11/28/12

Deleted as thread is over 2.5 years old and stopped receiving PMs...

Comments (136)

11/25/12

Non-target here. Thank you for posting your story; keeps us motivated. I think there are going to be a few nay-sayers here -- stupid HS kids who will say that your story is made up. Any way you can get a star to add credibility?

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11/25/12
JamesHetfield:

Non-target here. Thank you for posting your story; keeps us motivated. I think there are going to be a few nay-sayers here -- stupid HS kids who will say that your story is made up. Any way you can get a star to add credibility?

.

11/27/12
JamesHetfield:

Non-target here. Thank you for posting your story; keeps us motivated. I think there are going to be a few nay-sayers here -- stupid HS kids who will say that your story is made up. Any way you can get a star to add credibility?

Done.

11/25/12

Congrats

When you joined the buyside, how did you describe your Big 4 experience? Do you find your work from Big 4 to be relevant? How did you find the headhunter to work with?

11/25/12
Dogon:

Congrats

When you joined the buyside, how did you describe your Big 4 experience? Do you find your work from Big 4 to be relevant? How did you find the headhunter to work with?

Not following your first question - are you talking about during my interview or when I talk to fellow colleagues?

Second question - depends on the companies you audit. For my VC/PE/HF clients, work is completely irrelevant. For my tech companies, I do believe that I have a better understanding of their footnotes and as such, a better understanding of how to utilize their financials in my analyses.

Third question - LinkedIn; Big 4 employees are constantly contacted by headhunters on LNKD, but I did not use the people who contacted me as they only wanted to sell me on accounting positions. I clicked on their connections and found other headhunters focused on finance in their company and reached out to them directly.

11/25/12

When you were interviewing with the HF / headhunter did you say you were interested in working at a HF or just 'buy-side'? I would think if you just said 'buyside' they would blow you off as someone who was just interested in getting out of audit as opposed to getting into something specific (HF, PE, etc.) This is at least the case in my experience

11/25/12
MistaBooks:

When you were interviewing with the HF / headhunter did you say you were interested in working at a HF or just 'buy-side'? I would think if you just said 'buyside' they would blow you off as someone who was just interested in getting out of audit as opposed to getting into something specific (HF, PE, etc.) This is at least the case in my experience

You are correct. I have several Big 4 friends who are still stuck in audit because of this reason. I was actually working with the headhunter on landing a TAS gig (side note: you should never reveal your full hand; if I told the headhunter about my ultimate path -- audit -> TAS -> IBD/MBA -> PE/VC/HF, I'm almost 100% positive they would have ignored me like my other friends) as TAS is a common exit for skilled auditors. I just happened to build good rapport and the headhunter threw this out to me. I was currently in the second round interviews, but had already expressed to the headhunter my concerns about the Company and relocation so the headhunter kept looking for me.

Learning how to build rapport is probably one of the best skills I learned from audit.

11/25/12

How much experience did you have with valuation and equity research prior to your interview? Was this something that you were doing on your own already, and were able to pitch some ideas - or were they just looking to see how adept you were with accounting?

What were some of the things you had listed on your resume that you think distinguished you from others. Was there a specific project that kept coming up during the interview?

I'm just trying to get a feel for how you leveraged your audit experience.

Best Response
11/25/12
equitydigger:

How much experience did you have with valuation and equity research prior to your interview? Was this something that you were doing on your own already, and were able to pitch some ideas - or were they just looking to see how adept you were with accounting?

What were some of the things you had listed on your resume that you think distinguished you from others. Was there a specific project that kept coming up during the interview?

I'm just trying to get a feel for how you leveraged your audit experience.

It was much more accounting intensive for me. I got absolutely crushed on one question (I was taking double shots at the airport bar after the interview in an attempt to retroactively black out how badly I fumbled) but the headhunter informed me sometime after that the partners were not expecting me to know the answer given my background and were much more interested in my thought process and my ability to think under stress. I fully believe that at boutique firms, since they don't usually compete for your stereotypical GS/MS candidates, that they would rather identify someone with potential and mold from scratch versus dealing with some douche who believes their old firm's methodology is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It definitely varies across boutique firms, but one common theme across all the major players is that their interviews are much more rigid and structured. This is also why I fully believe that working at a boutique firm is the best way to break in.

I requested IPO projects as those are universally known across the audit spectrum as the most intensive engagements (maybe with the exception of restatements, but who wants to work on those? Much cooler to say you were on an IPO than on a restatement and not to mention that engagement dynamics are much more enjoyable as you're helping the client make money vs. realizing that your firm messed up and are now correcting your mistakes - clients are much more helpful and friendly during an IPO engagement vs. a restatement). Given my first year performance, I was given the opportunity to essentially senior another IPO engagement (I did 2 IPO's during my 2 years), which resulted in me being directly responsible for 6+ associate-level members among many other responsibilities. After the IPO, I essentially seniored all my other engagements even though I had yet to reach the standard 2-year mark for promotion to senior level.

It is hard to distinguish yourself among your audit peers as you're all generally doing the same thing, but there are a few other things such as leading a technical seminar on an industry-specific accounting topic. While reading accounting guidance is by far one of the worst things I have ever done (I'd rather go through I-week again than read accounting guidance all night long), it demonstrates one's ability to understand and explain concepts as well as one's personal drive to succeed.

11/25/12

How did you land a buy side gig from audit? When they asked technical questions, were you able to answer them or did they stick to fit type due to your background? I guess I just dont understand how the transition would work since they seem like totally different positions.

Frank Sinatra - "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."

11/25/12
yeahright:

How did you land a buy side gig from audit? When they asked technical questions, were you able to answer them or did they stick to fit type due to your background? I guess I just dont understand how the transition would work since they seem like totally different positions.

Technical accounting questions, basic finance questions and a lot of "walk me through how you would do this..." type of questions.

Please see my response to equitydigger (I just wrote it), and let me know if you have any follow-up questions.

11/25/12

What kind of positions did the headhunters tell you about when you were in Audit? Was it mainly F500 companies, and also was it mostly pure accounting, or were there positions in FP&A, Treasury, Investor relations etc?

Do you think Big 4 is a better option than a FLDP at a large F100 company if the goal is to become a manager/director in Corp Fin, in more of FP&A, Treasury rather than controllership, or SEC reporting.

11/25/12
AsianMonky:

What kind of positions did the headhunters tell you about when you were in Audit? Was it mainly F500 companies, and also was it mostly pure accounting, or were there positions in FP&A, Treasury, Investor relations etc?

Do you think Big 4 is a better option than a FLDP at a large F100 company if the goal is to become a manager/director in Corp Fin, in more of FP&A, Treasury rather than controllership, or SEC reporting.

The first headhunter who contacted me tried to sell me on a "finance" position at a F10 Company. The headhunter sold the position very well (but now I'd prefer to chalk it up to my inexperience dealing with headhunters), saying it was purely an FP&A role. However, after I got in touch with the Company and went through the first round, I quickly found out that while it was labeled "financial analyst", the duties involved were much more aligned with a senior accountant role - primary responsibilities were month-end close, help with audit procedures, etc... The only reason there was "finance" involved at all was because they said that I would be working closely with the FP&A group on their analyses. Given my experience auditing companies, I knew that "working closely with the FP&A groups" was actually just providing them with month-end actuals. Headhunters are amazing salespeople.

Side note: This is a great example for all college students to ignore the title and look at what your daily responsibilities are; I audited a company where the "Controller" was actually just the personal assistant to the CFO and didn't know jack shit about accounting; she didn't even have a CPA license. This was quickly corroborated every time I asked her a question and all her responses were to ask the CFO.

After that, I stopped responding to the headhunters who were offering me positions and went a different route (described in my response to DogOn's question, please see therein and let me know if you have further questions).

