers cited in the Fortune article are for the Americas.” To clarify, the “Americas” includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Caribbean.

[via Ernst & Young]

Big 4 Summer Intern Open Thread

Let me just say first off that this will not be an exclusive thread to the Big 4, I simply have to appease my SEO fanatic co-workers. That means if you’re interning at Grant Thornton, BDO, McGladrey, Moss Adams, Rothstein Kass, it doesn’t matter, don’t be afraid to jump in with questions or comments or respond to any of the regular commenters out there (“GT Partner” is a treat).

Anyway, it’s not technically summer but DWB encouraged me to drop an open thread on you all so that A) interns can share their skyrocketing anxiety and B) the veterans can bestow some of their wisdom upon these coffee gophers so that they don’t get in the way too much. Since I saw my fair share of interns pass through my time inside the House of Klynveld, I’ll jump in first.

For starters new interns, you need dress nice. If you show up in baggy Dockers without a belt and a Nike golf shirt and scuffed-up shoes – I hate you already. And unless you can do back flips (as it relates to your work) and buy me coffee once a week, my mind is made up about you already. For the ladies, since the dress code is a little more subjective for you, all I ask is you not show up in your pajamas. That said, your female superiors will be eyeing your attire much closer and they will be judging the shit out of you. And if they’re really offended by your fashion forwardness, they aren’t above tattling on you. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen.

As for work – find it. Sometimes you may have to act busy by reading god-awful training manuals or diversity literature or something else that makes you want to bathe with a toaster but FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR MEDIOCRE BIG 4 CAREER, I suggest you don’t look bored. I don’t care if you have to grovel to the lowliest A1 on your team, if you’re not working (or at least appear to be working), someone will notice and that doesn’t bode well for your chances at fulltime offer.

Finally, make some friends. Can you carry on a conversation that doesn’t revolve around your Beta Alpha Psi chapter or the bitch of an Intermediate mid-term you had? Excellent, you’ll be fine. Someone will like you. If you like talking about those things, I strongly suggest you find a hobby fast. The Mets are driving you crazy? Great, talk about that. You just saw the Arctic Monkeys in concert? Wonderful, music is rad. Outdoorsy type? Talk about some camping trips. You’re into Brazilian Jujitsu? Okay but don’t show off your injuries. That’s just gross.

Bottom line: be yourself. Unless yourself sucks. In which case, email the career advice brain trust and we’ll turn this around. Now if you’ll excuse me, some of us don’t have interns and I have to fetch my own coffee.

Will One Bad Performance Review Doom a PwC Intern’s Chances at a Fulltime Offer?

Editor’s Note: Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

I need some advice. I am doing an internship and all my performance evaluations have been good except one. I got one that said did not meet expectations. All the others were met or exceeded expectations. will the on bad pff prevent me from getting a job offer?

PwC Intern

Dear PwC intern,

Forget about your work ethic; your grammar and spelling should be enough for HR to deny you an offer.

Quick side note: I’m sure Caleb has touched on this before (if he hasn’t, he should), but emails are a representation of your professional image. Spelling/grammar mistakes are excusable when it’s an email to a fellow intern about the evening’s happy hour, but not when you are trying to represent yourself to the client, a partner, a manager, or in this case the GC community. My first piece of advice – proofread your $#!%.

Now, back to your original question. Considering the job market and how strapped for staff the firms will be in the next few years, you should be fine. Modern day internship programs at the Big 4 are a testing ground for both the firms and you, the student. Were you able to fumble through workpapers, create some binders, and generally not piss anyone off? Seems like you did, for the most part. For whatever reason (and considering that you didn’t provide one, I’ll assume the poor ranking was justified) you received a less than satisfactory review on one engagement. The positive reviews will counter this. Also, if you have a positive relationship with your recruiter, he/she will fight for you to receive an offer (after all, HR has their own goals to fulfill).

However, if you rubbed an important partner, manager, or recruiter the wrong way at any time, consider your goose cooked. All it takes is a short “I don’t want this person receiving an offer” email from a person of authority to erase your chances of receiving an offer.
Good luck. Cross your fingers and dot your i’s that you can rise above the poor review.

How Does an Overachiever Stand Out From Other Overachievers During Big 4 Recruiting Season?

Ed. note: Got a question for Dan Braddock or anyone else on the GC advice team? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll get to your query in due time.

Dear Going Concern,

I am currently a sophomore in college and am interested in a Big 4 internship (Chicago) for the summer of 2012. This means that I will be
involved in the heavy recruiting season this coming fall. I have a 4.0 GPA, am on my way to becoming Executive VP of Beta Alpha Psi, am a member of the Accounting Club, and have done some volunteer work. Any tips on how to stand out from the sea of other students just like me? Should I do anything else before recruiting season besides networking? Any advice would be appreciatedver

Big 4 Lover,

Glad to see that GC has some young people in the audience. Take what you read here with a grain of salt and shot of tequila – adulthood makes people cranky, not just public accounting.

Be cognizant of the fact that there are two versions of you that every recruiter sees: the version of you on paper and the version of you in real life. Either version can make or break your candidacy. Let’s break it down:

You on paper: At first read, the “résumé” you describe seems just fine – you’re maintaining strong grades while being involved in extracurricular activities outside of the classroom, even holding a leadership position. I wonder if your “volunteer experience” was only due to the Beta Alpha Psi volunteer requirement or if you do it on your own; either way, this is minor and I’m nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking. Any Big 4 recruiter will have your résumé sitting in their “yes” pile going into the fall recruiting season.

However, your résumé is strong on the “I am just trying to land an internship at a Big 4 firm.” What are your interests outside the realm of debits and credits? Unless you are a living, breathing calculator, I’d like to think that you have hobbies other than what is described above (this is assuming you did not leave any experiences out when describing your background above). I encourage you to diversify your experiences in college – not just for the sake of your résumé but for the sanity as well. VP of the Wiffle Ball Club? Great. Part of the campus sewing circle? Fantastic. Genuine, non-accounting extracurriculars will not only enrich your life but they’ll be great conversation starters when you begin meeting with recruiters and Big 4 professionals on campus.

You in real life: As you mentioned, you’ll be in the thick of the recruiting process this fall. Being that you’re only a sophomore (and probably on the 5 year track due to Illinois requiring 150 credits for the CPA), you’ll be interviewing for the “leadership” programs at the Big 4. These lead to internships which lead to job offers which lead to high-fives and back slaps for everyone. Here’s what you need to do when you meet the firms:

Do not regurgitate your resume – let your strong résumé speak for itself. No one likes a bragger, not even your mother.