The FLDP question is difficult to answer. The great thing about working for a Big 4 is that they have so many different arms and if you are a stellar performer, you will be given the opportunity to rotate into one of those service lines, at which point, I personally believe Big 4 finance (e.g., Deloitte Corporate Finance) would be better than the FLDP program. However, if you are not a stellar performer, you will be stuck in audit, in which case the FLDP position is much better. Also note that it will require 2 years minimum before they will let you rotate into a different program at the Big 4, so there is a lot of opportunity cost involved. I really wish I could give you a straight answer on this, but there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

11/25/12
itsinthebag:
AsianMonky:

What kind of positions did the headhunters tell you about when you were in Audit? Was it mainly F500 companies, and also was it mostly pure accounting, or were there positions in FP&A, Treasury, Investor relations etc?

Do you think Big 4 is a better option than a FLDP at a large F100 company if the goal is to become a manager/director in Corp Fin, in more of FP&A, Treasury rather than controllership, or SEC reporting.

The first headhunter who contacted me tried to sell me on a "finance" position at a F10 Company. The headhunter sold the position very well (but now I'd prefer to chalk it up to my inexperience dealing with headhunters), saying it was purely an FP&A role. However, after I got in touch with the Company and went through the first round, I quickly found out that while it was labeled "financial analyst", the duties involved were much more aligned with a senior accountant role - primary responsibilities were month-end close, help with audit procedures, etc... The only reason there was "finance" involved at all was because they said that I would be working closely with the FP&A group on their analyses. Given my experience auditing companies, I knew that "working closely with the FP&A groups" was actually just providing them with month-end actuals. Headhunters are amazing salespeople.

Side note: This is a great example for all college students to ignore the title and look at what your daily responsibilities are; I audited a company where the "Controller" was actually just the personal assistant to the CFO and didn't know jack shit about accounting; she didn't even have a CPA license. This was quickly corroborated every time I asked her a question and all her responses were to ask the CFO.

After that, I stopped responding to the headhunters who were offering me positions and went a different route (described in my response to DogOn's question, please see therein and let me know if you have further questions).

The FLDP question is difficult to answer. The great thing about working for a Big 4 is that they have so many different arms and if you are a stellar performer, you will be given the opportunity to rotate into one of those service lines, at which point, I personally believe Big 4 finance (e.g., Deloitte Corporate Finance) would be better than the FLDP program. However, if you are not a stellar performer, you will be stuck in audit, in which case the FLDP position is much better. Also note that it will require 2 years minimum before they will let you rotate into a different program at the Big 4, so there is a lot of opportunity cost involved. I really wish I could give you a straight answer on this, but there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

Wow. Thanks for the great info. Had another question: Do headhunters contact you for opportunities near the Big 4 office you are located in? I'm not sure how they offer you all of these positions when there are countless amount of Big 4 auditors.

Also- thanks for the input on FLDP vs Audit. Do you think that when you get recruited by headhunters for Fin/Acc roles at F500, that you are on kind of a "fast-track" , as in they want to hire you to train you to be in management later on?

Thanks.

11/26/12
AsianMonky:

Wow. Thanks for the great info. Had another question: Do headhunters contact you for opportunities near the Big 4 office you are located in? I'm not sure how they offer you all of these positions when there are countless amount of Big 4 auditors.

Also- thanks for the input on FLDP vs Audit. Do you think that when you get recruited by headhunters for Fin/Acc roles at F500, that you are on kind of a "fast-track" , as in they want to hire you to train you to be in management later on?

Thanks.

Yes, all first offers were located within 75 miles of my office. You can always tell them if you are interested in opportunities outside your current location though.

It's a numbers game; not everyone they contact is ready to leave or has the necessary skills required by the Company. They just want to throw as many potential candidates to the Company as possible and then let the Company deal with weeding out the candidates.

No, you are not on a "fast-track", especially at well established companies. At F500 Companies, they don't hire you because they want to train you; they hire you because of your experience and hope that it will help the Company grow.

To me, leaving Big 4 for a corporate accounting role is career suicide; you only do it if you are a woman who wants to get pregnant (even then Big 4 has AMAZING women's benefits, always ranked in top 10 best women companies to work for), you want work-life stability, or you got fired from your firm.

All the smart auditors leave for finance/operations/law school/start-up ASAP (note it's very hard to go straight from Audit to a reputable MBA, but you can go to a reputable law school).

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
AsianMonky:

Wow. Thanks for the great info. Had another question: Do headhunters contact you for opportunities near the Big 4 office you are located in? I'm not sure how they offer you all of these positions when there are countless amount of Big 4 auditors.

Also- thanks for the input on FLDP vs Audit. Do you think that when you get recruited by headhunters for Fin/Acc roles at F500, that you are on kind of a "fast-track" , as in they want to hire you to train you to be in management later on?

Thanks.

Yes, all first offers were located within 75 miles of my office. You can always tell them if you are interested in opportunities outside your current location though.

It's a numbers game; not everyone they contact is ready to leave or has the necessary skills required by the Company. They just want to throw as many potential candidates to the Company as possible and then let the Company deal with weeding out the candidates.

No, you are not on a "fast-track", especially at well established companies. At F500 Companies, they don't hire you because they want to train you; they hire you because of your experience and hope that it will help the Company grow.

To me, leaving Big 4 for a corporate accounting role is career suicide; you only do it if you are a woman who wants to get pregnant (even then Big 4 has AMAZING women's benefits, always ranked in top 10 best women companies to work for), you want work-life stability, or you got fired from your firm.

All the smart auditors leave for finance/operations/law school/start-up ASAP (note it's very hard to go straight from Audit to a reputable MBA, but you can go to a reputable law school).

When people compare Big 4 audit vs FLDP at a reputable company, Big 4 supporters say that there are just too many ex-Big 4 people in management/exec that it's hard to argue against that Big 4 is not the best route to management positions in F500 Finance.

What do you think about that statement?

11/26/12
AsianMonky:

When people compare Big 4 audit vs FLDP at a reputable company, Big 4 supporters say that there are just too many ex-Big 4 people in management/exec that it's hard to argue against that Big 4 is not the best route to management positions in F500 Finance.

What do you think about that statement?

Who are the Big 4 supporters? How much experience do they have at the Big 4?

It's a numbers game, you probably hear about the Big 4 much more simply because there are so many more Big 4 employees than there are FLDP employees. Need to keep everything in perspective, I'm sure the % allocation is equally comparable.

There is no one clear path that will lead you to management at a F500; you need a wide range of skills to get that position, and both Big 4 and FLDP provide you with just a few of the many skills you will need to be successful in the management role. They are both excellent starting paths, but one is not clear cut better than the other, there are other variables more important than where your first job is such as the person's competence, ability to play the political game and so forth.

11/25/12

Thanks for making yourself available for questions. Your LinkedIn strategy is genius - that is the answer to the first problem of getting the interview as an auditor. As for the second step of acing the interview, what did you say to convince them to hire an auditor? Did you try to leverage your limited TAS experience?

Great post - FYI I posted a link to this in my group Big 4 Accounting.

11/25/12
808:

Thanks for making yourself available for questions. Your LinkedIn strategy is genius - that is the answer to the first problem of getting the interview as an auditor. As for the second step of acing the interview, what did you say to convince them to hire an auditor? Did you try to leverage your limited TAS experience?

Great post - FYI I posted a link to this in my group Big 4 Accounting.

Thanks for posting the link; I will always be forever grateful to my firm as they gave me my first job which ultimately allowed me to land my current job. Please let me know if anyone in that group has any specific questions and I will do my best to answer.

As for acing the interview, I think the best thing is to convince them that you are not an auditor. There are many factors that play into this (e.g., the longer you stay in audit, the harder it will be to convince them you are not an auditor. Someone with 2 years of experience is still relatively new and maybe just figured out what they want in life versus someone who's had 4 years of audit experience - it's much hard to explain how it took you 4 years to realize audit is not your cup of tea.) Nail down the "why" part as I'm pretty sure that was always the first question I was asked during my finance interviews. If you can't get past the first question, you don't stand a chance.

11/25/12

Which group within PwC TAS or Deloitte FAS would you say will help the most in trying to get onto the buyside? Also what's the current strategy/role at your firm right now? Ever consider the CFA in addition with your CPA?