Do not be too transparent – 99.99997% of Beta Alpha Psi members join the society because it looks good on a résumé. DO NOT TELL THE RECRUITER THAT. Unless you want to come across as an internship-chasing fool, then by all means go ahead and say so.

Do not suck up – There is a subtle difference between saying, “I’m only a sophomore, but I have heard positive things about your firm from my professors and older classmates and I’m hoping to learn more,” and “OMFG your company is so cool!!!”

Be yourself – you are more than accounting. The best people you’ll ever work with in the industry will also be much, much more than debits and credits.

Does Interning Count as Experience Towards a CPA?

Today’s CPA exam question has little to do with the actual CPA exam and more to do with your career thereafter, or before if you’re already working in indentured servitude public before taking the exam.

From the mailbag:

Hi Adrienne,

I’ve been trying to look this up, but I keep ending up with vague responses. Can you get your “accounting hours” or whatever work related experience needed for a CPA license (1-2 yrs) before you pass the exam? Do summer internships count (say you interned on an audit)? Which states make you get audit work experience as opposed to states that just ask for accounting experience?

Thanks.
A bit confused.

For future reference, you guys can really help me out here by letting me know what state you are in (or applying for licensure in) as all states are different. Generally speaking “experience” is defined as work performed under the supervision of a licensed CPA in that jurisdiction. Even if you are unsure of which state you will be applying to, a general idea is helpful for my purposes.

You should be able to get your experience before, during or after taking the CPA exam. In some states, you have a limited amount of time to actually complete the requirements once you have passed, in others you will have to take some CPE to “refresh” passing scores after quite some time has passed (5 years).

States like Oregon, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky will accept general experience in lieu of direct accounting work, meaning you can work in corporate finance and still get your experience requirements met.

States like Colorado and Oregon will accept work performed under the supervision of a Chartered Accountant as well. Colorado will also waive the work experience requirement completely if you meet certain additional educational experience requirements (150 units), check with the Board for exact details on this. Illinois and Massachusetts may also allow you a license without actual work experience. In Mass, you can receive a non-reporting license if you do not meet the 1 year of overall experience and 1000 hours of attest experience, meaning you can do everything but issue reports on financial statements.

States like Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Montana, and Nebraska will give you a CPA certificate instead of an actual CPA license if you have passed the exam, meaning you can put it on your résumé but will not actually be able to practice as a licensed CPA in that state until you meet the additional work experience requirements.

Currently, California does not require audit hours and you can always add them later if you decide you want to perform audits in the state.

Your best bet is to cough up $10 to access NASBA’s Accountancy Licensing Library to search through the different requirements based on which you might meet. You don’t have to know where to look, just plug in what you have (or expect you will have by the time you are ready to apply for licensure) and figure out which state would work best.

Hope that helps!

How Should a Ex-Big 4 Intern Explain That He Snubbed a Full Time Offer?

Welcome to the Animal-Kingdom-to-Win-in-the-Preakness-edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a former Big 4 intern who turned down a full time offer wants to know how best to explain this snub to his new prospective employers without dragging his old firm through the mud.

Need help with a busy season break-up? Dealing with some crazies at your job? Do you feel ignored for your effohref=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected] and we’ll help you get some attention (or, at the very least, create a diversion).

Back to the Big 4 snub:

Hello,

I interned at a Big 4 tax recently and got a full time offer. My internship experience consisted of little work aside from fighting boredom and trying to find work. I was very disappointed with my experience, and to an extent, felt cheated. I was not expecting much as an intern, but I was expecting to learn at least a few things. Long story short, against the advice of people who say they have my best interest in mind, I turned down the offer.

I have a bad habit of not using my rear view mirrors when I drive, so I am not seeking advice as to whether I should beg for my offer back. My question relates to how I should approach recruiting in the future. Rule #1 is not to speak poorly of a past employer. Not sure how to get around that. Advice? Also, would saying that I was not happy with my internship hurt future opportunities due to the fact that it seems that few people full time seem to be happy (proven flight risk)? Should I leave this experience off my resume? My mother always told me honesty is the best answer, but then again she has been telling me I am special for the last 22 years of my life. Depends how one defines special perhaps.

Anyhoo, I am confident that I will land interviews in the coming season and I have connections with many firms who had extended me internship offers. I am just unsure how to go about explaining this little snag in a beneficial and professional way.

Thanks for any help.

Dear Momma’s Boy,

This is the first instance that I can recall hearing about an intern turning down a full time offer without another one in place. Your confidence in your decision is impressive but we can’t help but think that you had a slightly itchy trigger finger. But as you said, we’re not looking back. Onward!

You are correct that you should not speak poorly of your previous employer. Slamming your former firm for asking you to spend all day at the copy machine will make you sound petty, unprofessional and any prospects will immediately wonder how you’re talking trash about them once you’re out of their presence. Rather than get all mysterio about the experience, you should listen to your mother and be honest about it. But don’t focus entirely on the negative aspects of the internship; there has to be something you took away from it. Once you’ve described something positive (no matter how petty), you can explain why you turned the internship down. Just be careful to not make the situation personal. “It wasn’t a good fit” or “It wasn’t what I expected” is a far better than saying, “I was bored” or “I was smarter than everyone else” OR “I should be running that firm.” Keep it constructive and thought-provoking in when discussing it. Also, I would not leave the experience off your résumé simply because that misrepresents you. Best to go with honesty all the way.

So just keep your ego in check; did you turn a prestigious firm? Yes. Why? It was a decision made based a variety of factors and it wasn’t an easy one to make (even though it might have been). You’ll come off as contemplative and your integrity will be intact. Those aren’t bad qualities to have.

Tax Intern Wants the Lowdown on Opportunities After a Stint in Big 4

Welcome to everyone-whip-out-those-birth-certificates edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a Big 4 tax intern is thinking about life after public accounting, just in case, you know, he hates it. Are there real options out there or will it be a choice between being a Big 4 partner and opening a H&R Block in a strip mall?

Looking for career advice from a complete stranger who may mock you in the process? Is a co-worker questioning your intelligence? Thinking about taking your talents to an archrival? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you with your Benedict Arnold impression.

Back in tax:

I’ve accepted an offer for an internship in tax this summer with a Big 4 firm, because I’ve always preferred tax to audit as far as a career within the firm. However, I am starting to have concerns over my potential career outside the firm should I decide that I hate public accounting. Unless I were to make partner, it is likely that I will have to look elsewhere to continue my career.

What are the career options outside the firm for someone working in tax at the manager/senior manager level? What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate? Should I try to get into a specialty tax group? Would my career in tax give me the skills to open my own CPA firm down the road?

I apologize if these questions have been answered, I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to get answers to some of these questions. Feel free to direct me to the answer if this is the case.

Dear Tax Intern who seems to be getting ahead of themselves,

You’re having career concerns and you haven’t even been shown your cubicle? That makes me think that you might also be stressing over the Mayan calendar but since you mention making partner, I suspect you’re not that crazy (or this crazy).

Anyhoo, I’ve got good news – there are plenty of opportunities for you both inside and outside your Big 4 firm. Hopefully you’ll get exposure to various groups within your tax practice during your internship and that will get you thinking about what aspects of tax you enjoy best. If you like compliance – wow, are you in for a treat. You’ll probably start out there but at some point you may be able to jump into state and local (aka SALT), an international tax group or M&A. There are lots of options, which is why tax is such a great career path. Personally, I feel a speciality group can be great experience but you may limit yourself for opportunities outside the firm. That said, there is something to be said for being considered an “expert.”

As far as opportunities after your career in Big 4, you’ll be able to take any expertise you’ve obtained to clients in their own tax department. Remember GE’s department is the best tax law firm known to man and other corporations strive for similar tax savvy; you could fit in nicely. Similarly, if you’re confident you can go out on your own and start a tax boutique firm, you might be able to provide specialized services for a fraction of the cost of other firms. You’ll probably need a couple of colleagues to take the risk with you and some capital wouldn’t hurt but it could pay off in spades in the long-term.

Any tax mavens with some years behind them are invited to share their experiences. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to mocking birthers.

Ernst & Young Advisory Intern Wants to Get an Idea of What the Overtime Gravy Train Will Be Like

From the mailbag:

I will be a full time Advisory intern at Ernst and Young in Manhattan this coming summer. The duration of the internship is 7 weeks starting mid June. We just received a raise in our salary which has me thinking about compensation.

As you know, interns receive overtime which can contribute significant weight to overall pay. After researching the internet and the GC archives, I have not been able to find a clear answer regarding what I can expect for overtime hours. I know this varies by firm, workload, work groups etc but can you estimate an average of overtime hours per week? If any?

Right you are, grasshopper – it will depend on various factors you mentioned as well the clients you are assigned to, and what kind of expectations your superiors have (maybe that’s what you mean by work groups?). ANYWAY. In all likelihood, you’ll see some overtime hours which will probably result in some nice paychecks this summer but don’t be surprised if managers are staying on top of the hours you’re working. The Big 4 and other accounting firms aren’t quite as loose with the wallet as they used to be so I’d guess your hours will top out somewhere in the 50s on a weekly basis. That puts you in the range of 10 to 15 hours of OT a week (20+ only for those who work for lunatics). If your senior isn’t a headcase then you can expect 40-50 hours a week.

If you fancy yourself a intern hour handicapper, throw some numbers out there. And, interns, when things get rolling, get back to us with your numbers.

PwC Interns to Enjoy the Magic of Disney This Summer

Twenty-four hundred lucky boys and girls will descend on Orlando, Florida to traipse around Disney World in “living classrooms” which sounds a little strange if they’re going to somehow incorporate assurance, advisory and tax services. No one wants to see Minnie Mouse in pantsuit, do they?

“This is a high energy, unforgettable experience that helps prepare interns for their full-time career,” said Paula Loop, US and Global Talent Leader, PwC. “We emphasize the importance of individual contributions to the entire team and how the skills taught at each phase help them advance through the challenges.” Presumably, part of this experience will include persuasion skills that will convince the interns’ best and brightest friends (mostly those interested in tax) who are currently planning to intern with KPMG to defect to PwC at a moment’s notice. [PwC]

Future Ernst & Young Intern Wants to Know How to Land on a Prestigious Engagement

Welcome to the slightly-less-mad-Friday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future E&Y intern only wants to work on the sexiest tech clients that the House of Turley has to offer. How can one ensure that he/she lands only on the clients worth bragging to their peers? Let’s find out!

Caught in a busy season love-triangle (audit-cleaning crew-admin)? Not sure if your auditor is being honest with you? Upset over a rival’s shady moves? Email us at [email protected]Dear Going Concern,

I am a future 2011 Assurance Intern for EY. Do you suggest emailing my contacts in the firm regarding preferences as to industry and clients? They know from my interviews that I prefer tech clients, but is it wise to go into greater detail? I don’t want to seem entitled, but I also don’t want to get stuck on some crappy client because everyone else voiced their preferences and got spots at Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. Suggestions on how to voice such opinions would be welcome also.

– Future Staff 1


Dear FS1,

I like it when someone knows exactly what they want but I feel that you need some perspective. Let me start by answering your question directly. I don’t see anything wrong with voicing your interests in the clients you mentioned to your contacts at E&Y, especially if those contacts work on those engagements. If none of the people that you met during the recruiting process serve those clients, attempt to get in touch with someone via the contacts you did make. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” or “the hooker won’t land the john in the Mercedes across the street if they don’t yell at him” certainly applies here.

Now for that perspective I mentioned – Apple, Google, Facebook are all sexy names and are obviously prestigious clients but let me be clear, these engagements’ allure is extremely deceiving. When I was a resident in the House of Klynveld, I worked on one of the most prestigious private equity clients the firm had. I landed a spot on this team because this is exactly what I wanted at the time, I spoke up and with some luck, I got what I asked for. It was great experience and I worked with a lot of talented people but the majority of the time, I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant experience. The hours were long, there were lots of political games and it was a GIANT rumor mill. Now if you think you can thrive in such an environment, then I say go for it but in my experience it wears on most people. I would expect the teams you mentioned would be a similar experience.

However, as an intern, I’d expect that you’ll be mostly on the fringes of most of the negative aspects of working on such a team because the firm wants you to think it’s a great place to work and managers and partners on those clients want you to think it’s a great engagement. And because you want a full-time job someday, you’re going to do your best to impress the wrinkled pants off these people. If you accomplish that feat, they will want you back on their team. The problem is that once you’re on that team, it may be very difficult to get off that team when you discover that it is Hell on Earth. Now maybe you’ll get mentored by one of those I’m-working-my-ass-off-for-very-little-gratitude-because-I-want-to-get-ahead-in-this-firm types and you’ll really like it. But if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then learn as much about the team while you are an intern to determine if you want to work on it or a similar client in the future. Talk to the A2s and SA1s (sorry A1s, you’re still clueless) to get their perspective but make sure it’s the people that will level with you about what life is really like on that engagement. HINT: If you get a rah-rah speech about the “experience on such a great client” you’re not getting an honest take.