I think I'm one of the few people that would be willing to read your 10,000 word post about your experience btw.

11/25/12
Vyraal:

Which group within PwC TAS or Deloitte FAS would you say will help the most in trying to get onto the buyside? Also what's the current strategy/role at your firm right now? Ever consider the CFA in addition with your CPA?

I think I'm one of the few people that would be willing to read your 10,000 word post about your experience btw.

Going off of the exact terminology, PwC TAS (as I know, is related to tax advisory) and Deloitte FAS (as I know, is related to forensic accounting/security valuation). In this case, I'd definitely go with FAS. Deloitte Corporate Finance is it's own beast and unrelated to Deloitte FAS.

I want to clarify that Deloitte and PwC both offer transaction advisory services (TAS). For Deloitte, it's guised under their AERS arm as "M&A services", while for PwC it's called "Capital Markets Advisory". So if you're asking me to compare PwC "TAS" vs. Deloitte "TAS", then I'd say there really is no difference other than my personal preference as to which firm's culture is better. All Big 4's will essentially provide the same experience (minus KPMG, not personal preference, fact).

Fundamental-value w/ several billion AUM. I'm in the tech sector.

No, I do not plan on taking the CFA simply because I do not believe it is necessary to my future goals. That being said, there are senior partners at my firm with the CFA designation. However, to me, I would much rather focus on getting a good GMAT score and working on my EC's in hopes of landing at a top MBA as I believe that an M7 MBA > CFA in all regards (timing as well is a factor; I could study for the GMAT and graduate with an MBA in the time it takes to pass all 3 CFA tests, both require ~3 years). There are many posts on WSO about the value of the CFA and the general consensus (which I agree with) is that it is pretty much useless unless you plan on doing asset management, which I do not. This is also one of the greatest myths that I saw during my Big 4 days - that the CFA/CPA combination is a golden ticket to finance. Sorry, but that's just not true. I wish I could find the link, but there are a million posts on here about the value of the CFA to finance and that is what I base my knowledge on and believe it to be fairly representative of the world's view on the CFA. One more thing, I don't believe the CFA will provide me with any useful real-world experience, just like the CPA did not improve my audit/accounting knowledge in any way shape or form.

As much as I'd love to write about all my experiences, I don't think the value-add would be worth it. I'm already doing my best to keep my responses direct as I can without going off onto a bunch of different tangents. For example, in the above, I could go on about EY/KPMG's service offerings compared to smaller firms like Duff & Phelps, Alvaraz & Marsal, etc.. I could also then discuss the difference in clients they serve and the value at each firm. I could also write 10,000 words on why I am not pursuing the CFA. There are just too many roads for me to go down and I don't have enough time to write it all/write it in a meaningful way where people won't think I'm just rambling.

That being said, do you have any specific areas you are interested in? Big 4 politics? Big 4 pay/promotion structure? Big 4 lies? Big 4 exit-opps? Most common misconceptions in Big 4 about landing in finance? Favorite part of working in audit? Least favorite? As you can see, there are many different roads I can go down.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:

That being said, do you have any specific areas you are interested in? Big 4 politics? Big 4 pay/promotion structure? Big 4 lies? Big 4 exit-opps? Most common misconceptions in Big 4 about landing in finance? Favorite part of working in audit? Least favorite? As you can see, there are many different roads I can go down.

Can you touch a little bit on the Big 4 exit opps/Big 4 landing in finance part of things as far as breaking into corp. dev.? This or going the start up route are the most appealing options to me right now.

And I dont have any specific question that I can think of right now (will check back in if I come up with one), but if you want to discuss some Big 4 lies as you mentioned, maybe a little about the environment, hours (busy season vs regular), etc., that would be great too.

--Art Vandelay

11/26/12
Art.Vandelay:
itsinthebag:

That being said, do you have any specific areas you are interested in? Big 4 politics? Big 4 pay/promotion structure? Big 4 lies? Big 4 exit-opps? Most common misconceptions in Big 4 about landing in finance? Favorite part of working in audit? Least favorite? As you can see, there are many different roads I can go down.

Can you touch a little bit on the Big 4 exit opps/Big 4 landing in finance part of things as far as breaking into corp. dev.? This or going the start up route are the most appealing options to me right now.

And I dont have any specific question that I can think of right now (will check back in if I come up with one), but if you want to discuss some Big 4 lies as you mentioned, maybe a little about the environment, hours (busy season vs regular), etc., that would be great too.

--Art Vandelay

For people with less than 2 years of experience, I've seen all sorts of exits - IBD (boutique firms only), Operations at Start-Up's, Law School, and FP&A at F500's. The IBD/Op's people were high performers from the get-go and only landed in audit because they couldn't break in to finance from undergrad. They also had degrees from top US institutions that receive OCR from BB IB firms.

For people with 2+ years of experience, exit opps are much more limited to either law school, TAS, or Sr. Accountant/Accounting Manager/Director of Financial Reporting (3-5 years/5-7 years/7+ years in public accounting, respectively). Kept in touch with a TAS friend who is now at an M7 MBA (5 years in Audit, 1.5 years in TAS, then applied to MBA).

Biggest Big 4 Misconception - I'll do two.
#1 - you work 40 hours a week. Fact is that audit is a client-service job, so don't expect to be at the client site for fewer hours than the client themselves. I don't know anyone who worked 40 hours a week, whether it be busy season or regular season. Regular season average is closer to 50 hrs/wk and my firm's requirements during busy season were mandatory 11/hr minimum per day, so expect to work 60+ hrs/week during busy season. I have personally done several 100+ hr/weeks.

#2 - Auditing in the finance sector will improve your finance skills and therefore your ability to break into finance. Completely false. Unless you want to be an accountant for the financial firm, learning how to audit PE/VC/HF's is completely useless and zero value-add to landing a gig in finance.

Environment - varies across firms, EY thinks they are the smartest so everyone is extremely cut-throat and a lot of backstabbing occurs there, PwC and Deloitte have the most collegiate-like atmosphere, everyone at KPMG wishes they were at the other 3 firms. It all depends on the team dynamic - there are douche bags and there are genuinely nice people, it's expected when your firm employs over 100K+ people. I've met and worked with every single type of personality out there.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:

... I'd say there really is no difference other than my personal preference as to which firm's culture is better. All Big 4's will essentially provide the same experience (minus KPMG, not personal preference, fact).

No, I do not plan on taking the CFA simply because I do not believe it is necessary to my future goals. That being said, there are senior partners at my firm with the CFA designation. However, to me, I would much rather focus on getting a good GMAT score and working on my EC's in hopes of landing at a top MBA as I believe that an M7 MBA > CFA in all regards ... This is also one of the greatest myths that I saw during my Big 4 days - that the CFA/CPA combination is a golden ticket to finance....One more thing, I don't believe the CFA will provide me with any useful real-world experience, just like the CPA did not improve my audit/accounting knowledge in any way shape or form.

That being said, do you have any specific areas you are interested in? Big 4 politics? Big 4 pay/promotion structure? Big 4 lies? Big 4 exit-opps? Most common misconceptions in Big 4 about landing in finance? Favorite part of working in audit? Least favorite? As you can see, there are many different roads I can go down.

This is a godsend and I understand your reasons for not wanting to spew everything for the sake of keeping concise, regardless I really appreciate the spirit of this thread overall. I would SB you if I only had the credits. I got some more follow-up questions if you don't mind.

I wasn't able to land any offers right away (I'm a senior trying to break into buyside, preferably a fundamental equities long short fund, a dream for me would be any investment analyst role in a distressed fund but I think that's even more difficult coming out of undergrad). As an aside, I am interviewing and trying to break into boutique asset management/ER firms now until Spring as well as Deloitte FAS's BVal group (mainly because it's in a city of my choosing) and has the most relevant skillset as far as I can determine for an eventual buyside role.

What do you think I should expect for BVal? I know that the Corporate Finance is a separated entity just like Consulting due to independence reasons, so lateraling won't be any easier. I've been told I would know financial modelling, but only in a rigid fashion as the numbers we put out will be scrutinized by the law and IRS. Any truth to that? Any recommended actions for someone who wants to eventually end up in a distressed credit fund?

Big 4 lies you say? Please, do tell more. Also what was the most difficult aspect trying to get out of Audit? Stereotypes? Showing you had technical down? Showing that auditors have personality as well?

I noticed that you said CFA wasn't that useful because you didn't plan on doing asset management, but at the same time you're at a buyside firm? I always imagined asset management being the overall category and HF/MF etc falling under that umbrella. Did you have another definition for asset management?

To be honest I didn't have a solid plan when I graduate about how I was going to end up in a distressed fund, only grabbing at job descriptions that might provide a skillset that would help me later down the road, but this thread has gone a long way in giving me some inspiration, I really appreciate the input.

11/26/12
Vyraal:
itsinthebag:

... I'd say there really is no difference other than my personal preference as to which firm's culture is better. All Big 4's will essentially provide the same experience (minus KPMG, not personal preference, fact).

No, I do not plan on taking the CFA simply because I do not believe it is necessary to my future goals. That being said, there are senior partners at my firm with the CFA designation. However, to me, I would much rather focus on getting a good GMAT score and working on my EC's in hopes of landing at a top MBA as I believe that an M7 MBA > CFA in all regards ... This is also one of the greatest myths that I saw during my Big 4 days - that the CFA/CPA combination is a golden ticket to finance....One more thing, I don't believe the CFA will provide me with any useful real-world experience, just like the CPA did not improve my audit/accounting knowledge in any way shape or form.

That being said, do you have any specific areas you are interested in? Big 4 politics? Big 4 pay/promotion structure? Big 4 lies? Big 4 exit-opps? Most common misconceptions in Big 4 about landing in finance? Favorite part of working in audit? Least favorite? As you can see, there are many different roads I can go down.

This is a godsend and I understand your reasons for not wanting to spew everything for the sake of keeping concise, regardless I really appreciate the spirit of this thread overall. I would SB you if I only had the credits. I got some more follow-up questions if you don't mind.

I wasn't able to land any offers right away (I'm a senior trying to break into buyside, preferably a fundamental equities long short fund, a dream for me would be any investment analyst role in a distressed fund but I think that's even more difficult coming out of undergrad). As an aside, I am interviewing and trying to break into boutique asset management/ER firms now until Spring as well as Deloitte FAS's BVal group (mainly because it's in a city of my choosing) and has the most relevant skillset as far as I can determine for an eventual buyside role.

What do you think I should expect for BVal? I know that the Corporate Finance is a separated entity just like Consulting due to independence reasons, so lateraling won't be any easier. I've been told I would know financial modelling, but only in a rigid fashion as the numbers we put out will be scrutinized by the law and IRS. Any truth to that? Any recommended actions for someone who wants to eventually end up in a distressed credit fund?

Big 4 lies you say? Please, do tell more. Also what was the most difficult aspect trying to get out of Audit? Stereotypes? Showing you had technical down? Showing that auditors have personality as well?

I noticed that you said CFA wasn't that useful because you didn't plan on doing asset management, but at the same time you're at a buyside firm? I always imagined asset management being the overall category and HF/MF etc falling under that umbrella. Did you have another definition for asset management?

To be honest I didn't have a solid plan when I graduate about how I was going to end up in a distressed fund, only grabbing at job descriptions that might provide a skillset that would help me later down the road, but this thread has gone a long way in giving me some inspiration, I really appreciate the input.

BVal is good, all the principals (equivalent to Partner, just different term for legal purposes) are CFA's. Don't work in a distressed credit fund so can't comment on that.

See my response to Art Vandelay and Equities-In-Dallas for several misconceptions. I think having less than 2 years of experience was a serious bonus as I haven't developed the full-on image of being an accountant/auditor. I was still able to play the "I didn't know what I wanted in life so went to audit" card.

I categorize asset management more with PWM.

No problem, happy to be of any assistance.

11/25/12

+1 Thanks for this.

11/25/12

You said, your first job was at a boutique - can you give us an AUM range?

11/25/12
equitydigger:

You said, your first job was at a boutique - can you give us an AUM range?

Several billion - trying to keep myself somewhat confidential.

11/25/12

I have an offer at a conservative Fortune 100 insurance company in product management and another as a consultant for a company that provides financial software to buy side firms (Reuters, Fact Set, Bloomberg) .

In your opinion, which would lead to better opportunities down the road to break into the buy-side?

"Don't let making a living prevent you from making a life."

John R. Wooden

11/25/12
Tintinnabulation:

I have an offer at a conservative Fortune 100 insurance company in product management and another as a consultant for a company that provides financial software to buy side firms (Reuters, Fact Set, Bloomberg) .

In your opinion, which would lead to better opportunities down the road to break into the buy-side?

Can't give you an opinion as I don't know much about product management. With the financial software firm, you would essentially become a master of navigating the software; not sure how much relevant financial experience you are gaining there. Sorry can't provide more insight here.

11/26/12

Thanks so much for making yourself available. Similar to your background, I started out in big4 in Hong Kong 3 years ago, after graduating from a top public school in the Midwest. About 4 months ago, I moved to a transaction service role in another big4 firm.

Currently I am looking to jump into IBD or a F500 corporate development role. I have also started preparing for the GMAT, in case things do not work out and I will have to go back to business school.

My question is
1. I understand how I can leverage my experience in dealing with financial statements, i.e. their footnotes, proforma adjustments. but how did you address you knowledge on modeling, valuations, as well as specific industry experience (e.g. If the buy-side firm are TMT-focused, while your audit experience was with industrials)
2. In your opinion, what set you apart from other big4 staff that wanna make the move as well?
3. In my situation, do you think I should continue to network and try to break in, or go for business school earlier ?

Thanks

11/26/12
kychung3:

Thanks so much for making yourself available. Similar to your background, I started out in big4 in Hong Kong 3 years ago, after graduating from a top public school in the Midwest. About 4 months ago, I moved to a transaction service role in another big4 firm.

Currently I am looking to jump into IBD or a F500 corporate development role. I have also started preparing for the GMAT, in case things do not work out and I will have to go back to business school.

My question is
1. I understand how I can leverage my experience in dealing with financial statements, i.e. their footnotes, proforma adjustments. but how did you address you knowledge on modeling, valuations, as well as specific industry experience (e.g. If the buy-side firm are TMT-focused, while your audit experience was with industrials)
2. In your opinion, what set you apart from other big4 staff that wanna make the move as well?
3. In my situation, do you think I should continue to network and try to break in, or go for business school earlier ?

Thanks

See my response to EquityDigger for questions #1 & #2.

Question #3 - Both. Work on breaking in to help strengthen your chances of getting into a top B-School, but if you are a strong enough candidate and are able to get into a top MBA program, then leverage that to re brand yourself. Apply to B-School and if you don't get it, keep networking to strengthen your resume. Always keep multiple doors open, never put all your eggs in one basket.

11/26/12

Not as related but If you're interested in consulting, which 1 or 2 of the big 4 specifically do you feel are most open to non targets/accounting majors/people who start off in audit interested in lateraling over?

11/26/12
Husky32:

Not as related but If you're interested in consulting, which 1 or 2 of the big 4 specifically do you feel are most open to non targets/accounting majors/people who start off in audit interested in lateraling over?

They are all the same. Your performance as well as your ability to network are much bigger factors. Best chance is to buddy up with a consulting partner and hope they go to bat for you, or make friends with the consulting HR group, hope they slip you into the pile of resumes, and hope you can crush the interview.

You don't get any bonus points for being in their audit group; they're two completely different entities and if any, you will be seen as peg lower (unless you have the consulting partner on your side)

11/26/12

+1. Thanks.

I'll be joining a big 4 out of NYC next fall (PwC/Deloitte)... Looking for your insight as to whether or not your area of practice within Audit helped at all. I'm looking to be either in Banking/Capital Markets or Private Equity space within Audit, as I feel while it will still be Audit, I can at least touch some Finance, albeit in a small capacity. What were your type of clients within Audit, and did you find this to positively or negatively impact you in anyway?