So make your client desires known to get a taste of the life on a sexy client but once you land there, be sure to take a look around to see what life (or a pathetic version of it) will be really like if you’re still there in the future. Good luck.

Is Turning Down a Big 4 Internship a Mistake?

Welcome to the Cairo-is-burning edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a midtier intern-to-be is having second thoughts about their decision to turn down an offer from a Big 4 firm. Was the move a mistake? Can they go back, begging, crawling on hands and knees for a second chance?

Need solid, yet snarky career advice? Concerned that your advances on a co-worker might be rejected with footwear? Suddenly in need of a talent agent? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you find your very own Ari Gold.

Meanwhile, back on campus:

I accepted an audit internship offer awhile back with a midtier firm for next winter. In doing so, I turned down an offer from one of the Big 4 for the same period. Now, I’m wondering if I’ve really given enough thought to the Big 4 route.

I am aware that my life will be non-existent outside of work no matter where I go, but the exit ops with the Big 4 seem worth it. I’m wondering if it would be advisable to contact the recruiter I previously worked with and see if I could interview again, this time for a summer internship. Would this make me seem too indecisive, or should I at least try for it? If not, could I still ask him to keep me in mind for full time positions?

Sincerely,

Confused and soon to be abused

Dear Confused and soon to be Abused,

You didn’t really give me a lot to go on (we do however, appreciate the brevity) but we’ll make something out of this.

In general, I think your first instinct is always best and it sounds like you might be second-guessing your decision. You chose the firm you chose for a reason, didn’t you? You probably had reasons for not choosing the Big 4 firm, right? Did the “exit ops” occur to you only after the decision had been made and all your previous considerations were deemed inconsequential? I’m doubtful.

As for contacting the Big 4 recruiter, I don’t see any problem but take the angle that the decision you made was extremely difficult, you want to have various experiences to make the best choice for your long-term career and you’d be interested to know if summer internships will be offered. If you play the “I made a mistake, please, please, please give me a second chance” angle, you’ll come off desperate and wishy-washy. As for the full-time possibility, most of those positions will be offered to their interns, so it will be tough to sneak in once you’re ready to go full-time and you haven’t interned with that firm.

Keep in mind – just because you’re interning with a particular firm, that doesn’t mean you’ll be with the firm your entire public accounting career. Many people bounce around to various firms for one reason or another and your experience will be valuable no matter where you work. So, feel free inquire about the Big 4 firm’s summer internship but don’t give up on your mid-tier possibility. Good luck.

Intern Concerned About the Quasi-Exodus at His Firm

Welcome to the first (maybe second, depending on your CPA overlord) busy season hump day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an intern 2.0 is concerned that everyone he knew from year one has disappeared. Has the exodus reached Old Testament levels? Were they abducted by aliens? Or can we chalk this up to a serial killer of CPAs?

Need survival tips for your first busy season? Are you an auditor getting a flood of requests for tax advice? Are you a tax pro suffering from nightmares of killer tax forms chasing you around a maze of cubicles? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll provide some snappy comebacks or a good therapist.

Back to intern 2.0:

Hi Caleb,

I started my 2nd internship recently, with a national firm, and I quickly noticed that everyone I worked with last year has left the firm.

By everyone, I mean all 5 of my seniors and another staff member. Is this common? At this rate I shouldn’t even bother learning people’s names, as I’ll work with them once and never see them again.

Thanks,
Concerned intern

Dear Concerned Intern,

Truth be told, this mass disappearance of your superiors can only mean one thing – they found out you were coming back for your second tour and concluded that they would rather take their chances with the job market than spend another waking minute with your amateur ass.

Okay that’s probably not true at all but depending on the size of your office, six people could be a lot or a little. Offices like New York, Chicago, L.A., San Fran, Silicon Valley can lose six people in one day and no one bats a green eyeshade. If you’re in Kansas City or Memphis, six people could be the staff from an entire line of business and that can cause some managers and partners to have a nervous breakdown. So generally, there should be a inverse correlation between your concern about colleagues disappearing and the size of your office. But to put into an even broader context, you shouldn’t worry about people leaving PERIOD. Why, you ask? Cries of “It’s going to mean more work for me!” or “Busy season will suck even worse!” are common but people need to realize – this is the nature of the beast. People get burned out or laid off OR find a great job in-house somewhere OR suffer death by bindering (akin to stoning).

In other words, this is the business, kid. People leave. You’ll meet them, you’ll work with them, you may hate or love them but eventually most people jet. It’s just a matter of when and how.

Aspiring Big 4 Intern Needs Questions to Impress Pants Off Interviewers

We’ll kick things off a little early today as a young inquisitor has to prep for a big interview today.

Have a question about your career? Wondering if you should go back to your old firm after they dropped you like a sack of spuds? Concerned that the hours you’re working may cause you to blackmail your lover? Stop! Email us at [email protected] before you do anything so we can put your problem before the masses prior to you doing something stupid.

Back to our interviewing intern:

What would you say could be a stomping question for these Big 4 kids? Got the internship interview Monday! I think I need/want one of those.


We had no idea what “stomping” meant, so we asked for a clarification:

I’m looking for a thought provoking question regarding the industry or the big 4 in particular. I would like an astute question to ask.

Okay, then. You want to smart, up-to-speed on the world around you, without coming off insincere or patronizing. We can help.

Despite your curiosity, you must avoid questions about money, hours you’ll be working, drug tests, hooking up with superiors and so on and so forth at all costs. We realize the temptation to inquire about the frequency of happy hours and what the hottie ratio is but please refrain from broaching these subjects.

Now, then. It’s extremely important that you ask questions that are specific to the firm with whom you’re interviewing. There are tons of thought-provoking questions out there but if you really want to grab someone by their pin-striped ass and get them to look impressed, it will help for you to devise a question that is specific to that firm, as well as the local business environment of the office’s city that you’ll be living in.

This could require some research on your part. For example, find out if there are some local charities that the firm partners with regularly and inquire about what activities employees participate in (this is where the sincerity helps) and if there are any events scheduled during your internship. This will demonstrate your desire to participate in extra-curricular activities and your interest in giving back to the community.