11/26/12
Equities-In-Dallas:

+1. Thanks.

I'll be joining a big 4 out of NYC next fall (PwC/Deloitte)... Looking for your insight as to whether or not your area of practice within Audit helped at all. I'm looking to be either in Banking/Capital Markets or Private Equity space within Audit, as I feel while it will still be Audit, I can at least touch some Finance, albeit in a small capacity. What were your type of clients within Audit, and did you find this to positively or negatively impact you in anyway?

See my response to DogOn about the relevance of your audit clients in regards to my current role.

I will say that auditing a bank is one of the worst experiences you will get. The hours are the worst, and due to the complexity of banks, you will only see one financial statement account. You will not gain a broad range of accounting knowledge; yes you will be a god at auditing cash equivalents, but you will not know crap about opex/cash flows/revenue or anything actually important. They will not rotate you to the other sections because of the time deadline and your previous experience with the account. The client will demand you audit the same section for ease and what the client wants, the client gets.

11/26/12
Equities-In-Dallas:

+1. Thanks.

I'll be joining a big 4 out of NYC next fall (PwC/Deloitte)... Looking for your insight as to whether or not your area of practice within Audit helped at all. I'm looking to be either in Banking/Capital Markets or Private Equity space within Audit, as I feel while it will still be Audit, I can at least touch some Finance, albeit in a small capacity. What were your type of clients within Audit, and did you find this to positively or negatively impact you in anyway?

See my response to DogOn and Art.Vandelay. I'll expand on my response to Art.Vandelay and the misconception that auditing in the finance sector will help you build financial knowledge.

In my current role, I analyze financials of potential companies we want to invest in and we very rarely invest in PE/VC/HF firms as a good majority of them are private. Even if we do invest in the public ones, they are a very small portion of our portfolio compared to industrials, tech, energy, etc.. Therefore, learning how the financials of the PE/VC/HF firm are built (which is the knowledge you will be gaining if you choose finance as your preferred audit industry) gives you absolutely no advantage. I have audited PE/VC/HF clients and the knowledge gained from those engagements has done absolutely nothing for me in my current capacity.

Also, from an audit perspective, you will be performing investor allocations and verifying cash payments/receipts. Those are the main issues with PE/VC/HF clients; none of those skills are useful unless you plan on being a fund accountant, in which case learning how to perform investor allocations is extremely relevant. No matter what you are told, you will never perform a DCF or perform any Company valuations - valuation testing is tying out the numbers they used in their assumptions to source documents, or you outsource the information to the valuation arm of your department.

11/26/12

Thank you for the response. Good to know. Like you I'd like to get out ASAP or move to TS right away. Appreciate the honesty and good luck with everything.

11/26/12

From experience if I am an engineering major eventually could I make the transition into finance if I do not like engineering but have a degree in it? Thank you.

Mps721

11/26/12
Mps721:

From experience if I am an engineering major eventually could I make the transition into finance if I do not like engineering but have a degree in it? Thank you.

Definitely. In this current environment, engineer undergrads (granted you have a great GPA), are much more valued than an econ undergrad. You just need to nail down the "why finance and not engineering" portion of the interview and you will be golden.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
Mps721:

From experience if I am an engineering major eventually could I make the transition into finance if I do not like engineering but have a degree in it? Thank you.

Definitely. In this current environment, engineer undergrads (granted you have a great GPA), are much more valued than an econ undergrad. You just need to nail down the "why finance and not engineering" portion of the interview and you will be golden.

Which would you say is more difficult to find a job in Engineering or Accounting(no CPA)?

Mps721

11/26/12
Mps721:
itsinthebag:
Mps721:

From experience if I am an engineering major eventually could I make the transition into finance if I do not like engineering but have a degree in it? Thank you.

Definitely. In this current environment, engineer undergrads (granted you have a great GPA), are much more valued than an econ undergrad. You just need to nail down the "why finance and not engineering" portion of the interview and you will be golden.

Which would you say is more difficult to find a job in Engineering or Accounting(no CPA)?

Engineering. Anyone can file invoices.

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11/26/12

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

11/26/12
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

Thanks, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There are traditional paths where the % is much greater, but there are always underdogs. Sports are a great example: Ben Wallace and Jeremy Lin are just a few that come to mind. Also note coming from the traditional path doesn't guarantee success: e.g., Matt Leinart, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Christian Laettner, John Scheyer, etc... The one driving factor is the person's individual drive and unwillingness to accept defeat.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

Thanks, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There are traditional paths where the % is much greater, but there are always underdogs. Sports are a great example: Ben Wallace and Jeremy Lin are just a few that come to mind. Also note coming from the traditional path doesn't guarantee success: e.g., Matt Leinart, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Christian Laettner, John Scheyer, etc... The one driving factor is the person's individual drive and unwillingness to accept defeat.

Hahahaha Awesome examples. I would also include Vince Young, Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clauson, and Lindell White.

Has the CPA added any value at all though to working in the Buy-Side? Or is it truly just an indicator of work ethic and and determination?

11/26/12
calikid3820:
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

Thanks, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There are traditional paths where the % is much greater, but there are always underdogs. Sports are a great example: Ben Wallace and Jeremy Lin are just a few that come to mind. Also note coming from the traditional path doesn't guarantee success: e.g., Matt Leinart, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Christian Laettner, John Scheyer, etc... The one driving factor is the person's individual drive and unwillingness to accept defeat.

Hahahaha Awesome examples. I would also include Vince Young, Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clauson, and Lindell White.

Has the CPA added any value at all though to working in the Buy-Side? Or is it truly just an indicator of work ethic and and determination?

Totally forgot about Vince Young! If you're in Cali, maybe you can add Colin Kaepernick to the list of successes as well.

CPA response - Of the four exams, only FAR is relevant as that is basic accounting. AUD, BEC, and REG are all completely irrelevant to finance. Even then, my accounting classes taught me everything necessary to pass the FAR exam. And you can always learn accounting on the job, it's not hard. I truly believe the CPA is just another barrier of entry.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

This couldn't be more true. I didn't learn / retain a damn thing from the CPA exam and I imagine most don't. I would have loved to skip it and told my employer to go ahead and keep that super generous $5k bonus - but like inthebag said - you will immediately be labeled as lazy. L-A-Z-Y, lazy.

You'll notice in the big 4, all the people that are 'stuck in the middle' - 3-10 years in public accounting who aren't really going anywhere in life, but will cling on to the Big 4 for as long as possible - have taken the CPA exam multiple multiple times and that just goes to show their lack of motivation / laziness.

If you start your career in public accounting (audit / tax) and you expect to break-out, you have to have the CPA exam.

11/26/12
MistaBooks:
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

This couldn't be more true. I didn't learn / retain a damn thing from the CPA exam and I imagine most don't. I would have loved to skip it and told my employer to go ahead and keep that super generous $5k bonus - but like inthebag said - you will immediately be labeled as lazy. L-A-Z-Y, lazy.

You'll notice in the big 4, all the people that are 'stuck in the middle' - 3-10 years in public accounting who aren't really going anywhere in life, but will cling on to the Big 4 for as long as possible - have taken the CPA exam multiple multiple times and that just goes to show their lack of motivation / laziness.

If you start your career in public accounting (audit / tax) and you expect to break-out, you have to have the CPA exam.

I actually work in Public Finance right now as an analyst and am half way through the CPA.. I passed FAR and BEC. I plan on finishing in the spring and starting a MSF program in May. Maybe it will be a waste :(

11/26/12
calikid3820:
MistaBooks:
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

This couldn't be more true. I didn't learn / retain a damn thing from the CPA exam and I imagine most don't. I would have loved to skip it and told my employer to go ahead and keep that super generous $5k bonus - but like inthebag said - you will immediately be labeled as lazy. L-A-Z-Y, lazy.