Another example is to be familiar with some of the major players in the business environment in your city. If you brush up on the local business news and ask a relevant question to a recent event, your interviewers will recognize that you’re cognizant of the business environment and that you’re interested to see what the angle is from the firm’s perspective.

And posing the question to the appropriate person is important. Asking the second-year associate that’s greeting you at the interview about the potential in the venture capital space probably isn’t be as effective as asking a manager or partner the same question. Also, be careful with wonky technical questions. Sure, it may help you look smart but it could also backfire if the question comes off manufactured and awkward.

Bottom line – your questions need to be sincere and detailed. It will show your interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in their firm (and not thinking about the next firm you’re meeting) and also that you took the time to prepare. Oh, and smile for crissakes. It will make your question sound far more pleasant.

Accounting News Roundup: Doubt Over Taxes Reaching Fever Pitch; E&Y to Hire 6k Off Campus in FY11; Honest Answers on Tax Policy in an Election Year | 09.24.10

‘Consumers Are Paralyzed’ Over Tax Doubt [WSJ]
“Congress halted plans to pass a major tax bill before the November elections, leaving taxpayers and financial advisers unsure of how to plan for the future.

One of three scenarios face Congress when it returns from the election recess: It will extend all of the Bush tax cuts of 2001, which expire this year; it will hammer out a new law, perhaps using some of President Barack Obama’s budget proposals; or lawmakers will let the cuts expire, which would mean higher rates for all taxpayers.

Meantime, ‘consumers are paralyzed,’ said Dean Barber, a planner who heads the Barber Financial Group near Kansas City. ‘They have money to spend but they aren’t going to until they know where the tax burden will lie next year.’

The problem extends to business as well. ‘There are 29 million private businesses in this country, and they interact with our members,’ said Barry Melancon, head of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. ‘Universally we are hearing that businesses are paralyzed by lack of capital and uncertainty over taxes.’ ”

SEC Hiring for Multiple Offices [FINS]
“The SEC is hiring qualified talent for both its Division of Enforcement and its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). The agency is looking for candidates with experience in risk management, operations and accounting and other specialties.

In testimony given yesterday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Robert Khuzami, director of the Division of Enforcement and Carlo di Florio, director of OCIE, spoke to their respective units’ hiring needs.”

Ernst & Young Previews New Campus Recruitment and Social Media Strategies [PR Newswire]
E&Y is hiring 6,000 campus recruits – both interns and new associates – this fiscal year. That’s an increase over last year’s numbers (although the press release doesn’t say by how much). The firm also states that 60% of its workforce will be Gen Y by the end of 2011.


Tax Policy in an Election Year [Tax Updated Blog]
Joe Kristan answers questions that politicians won’t.

Comtech Telecommunications Does the Right Thing by Fixing Errors in Latest Report [White Collar Fraud]
Sam is sending an autographed “WANTED” poster of his cousin “Crazy” Eddie as an “attaboy” for Comtech CEO Fred Kornberg for “[taking] the high road and corrected its errors without attacking a critic.” That “critic” being Sam, who reported on Comtech’s erroneous EBITDA calculation last July.

Whether this type of nostalgic temptation works for the other company execs that are on Sam’s radar remains to be seen.

Pastors to challenge IRS by endorsing candidates [AP]
One hundred men and women of the cloth will be endorsing political candidates from their pulpits this Sunday. If the IRS is doing its job, agents should be kicking down doors at many of God’s homes on Monday.

Ernst & Young Striving for Fewer “Cookie Cutter” Engagement Teams

E&Y’s annual intern conference invaded Orlando yesterday and the ‘Berg had Director of Campus Recruiting, Dan Black on to discuss Gen Y and why they are pre-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay important to the future of the firm.


Despite their technology savviness, it appears that Gen Y is still relying on rock-paper-scissors as a key decision-making tool. Apparently, darts and jigsaw puzzles are important too.

Oh, and the time you put in as a line cook at Applebees’s in college really doesn’t translate into anything useful so don’t be too concerned about that.

Fulltime Offer Watch ’10: Big 4 Class of 2011

Now that it’s officially August, that means a few things:

1) Everyone around starts bitching how summer is almost over

2) The tax compliance folks take a field trip to the nearest Radio Shack to stock up on their batteries for the two and a half month stretch and

3) This year’s interns starting getting their offers for fulltime employment.


This of course means that your coffee jockeys and Xerox operators will start stressing over everything that they’ve ever done this summer and whether it’s good enough to be blessed with the honor and privilege to attain fulltime Big 4 employment.

So if you veterans out there have been doing your job, you’ve shaped some fine, young, booze-drenched minds into someone that is going to your new associate next fall. If you feel like giving them some credit below. And interns, if you’ve gotten some good news (official or otherwise) jump for joy below and share your experiences – the good, the bad, the truly mortifying (extra bonus points here).

UPDATE: Straight out of the rumor mill, we’ve heard that some E&Y interns have already found out that they won’t be partying with Mickey & the Gang:

There was a round of interns who were let go on Friday. They were told to come in to the office and terminated, offers not given. Saves the expense of sending them down to Disney (the interns that remain leave this Wednesday). There were at least 3 let go in NY.

Four Ways Accountants Can Battle the Slow Summer Days

Good afternoon and Happy Thursday, people. For the sake of your sanity I decided not to write about LeBron James and his impending decision*. Today I wanted to focus on something that is plaguing all of us right now – the summer months.

What the devil are you talking about, Daniel?

You heard me, my accounting cohorts. The summer months are traditionally a down time for most public accounting professionals due to the accounting cycle combined with the influx of extra hands on deck (i.e. peppy interns). The lack of significant workloads during July and August can be enough to drive even the most motivated accountant to the breaking point of boredom.

Here are a few tips to get you through the days ahead once you reach the max weekly usage on Pandora:


Five before 5 – Things never feels slower than when there seems to be nothing to accomplish through the course of the day. Avoid the “I did nothing for 8 hours” by setting out a list of five things to accomplish during the day, trivial or not. List items can include everything from contacting your scheduler or manager about the fall client schedule or rolling forward workpapers in preparation for the 2010 year end. Creating the list the night before will also help set the tone for your morning routine.

Volunteer – The effects that volunteering has on one’s mind and well being are well documented. In short – it’s good for you. Check in with your local HR rep or watch out for the monthly emails about volunteer opportunities. Want to look outside of your firm? Volunteermatch.org is a wonderful resource.