You'll notice in the big 4, all the people that are 'stuck in the middle' - 3-10 years in public accounting who aren't really going anywhere in life, but will cling on to the Big 4 for as long as possible - have taken the CPA exam multiple multiple times and that just goes to show their lack of motivation / laziness.

If you start your career in public accounting (audit / tax) and you expect to break-out, you have to have the CPA exam.

I actually work in Public Finance right now as an analyst and am half way through the CPA.. I passed FAR and BEC. I plan on finishing in the spring and starting a MSF program in May. Maybe it will be a waste :(

CPA is only necessary to sign off on audit reports/tax filings. If you plan on doing an MSF, the CPA will be zero value to you. Not sure what brought you down the CPA route, unless your job requires it?

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:
MistaBooks:
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

This couldn't be more true. I didn't learn / retain a damn thing from the CPA exam and I imagine most don't. I would have loved to skip it and told my employer to go ahead and keep that super generous $5k bonus - but like inthebag said - you will immediately be labeled as lazy. L-A-Z-Y, lazy.

You'll notice in the big 4, all the people that are 'stuck in the middle' - 3-10 years in public accounting who aren't really going anywhere in life, but will cling on to the Big 4 for as long as possible - have taken the CPA exam multiple multiple times and that just goes to show their lack of motivation / laziness.

If you start your career in public accounting (audit / tax) and you expect to break-out, you have to have the CPA exam.

I actually work in Public Finance right now as an analyst and am half way through the CPA.. I passed FAR and BEC. I plan on finishing in the spring and starting a MSF program in May. Maybe it will be a waste :(

CPA is only necessary to sign off on audit reports/tax filings. If you plan on doing an MSF, the CPA will be zero value to you. Not sure what brought you down the CPA route, unless your job requires it?

It is just something to have as a back up. I also see more value in it over the CFA. I see it as something that will A) add some credibility to my abilities as i went to a very very very small non-target school and did not perform well (insane schedule and also just didn't put forth the effort in school).

I was a triple major and graduated with 150 so i just figured that since the CFA is only really relevant in the realm of AM the CPA would give me more options if I end up falling back on accounting/auditing.

I hope to pass the CPA, get a MSF and see what offers I have in what industries and job roles. Ideally I could end up in a state like Mass. where they have the "non-reporting" license. Though part of me really wants to just work in audit for a year to finish the certification.

EDIT: My career goal ultimately is Growth Equity, and while the CPA won't help me like a MBA will (not saying I won't end up getting one), but I don't see it hurting me either

11/26/12
calikid3820:

It is just something to have as a back up. I also see more value in it over the CFA. I see it as something that will A) add some credibility to my abilities as i went to a very very very small non-target school and did not perform well (insane schedule and also just didn't put forth the effort in school).

I was a triple major and graduated with 150 so i just figured that since the CFA is only really relevant in the realm of AM the CPA would give me more options if I end up falling back on accounting/auditing.

I hope to pass the CPA, get a MSF and see what offers I have in what industries and job roles. Ideally I could end up in a state like Mass. where they have the "non-reporting" license. Though part of me really wants to just work in audit for a year to finish the certification.

EDIT: My career goal ultimately is Growth Equity, and while the CPA won't help me like a MBA will (not saying I won't end up getting one), but I don't see it hurting me either

Sounds like a good plan. You're right in that the CPA won't hurt you. Best of luck!

11/26/12
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

It is just something to have as a back up. I also see more value in it over the CFA. I see it as something that will A) add some credibility to my abilities as i went to a very very very small non-target school and did not perform well (insane schedule and also just didn't put forth the effort in school).

I was a triple major and graduated with 150 so i just figured that since the CFA is only really relevant in the realm of AM the CPA would give me more options if I end up falling back on accounting/auditing.

I hope to pass the CPA, get a MSF and see what offers I have in what industries and job roles. Ideally I could end up in a state like Mass. where they have the "non-reporting" license. Though part of me really wants to just work in audit for a year to finish the certification.

EDIT: My career goal ultimately is Growth Equity, and while the CPA won't help me like a MBA will (not saying I won't end up getting one), but I don't see it hurting me either

Sounds like a good plan. You're right in that the CPA won't hurt you. Best of luck!

I know you were in audit but were looking at Transaction advisory initially as a platform into a MBA and the Buy-side (PE/HF)

Why did you choose TAS over the Corporate Finance divisions of the Big 4? Does TAS place better into PE/HF/VC in terms of exit opps?

11/26/12
calikid3820:

I know you were in audit but were looking at Transaction advisory initially as a platform into a MBA and the Buy-side (PE/HF)

Why did you choose TAS over the corporate finance divisions of the Big 4? Does TAS place better into PE/HF/VC in terms of exit opps?

(1) I couldn't find any contacts/information on our corporate finance division and I'm located in a major market. I scoured every floor of my office to no avail and the internal transfer job board never had any openings. I also attended an internal firm-wide event where supposedly all our departments were represented - found consulting, TAS, valuation, but couldn't find Corp. Finance. Chances are its a ridiculously small division and they only hire senior-level people.
(2) I knew former coworkers who internally transferred to the TAS arm so it was easy to connect directly with them and
(3) I knew it was realistically possible for me to make the leap to TAS as it is a common exit route for auditors

11/26/12
MistaBooks:
itsinthebag:
calikid3820:

Did the headhunters/potential employers see value in your CPA? I know there are countless threads on whether there is value and what the buy-side thinks of the CPA.

EDIT: I think it's awesome that you made buy-side out of Big 4 Audit. Everyone is constantly saying "it can't be done"

It's more of an indicator of one's competence, determination and will-power to succeed. If you don't have the CPA, they'll ask you why not and there's no good response to that other than the fact that you're lazy or dumb. Heavy work-load is not a valid excuse and will immediately been interpreted as you are lazy. Slight caveat: If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you will be okay. Anything over 1 year and you'll have some serious explaining to do.

This couldn't be more true. I didn't learn / retain a damn thing from the CPA exam and I imagine most don't. I would have loved to skip it and told my employer to go ahead and keep that super generous $5k bonus - but like inthebag said - you will immediately be labeled as lazy. L-A-Z-Y, lazy.

You'll notice in the big 4, all the people that are 'stuck in the middle' - 3-10 years in public accounting who aren't really going anywhere in life, but will cling on to the Big 4 for as long as possible - have taken the CPA exam multiple multiple times and that just goes to show their lack of motivation / laziness.

If you start your career in public accounting (audit / tax) and you expect to break-out, you have to have the CPA exam.

100% correct, and you have to break out before you get "stuck in the middle" otherwise your chances become exponentially harder.

11/26/12

Also in additions to my previous question... Is there a pay difference salary/bonus between the groups in the Big 4? Do KPMG/Delloite Corporate Finance get a higher salary/bonus than tax/audit?

11/26/12
calikid3820:

Also in additions to my previous question... Is there a pay difference salary/bonus between the groups in the Big 4? Do KPMG/Delloite Corporate Finance get a higher salary/bonus than tax/audit?

Audit is the lowest paying of them all. Tax starts slightly higher (~$5K in my region), but your exit opportunities are extremely limited to tax or law school. Finance will always pay more than accounting.

Pay varies by region, but in general from what I've seen, Deloitte & PwC have the highest starting salary. E&Y offers a much greater annual raise to their high-performers than any of the Big 4 so you can easily out-earn your fellow Deloitte/PwC peers within a year or two, and KPMG is last in all regards. PwC is usually the first to announce raises and make corporate/cultural changes while Deloitte is the most conservative and waits for all the other players to make a move before they decide to do anything.

11/26/12

Considering that 2 years at a public accounting firm and 2 years with an FLDP will offer different skill-sets, I was hoping you could give us your opinion on which you think is more relevant to what you do now.

You mentioned your path was originally Audit --> TAS --> IBD/MBA --> PE/VC/HF. Would that be more likely than, say: FLDP --> ER/MBA --> HF

11/26/12
equitydigger:

Considering that 2 years at a public accounting firm and 2 years with an FLDP will offer different skill-sets, I was hoping you could give us your opinion on which you think is more relevant to what you do now.