Mentor an intern – See that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed intern in the cubicle passing time by reading through 10K’s on the SEC website? Do their internship experience a favor and walk them through one of your clients’ workpapers. Carving out time in your day to explain the steps and processes documented in your work will help them better understand what they can expect in the future. Anything you can do to expand their exposure beyond cas rec’s is an accomplishment; and trust me, they’ll remember and appreciate the fact that you took the time to explain the process.

Get out of the office – If nothing else cash in a chunk of your vacation days and take a week off. Even if you don’t travel, use the time to catch up your personal life. Read a book, sleep for 16 hours, I don’t care. Just get away from the office and turn off your Monday-Friday mindset.

*That said, I hope he comes to New York

If You Were Expecting a Nice Breezy Internship with Plante & Moran, You’re Going to Be Disappointed

This is serious P&M interns. You probably thought this little summer jaunt at P&M would be just an easy way to get some overtime hours and blow all your money on booze. Well. Actually, it might be you’ll also be expected to walk in on Monday and pull your weight.

Coffee jockeys? No. Xerox duty? Of course but it will be only the important documents. But scavenger hunts? Forget it. The only scavenger hunt you’ll be going is for material misstatements.

Annually, more than 100 students experience a three to four month paid internship. The latest round of students will begin their internships on June 14 in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois firm offices. On the agenda? An Intern Summit, which is a two-day, off-site meeting focused mainly on team-building and community service projects. At the end, interns give a formal presentation on their reflections and lessons learned from the experience.
[…]
“As an assurance intern, I was given the opportunity to go into the field and perform real audit work, not just sit behind a desk or get people their coffee,” said Staci Tobe, a former Plante & Moran intern and Michigan University student. “I also appreciated the firm’s open door policy. I never expected to be able to walk into a partner’s office and seek advice, but Plante & Moran encouraged it.”

Presentations on team building! Real audit work! Getting a partner’s advice! Oh, and no short sleeves because you’ll be expected to roll them up and bare arms aren’t acceptable.

Let’s Welcome the KPMG Interns with…

…kind words from John Veihmeyer? Obviously! Bagels with schmear? This isn’t 2007. Happy hours where the booze flows like wine? TBD.


The Klynveld interns started this week (an official Tweet from the KPMG Go says there’s over 1,000 coffee go-fers this summer) and we hear they’re starting out with some stimulating training for a couple of days before they head to national training which we hear will be at a HoJo in Fargo, ND. Cutbacks, you know.

We know some of you KPMG vets will be asked to mentor these blades of grass and we’re a little curious about what the guidance has been re: coffee, lunches, booze etc. since TPTB are still squeeze all the hairs out Lincoln’s beard but still want you to convince the hot and/or smart interns that KPMG is the place they want to be.

Anyhoo, we’ll try and bestow some wisdom on this year’s crop with some key thing to remember:

1. Get things started off right and start kissing the new managers’ asses.

2. Business casual does not consist of sweat pants.

3. If we send you on a scavenger hunt, try not to make it obvious.

4. Showing up with booze on your breath isn’t allowed until you’re well into your first year as full time employee.

5. We’re out of ideas… help them out.

PwC Interns Have Invaded Grand Central Station

If they ask, try to resist giving them bogus directions.

Public Accounting Casting Call – Summer Intern Edition!

Summer interns are en route to an office near you; either already on board or on their way this week, sporting their early summer tans. Just in time for the work load to shrivel up to next to nothing and summer hours to be instituted – gotta love the timing! But nonetheless summer intern season is a wonderful time of year, and I want to make sure GC helps celebrate the summer.

Today’s post is a cry for help on two different levels (has my job really come to the point of groveling?). Here’s the scoop:


Summer Interns

What’s the concept?: The main drive behind this blog is to provide insider information on the public accounting industry to those who work in the trenches every day. What better way to do that than by listening to you, the summer intern? Your senior manager might ignore you all summer, but we won’t.

What we’re looking for: Summer interns at public accounting firms (Big 4, mid-size, anyone is welcome) to contribute short, bi-weekly write-ups about your summer experiences. We’re not looking for firm bashing information or juicy details about co-ed hookups but hey, if you have dirt, we’re always here to listen. Write-ups should touch on your experiences, both firm related on your respective engagement teams.

How to get involved: Email me here and include the following information:
Name:
Firm and Location:
Dates of internship:
Best email to contact you on:
*See my note below about confidentiality

Advice for Summer Interns

What’s the concept?: I’m in the process of putting together a “guide” for summer interns. What do they need to know before starting at your firm? What industries should they avoid or gravitate towards? How should they handle being snagged into a drunken conversation with a partner about his three kids and pending soccer tournament? Most of you here have not only worked with/ hated on interns before, but you were one at one point in your career as well.

What we’re looking for: Share your advice or your stories of interns past. The dirt. Everything. From serious career advice to informal tongue-in-cheek statements, nothing is off limits.

How to get involved: Email me feedback and include your firm’s name and office location. Feel free to leave stories below in the comments.

*Please note: As a member of the public accounting industry myself I understand the importance of confidentiality when it comes to something like this project, and I understand the concern that I might release names either publicly or to the respective firms. Simply put, I will never do such a thing. The success of this website rises and falls with the trust of our readers. No one would ever take action to hurt our relationship with you, the readers. Please have faith in us as I ask for your participation. Any feedback or comments are assumed to be private.

That said, I look forward to your feedback. Cheers and Happy Moanday.

Former Deloitte Intern Not So Good at Gambling on Corporate Card, Lying About It

In blatant-misuse-of-the-corporate-credit-card news, a former Deloitte “trainee/student” (let’s assume an intern, shall we?) has admitted to racking up over £8,800 in gambling debt on his Deloitte issued credit card.


Umar Qureshi, using his Deloitte laptop no less, managed to lose the money in just a couple of months, October and November of 2008. At that point, Qureshi, rather than admit to being a horrendous gambler, lied about the charges, telling Deloitte that they were fraudulent. Depending on when this particular lie took place, he only managed to keep a straight face, at the most, for two months, as Deloitte terminated his contract in January of ’09.

Which is understandable. Gambling can be nerve-racking on its own but losing your ass on the Corporate Card has got to be a real pant-crapper. This makes for the second Big 4 degenerate loser to make headlines this year in the UK. Back in February, a ex-KPMGer really was rolling, slamming over £25,000 on his expense report.