You mentioned your path was originally Audit --> TAS --> IBD/MBA --> PE/VC/HF. Would that be more likely than, say: FLDP --> ER/MBA --> HF

I don't know what skills you learn/daily tasks you are responsible for in the FLDP so I cannot comment. I can only provide my real life experience as it relates to coming from audit.

11/26/12

Congrats! You recently replied to one of my posts but was hoping to have a more detailed answer. For someone that is coming out undergrad and is looking at getting into other non-banking finance jobs such as corporate banking, valuation shops, etc. or working my way up in corporate finance as an entry level hire (non-rotational) would going the Big4 route have any opportunities. As a note, I am not interested in doing accounting and enjoy finance but don't actually mind putting a few years into big 4 audit if it will give better opportunities down the road.

In short for a financial services (non-banking career), finance positions in F500s, top16 MBA, would you suggest Big4 audit or entry level financial analyst program in a F500.

11/26/12
n1cktm:

Congrats! You recently replied to one of my posts but was hoping to have a more detailed answer. For someone that is coming out undergrad and is looking at getting into other non-banking finance jobs such as corporate banking, valuation shops, etc. or working my way up in corporate finance as an entry level hire (non-rotational) would going the Big4 route have any opportunities. As a note, I am not interested in doing accounting and enjoy finance but don't actually mind putting a few years into big 4 audit if it will give better opportunities down the road.

In short for a financial services (non-banking career), finance positions in F500s, top16 MBA, would you suggest Big4 audit or entry level financial analyst program in a F500.

People try to jump from audit to finance. Some succeed, many fail. No one ever jumps from finance to audit. Why would you put yourself in a position to possibly fail when you already have an entry into finance? I'm still sticking with my original decision that I posted in your thread and the general consensus from all other posters seem to agree.

11/26/12

Have you personally seen people with just 5 years of experience in Big 4 Audit go directly into Manager level positions at a F500?

11/26/12
AsianMonky:

Have you personally seen people with just 5 years of experience in Big 4 Audit go directly into Manager level positions at a F500?

No. Not for C-level, not for Director level, not for VP level, not even for accounting manager level. They will hire a senior manager (7-8+ years) to be an accounting manager instead of a newly promoted manager simply because the sr. manager has more experience. Yes, I have seen sr. managers leave for director of financial reporting roles at F500, but nothing finance related which is what I believe your desired end-goal is.

However, at a start-up, yes, I have seen a manager (5 years) transition to accounting manager at the start-up and earn a decent size of earnings after their recent IPO.

11/26/12

Asian Monkey, I'd have say a possible answer to the question is it depends. It might be an outlier, but I did 2 years big 4 audit in a specific industry and received a promotion to Senior Associate 1 year early, then did 1 year in transaction services-financial due diligence, and then landed a manager level economic demand/revenue forecasting job at a F100 in the same industry I used to audit. So in total, that's only 3 years experience. Given this was a less traditional movement (ie movement from accounting to finance), I can't imagine that high performing accountants with 5 years experience haven't been able to land manager level accounting jobs at a larger public company, so I don't believe these types of moves would be exclusive to startups or smaller companies. I've never paid much attention to the typical exit ops that auditors pursue as I've only focused on those who picked up interesting gigs. I can say i've seen a nasty trend of auditors becoming so fed up with their jobs that they rushed through the recruitment process in desperate desire to get out, and accepted really sub-par accounting/internal audit/financial reporting jobs at some dumpy companies. Not sure what their logic was other than lack of career planning/initiative/ and understanding of exit ops available.

Some really good content in this post, 100% spot on w the assertion that auditing financial service type client VC/PE/MF/HF has the least transferable skill set to an actual finance job. You're auditing the backoffice work of some of the sloppiest financial info on those clients, whereas an audit of a tech or pharma company can provide some functional industry insight that's directly transferable to ER and investing.

11/26/12

Asian Monkey, I'd have say a possible answer to the question is it depends. It might be an outlier, but I did 2 years big 4 audit in a specific industry and received a promotion to Senior Associate 1 year early, then did 1 year in transaction services-financial due diligence, and then landed a manager level economic demand/revenue forecasting job at a F100 in the same industry I used to audit. So in total, that's only 3 years experience. Given this was a less traditional movement (ie movement from accounting to finance), I can't imagine that high performing accountants with 5 years experience haven't been able to land manager level accounting jobs at a larger public company, so I don't believe these types of moves would be exclusive to startups or smaller companies. I've never paid much attention to the typical exit ops that auditors pursue as I've only focused on those who picked up interesting gigs. I can say i've seen a nasty trend of auditors becoming so fed up with their jobs that they rushed through the recruitment process in desperate desire to get out, and accepted really sub-par accounting/internal audit/financial reporting jobs at some dumpy companies. Not sure what their logic was other than lack of career planning/initiative/ and understanding of exit ops available.

Some really good content in this post, 100% spot on w the assertion that auditing financial service type client VC/PE/MF/HF has the least transferable skill set to an actual finance job. You're auditing the backoffice work of some of the sloppiest financial info on those clients, whereas an audit of a tech or pharma company can provide some functional industry insight that's directly transferable to ER and investing.

11/26/12
marine13910:

Asian Monkey, I'd have say a possible answer to the question is it depends. It might be an outlier, but I did 2 years big 4 audit in a specific industry and received a promotion to Senior Associate 1 year early, then did 1 year in transaction services-financial due diligence, and then landed a manager level economic demand/revenue forecasting job at a F100 in the same industry I used to audit. So in total, that's only 3 years experience. Given this was a less traditional movement (ie movement from accounting to finance), I can't imagine that high performing accountants with 5 years experience haven't been able to land manager level accounting jobs at a larger public company, so I don't believe these types of moves would be exclusive to startups or smaller companies. I've never paid much attention to the typical exit ops that auditors pursue as I've only focused on those who picked up interesting gigs. I can say i've seen a nasty trend of auditors becoming so fed up with their jobs that they rushed through the recruitment process in desperate desire to get out, and accepted really sub-par accounting/internal audit/financial reporting jobs at some dumpy companies. Not sure what their logic was other than lack of career planning/initiative/ and understanding of exit ops available.

Some really good content in this post, 100% spot on w the assertion that auditing financial service type client VC/PE/MF/HF has the least transferable skill set to an actual finance job. You're auditing the backoffice work of some of the sloppiest financial info on those clients, whereas an audit of a tech or pharma company can provide some functional industry insight that's directly transferable to ER and investing.

Thanks for your input. I would like to stress that you had to leave audit and gain other skills necessary to obtain the manager level role. I believe Asian Monkey's misconception is that you can stay in audit for 5 years and make a direct transition to a F500 at the manager level, which I would like to stress, is not possible.

I try to avoid saying nothing is impossible (especially given my background), but this is one of the few exceptions.

11/26/12

Could you maybe give a good idea of how the industry/client group you audit at the big four affects things such as hours worked, stress, travel and the like? I am considering an audit position for the summer and am unsure of what each different group brings to the table. Thanks for the great posts btw.

11/26/12
Higheck123:

Could you maybe give a good idea of how the industry/client group you audit at the big four affects things such as hours worked, stress, travel and the like? I am considering an audit position for the summer and am unsure of what each different group brings to the table. Thanks for the great posts btw.

They're all pretty much comparable - it mostly comes down to how picky your senior/manager/partner are as that directly influences the amount of documentation (read: hours worked) required. In general, public companies will be longer engagements due to the additional compliance requirements (SOX testing, hard deadlines). However, you could get a private company with an incompetent accounting stuff that results in a bunch of accounting errors and the time it takes to test and document away those errors could easily be more than the time spent doing SOX testing.

As an intern, at the major markets at least, they'll most likely put you on public engagements as those engagements need the most resources. You may get to choose, but probably not. However, they will rotate you from engagement to engagement so you should be able to experience a broad range of industries based on what your office offers.

11/26/12

Thanks for answering so many questions, I feel that they have tremendously benefited a lot of posters here. I have a few questions of my own also.