Accountancy Age reports that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (“ICAEW”), “ordered that the defendant cease to be a provisional member and be ineligible for re-registration for six months, and that he be severely reprimanded.” As we mentioned in the KPMG case, we’re not sure what a “reprimand” entails but a weeklong diversity training with Barry Salzberg could be a possibility.

Luckily, for Qureshi a relative was kind enough to pay the debt owed to Deloitte, who must have really wanted the money back. It’s just principle.

Former Deloitte student admits £8k bill from online gambling [Accountancy Age]

Busy Season Interns: Don’t Waste Their Time

Continuing with the busy season theme, let’s touch on everyone’s favorite coffee jockeys, the interns. This isn’t prime season for interns at accounting firms but we know there are a few lucky (?) teams out there that have an extra set of hands on deck.

Getting serious for two, this time of year, everyone is under pressure to get things done and if you happen to have an intern on your team, they either make your job infinitely easier or they are the bane of your existence. If you fall into the latter category, why is this the case?

It’s pretty easy for you to conclude that the blade of grass tapping you on the shoulder every ten minutes is the person at fault but a lot of times, interns get thrown into bad situations where they end up working for seniors or managers that are so swamped (or helpless) that they can only think about their own workload while there’s a 21 year old that needs something to do (besides looking through menus and making copies).


Since accounting firms put so much effort into recruiting the next wave you’d think that this enthusiasm would spread to teams like the Plague. Unfortch, there are many that see interns as an annoyance during this time of year because, “I have so much work to do and I don’t have time to handhold interns” and we think that’s bullshit.

We’re not saying that there aren’t bad interns out there. And we’re not saying you’re not busy. We know better. But if you gave that intern something meaningful to do instead of whining about how busy you are, they might make your life a speck (or a few) easier.

And interns need hand holding because they’re interns. Don’t forget that up until this point, they’ve been wearing sweats 24/7 and that you used to be just like them. Experienced team members should take this time to utilize them in a meaningful way and not as gofers. If you’re one of those teams that needs a gofer, at least squeeze some meaningful work somewhere so they can learn something and they probably won’t mind the gofering as much.

Yeah, it might take some effort on your part but it’s definitely worth your time to mentor these future associates. If you give them some challenging work now and show them a little bit of appreciation for their efforts, they’ll run through walls for you later.

Tweets and Pokes: How the Big 4 Is Recruiting the Next Crop of Accountants

BelushiCollege_CPA.jpgNo one here is arguing that there is a vast disparity between the intern program experience and the stark reality of working in public accounting. What’s bothersome, however, is the smoke and mirrors that the firms use to convince recruits that their careers should start in one location over another. This begins and ends with spending exorbitant amounts of time and money on campus, growing multi-yeardressing up public accounting as one’s best bet if you want to work globally.

It has come to the point where the firms’ online presence is two-faced. One side of the proverbial coin shows the straight-laced, information-packed websites that industry and employees see. Flip it over and you’ll encounter extensive and oftentimes flashy sites targeting tomorrow’s crop of new hires:

Deloitte
E&Y
KPMG (warning – mute your speakers)
PwC

Accounting never looked so sexy.


Many of these sites are taking advantage of the technology that students use, which makes sense. E&Y spent thousands on creating a presence on Facebook, one that would show advertisements to a select target of majors. KPMG chose to go the YouTube route, primarily to promote its Global Internship Program. PwC’s campus-focused site has its own “.tv” brand. And of course, Twitter.

All of these methods of communication and established online web presences are fine and dandy, albeit expensive to maintain (marketing teams are dedicated at each firm solely for campus recruiting needs). However, what about the relationships with the students? Recruiters target students as freshman, four to five years prior to any chance of return on investment. Honors programs are sponsored by firms; same goes for professor salaries. Every Big 4 hosts their version of a “leadership summit” – these generally take place one or two years prior to being eligible for an internship. These multi-day summits occur under the sun and are attended by the respective firm’s national leadership. Trust falls and scavenger hunts in sunny Florida. Or Arizona. Or California. Every year. At every firm.

By the way, that bonus you were expecting? Sorry, can’t find the money in the piggybank.
In defense of the Big 4’s marketing gurus; their work is paying off. BusinessWeek’s 2009 ranking of “best” internships has the Big 4 in the top five: Deloitte is #1; KPMG, #2; E&Y, #3, PWC #5. This translates to the same firms taking the top four spots in BusinessWeek’s ’09 rankings of best places to launch a career. This comes as a no-brainer when you consider the vast majority of new hires were former interns. The Kool-aid has been known to have long-term effects.
But the questions remain – is the multi-million dollar recruiting campaigns run by each Big 4 firm worth it? Are these rankings worth the time of students and the decisions they need to make? And what happens after your career has been launched? What’s the next step?

Daniel Braddock, your friendly Human Resources Professional could very well be considered the hypothetical love child of Suze Orman and Toby Flenderson. Following his varsity jacket wearing college days, he entered the consumer markets as an auditor for a Big 4 firm in New York City. He spent three brisk years as an auditor before taking the reins of stirring the HR kool-aid. He currently resides in Manhattan. Daily routines include coffee breakfasts and scotch dinners. You can follow him on Twitter @DWBraddock.

Interns – Where Are They Now That They Could Be Useful?

Thumbnail image for intern-where-is-my-report.jpgEditor’s note: This is the latest post from Daniel Braddock, your friendly Human Resources Professional. He could very well be considered a hypothetical love child of Suze Orman and Toby Flenderson. Following his varsity jacket wearing college days, he entered the consumer markets as an auditor for a Big 4 firm in New York City. He spent three brisk years as an auditor before taking the reins of stirring the HR kool-aid. He currently resides in Manhattan. Daily routines include coffee breakfasts and scotch dinners. You can follow him on Twitter @DWBraddock.
You might agree with the sentiment that now would be a fantastic time to have an extra set of hands ticking and tying through the night. Where are those lovable interns when you could actually put them to good use?
I’ll tell you where they are. They’re sitting in class or – depending when this is published – already at the bar for Tuesday’s dollar beer night. They’re getting their McStudy on, prepping for what promises to be one of the best summer internships in the job market today.
As Francine McKenna mentioned, the Big 4’s intern programs are regarded as some of the strongest. Why? It’s certainly not because the programs offer rigorous, reality-driven experiences. The bulk of interns experience your firms during the summer months; nothing like busy season. Many of you were interns yourselves, spending 8-12 weeks basking in the attractive glow of the 10-year partner track and abundance of work/life initiatives.


The fundamental purpose of an internship was – for a long time – a simple machine: offer students the ability to “test” a career in public accounting while providing H.R. with a fulltime hire “pre-screening” process. Programs have elaborated to the points of gross extreme (more about this on Thursday), but the general principle remains.
This is why I disagree with Francine’s comment that, “hiring more interns instead has big pitfalls, for both the employee and the firm.” Personally, I’d rather my firm hire its entire new fulltime class from the previous intern pool, and why the hell not? As light and fluffy as the experience is, the internship program can weed out the few incompetents that snuck through partner interviews. Of course, that’s assuming management gives half a damn and spends more than 1.7 seconds completing the H.R. performance reviews for each intern.
The root of the problem is that the “best” internship programs have lost touch with the core values of the past. Ten years ago interns were local students working part-time in order to save money for a car payment or next semester’s books. The experience was elementary but worthy nonetheless. Now, the current state of the Big 4’s programs are a product of keeping up with the Joneses. Summer months set the competitive stage for training sessions, mentorships, ball games and beers. Stir in a high paying salary (with the possibility for overtime!) and H.R. wonders where the Millennial Generation’s sense of entitlement originates. The Kool-aid is spiked with the fruits of privilege.
Don’t expect things to change anytime soon.

Be Nice to the Interns

Thumbnail image for intern-where-is-my-report.jpgWord on the street is that the winter interns have arrived at KPMG which makes us think they’re out in force all over the country.
If you’ve got a new intern at your beck and call, tell them how much you appreciate them in the comments and then send them the link (telling them in person isn’t necessary).
If you’re a new intern, tell us how things are going. Is your SA sending sexually explicit emails to strangers from your computer yet? Is it everything BusinessWeek says it would be or are you getting the taste of busy season already?
Whatever your thoughts, do share and try to stay under control at the welcome happy hour.
Earlier:
Love Me, Love Me…Say That You Love Me…Critiquing The Positive Intern Hiring Trend

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

Better Learn to Like that Intern

intern-where-is-my-report.jpgTime to give a little love to everyone’s favorite prank victims, the interns. The word on the street is that this year’s dinner delivery specialists at the major firms will serve as the major pipeline for next year’s fulltime hires.
According to our source, next year’s budgets for much of the audit, tax and advisory service lines for the Big 4 will be met if all of this year’s interns accept their offers. And unless they’ve all suffered serious brain injuries, we’re guessing they’ll be accepting those offers.
More, after the jump


What hell does this mean? Well, in years past, the firms have had large budgets to go back to campus and hire additional new staff in addition to the offers that they made to the crop of interns from the previous year. And just like merit and bonus pools, the hiring budgets have shrunk to the point of the absolute bare minimum. Why? Because no one is jumping from the sinking ship like in years past.
So for you interns out there, it sounds like if you’ve got an internship you better learn to love that firm because if you decide it sucks, finding a fulltime gig at another Big 4 firm will be next to impossible.

E&Y SoCal Intern Offers: Don’t Spend it All in One Place

It may still be a little early for the citizens of Arnie, especially if you’ve got the Friday morning cocktail flu, but whatevs. We got word that E&Y audit interns have gotten their offers nationwide and Whale’s Vagina San Diego and L.A. are both getting $50k, no bonus. If you got a Masters, you’re getting $52k, no bonus (seems worth it now, eh?). No word on tax or advisory, so if you know these, fill us in.
Last year’s lucky little Ernies got a bonus so at the very least, that makes for a smidge of animosity. For all the love we’ve been giving Ern we haven’t got a lot of specifics on the actual details. Discuss in the comments or drop us the numbers at [email protected]

Ernst & Young Interns Receiving Offers Today?

Guest 6 @ 1:03 informs us that interns may be returning from their little rendezvous with their international counterparts to find out if they made the cut of those receiving full time offers. This is clearly a matter of “win or lose, we still booze”.
So whether you’re a proud new E&Y’er or you dreams of being a CPA-rock star have been blown to smithereens, let us know the details. If you’ve got the scoop on salaries and numbers discuss in the comments or send us tips to [email protected]

Lock up the Booze, E&Y Interns in Orlando

We just picked up one of the few Tweets that has made it through today:
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This type of event will likely lead to many things including international hookups, late night skinny dipping (and probably urinating) in the pool, and widespread drunkenness of epic proportions.
If you’re down in Orlando this weekend for this three day extravaganza, send us your stories of debauchery to [email protected]. According to the website, the festivities are at Disney World, so don’t embarass your firm yourself and try to keep the nudity out of the view of children.
International Intern Leadership Conference [EY.com]

Grant Thornton Interns Don’t Get Coffee, Thankyouverymuch

inerncoffee.jpgLast week we asked for some perspective on the chicanery and lovable idiocy of your interns. Today we learn that about a Grant Thornton intern who “verifies that clients’ accounting records are accurate and sits in on important meetings.”
That’s right, interns are verifying accounting records and going to important meetings. Probably the type of meetings where they get to take notes on internal control procedures while the experienced associates can barely keep from strangling themselves with a network cable.
Yet, life remains unfair for the interns, “Interns who talked to RedEye said they are gaining experience to prepare them for the workforce, but increased intern responsibilities typically don’t come with increased pay or perks or even more respect.”
After going to those important meetings, interns still aren’t feeling respected people. No increased pay. No perks. How can this be? Haven’t they done enough? They tried to earn your respect by making the copies that you asked for and getting totally bombed at firm events. They didn’t mean to ask so many questions about the copier. They’re just new, so they want to make sure they don’t screw anything up.
What else can they do? Shine your shoes? Fill your car up with gas? Buy your lunch (they’re probably making more than associates on a per hour basis anyway)? The summer internship season is winding down so make sure you’re letting them know (and us) how they can go that extra mile to get that full-time offer.
Chicago interns move up corporate ladder [Redeye]

Guess What My Intern Did?

intern-where-is-my-report.jpgA commenter read our minds with regard to talking about interns, God bless ’em.
So today, in the spirit of the intern-season, we’re launching the first edition of “Guess What My Intern Did?” because sometimes they can do stupid things and we want to hear about it.
Examples could possibly include: any kind of shameless, awkward sexual advances on superiors; asking he/she to get a copy of an email from the asshole CFO; showing up to work hung over smelling like Ken Lewis; You get the idea.