1) As an undergrad, did you do any relevant internships in either accounting/finance?

2) Were the headhunters you connected with through Linkedin eager to help you or did you have to work your way into their interest?

3) Could you explain a little bit more in detail how you handled the technical questions in the interview thought process wise?

Thanks for your time.

11/26/12
GrandJury:

Thanks for answering so many questions, I feel that they have tremendously benefited a lot of posters here. I have a few questions of my own also.

1) As an undergrad, did you do any relevant internships in either accounting/finance?

2) Were the headhunters you connected with through Linkedin eager to help you or did you have to work your way into their interest?

3) Could you explain a little bit more in detail how you handled the technical questions in the interview thought process wise?

Thanks for your time.

(1) Finance internship (nothing special or amazing) and that's it - was able to explain my lack of relevant internships due to the fact that I decided to take accounting courses late in my college career and was essentially taking 6 classes per quarter for 6 quarters (pretty much in class all day long, no possible opportunity to work 20 hrs/wk)

(2) Hit or miss, some were nice, some were useless. Really depends on the headhunter. Great thing is there are millions of them so just keep reaching out to different ones.

(3) Just walk them through your thought process - very similar to the case studies for consulting interviews. Be as specific as you can, even explaining the most rudimentary steps and be able to explain your rationale

11/26/12

As someone who went Big4 Audit -> TS -> IB, I just want to confirm that everything itsinthebag has said is absolutely accurate.

Many people in audit don't realize that if you perform well, stay intellectually curious, and get out early enough, your exit opps can be quite broad. These exit opps narrow out the longer you stay.

Night putter.

11/26/12
MitchKumstein:

As someone who went Big4 Audit -> TS -> IB, I just want to confirm that everything itsinthebag has said is absolutely accurate.

Many people in audit don't realize that if you perform well, stay intellectually curious, and get out early enough, your exit opps can be quite broad. These exit opps narrow out the longer you stay.

Thanks for the support. Much appreciated.

11/26/12
MitchKumstein:

As someone who went Big4 Audit -> TS -> IB, I just want to confirm that everything itsinthebag has said is absolutely accurate.

Many people in audit don't realize that if you perform well, stay intellectually curious, and get out early enough, your exit opps can be quite broad. These exit opps narrow out the longer you stay.

Thanks for the support. Much appreciated.

11/26/12

1.) For those entering Audit(Financial Services) how quickly would you advise them to start looking for finance related opportunities?

0-1 years before qualifying for the CPA
1-2 years after qualifying for CPA but before making Senior
2 years after making Senior

2.) Or do you believe that staying adds no value and you should begin the process right away

Also you mentioned that you chose not to pursue the CFA, do you believe that having a level or two out of the way would help you with recruiters/networking/interviews?

Thank you, I registered here just to ask!

11/26/12
Ruskii:

1.) For those entering Audit(Financial Services) how quickly would you advise them to start looking for finance related opportunities?

0-1 years before qualifying for the CPA
1-2 years after qualifying for CPA but before making Senior
2 years after making Senior

2.) Or do you believe that staying adds no value and you should begin the process right away

Also you mentioned that you chose not to pursue the CFA, do you believe that having a level or two out of the way would help you with recruiters/networking/interviews?

Thank you, I registered here just to ask!

ASAP; also work on getting your CPA license in case your search extends beyond a year. The longer you stay in audit, the harder it will be to transition into finance. Just make sure you have a legitimate "why finance" and "why you started in audit" story.

With regards to the CFA - I don't see why not, it's definitely not a golden ticket by any means but could show your potential and desire to work in finance.

11/26/12

If you could have started directly in TAS instead of auditing would you have. I am trying to decide between Big 4 Audit position or due diligence assoicate with Duff & Phelps. I ultimately would like to gear my career towards finance and PE if possible.

-Thanks

11/26/12
Juniper:

If you could have started directly in TAS instead of auditing would you have. I am trying to decide between Big 4 Audit position or due diligence assoicate with Duff & Phelps. I ultimately would like to gear my career towards finance and PE if possible.

-Thanks

Without a doubt, yes.

11/26/12

If you could have started directly in TAS instead of auditing would you have. I am trying to decide between Big 4 Audit position or due diligence assoicate with Duff & Phelps. I ultimately would like to gear my career towards finance and PE if possible.

-Thanks

11/26/12

Lets talk about how green the grass is over there. I'm in audit and I'm wondering if I should abandon my goals of going to "high finance" (buy or sell side...). The hours are manageable here, comp is decent and progressive, and exit opps are decent. I know I won't be a millionaire (through employment) any time soon but it is stable and I can expect around 100K comp in around 7 years.

Do you think it is absolutely worth it to go for the switch? I don't see anything about the hours on here but how are the hours? Dare I ask compensation? You said you were a HF analyst, could you give us an example of your duties and what makes the job so much more awesome thank audit (besides not having to do controls testing).

11/26/12
Soros:

Lets talk about how green the grass is over there. I'm in audit and I'm wondering if I should abandon my goals of going to "high finance" (buy or sell side...). The hours are manageable here, comp is decent and progressive, and exit opps are decent. I know I won't be a millionaire (through employment) any time soon but it is stable and I can expect around 100K comp in around 7 years.

Do you think it is absolutely worth it to go for the switch? I don't see anything about the hours on here but how are the hours? Dare I ask compensation? You said you were a HF analyst, could you give us an example of your duties and what makes the job so much more awesome thank audit (besides not having to do controls testing).

Oh man, you just opened up a can of worms. Please bear with me on this post as there may be some rambling. You have essentially asked me what I hated about audit (everything), but I'll do my best to keep it concise.

You must be a first year. Not going to lie, my first year in audit I had those exact same thoughts - hours and pay weren't that bad and I was learning a lot. I think the belief that your pay isn't bad is attributed to the fact that you've never made this much money in your life for a mere 2 weeks of work. Trust me, it quickly fades. The moment I began to senior an engagement, saw how many hours I was working vs. what they were paying me, as well as how ridiculously mundane/boring my work was, I quickly began the process of jumping ship. One example - sending emails to facilitate a meeting between the partner, manager and client. Partners never respond to you, the client gets angry at you and all you can do is sit there while the client yells at you with a smile on your face because it's proper client service. You'll quickly find a majority of the issues seniors deal with are administrative related and firm-specific (e.g., navigating your firm's internal website to request a tax consultant or valuation consultant, etc..) and mastering these skills provides zero transferable skills to any other job. I can easily list another 5-10 things I hated about being a senior but won't, for brevity purposes.

Comp progression is ridiculously slow, don't believe any of those charts you see where they say you'll be 1.5x your salary in 3 years or whatever. That is ONLY for the #1 performer in the firm. If you're #2, don't expect to be on that salary progression. I was consistently top-rated, up for early promotion and always thought I would get more than what they actually ended up giving me. Compensation discussions were always a huge disappointment and I always left with a sore bum and there's nothing you can do to change your pay raise. Threaten to quit? Go ahead, they'll find another drone who is more than willing to replace you. Transfer to another firm? OK, you've gotten a one-time pay raise, but what happens next year? The same thing, and you can't keep transferring between firms. Also, later found out some of my peers were higher rated than me even though I had other managers tell me my work was extremely better- it's just that they had a great personal relationship with the partners since their internship (I did not intern at Big 4; these guys were literally golfing with the partners on the weekend), and as such, their political capital = higher rating. I want to work in a culture where my pay is determined by my quality of work, not my golf handicap (I'm like a weed whacker out there on the course).

My base salary is 30-50% higher than what I left at audit. I also have an annual bonus % significantly higher than the bonus % allocated for seniors (think 8-12x multiple). Every time I read a 10K and see a restatement, discontinued segments, foreign exchange translations, consolidations, essentially every footnote, a HUGE smile spreads across my face because I know the sweat and pain that went into making sure that number was correct. I'm grateful for your help, but I'm happy I'm not doing the work. Also, not to mention with busy season around the corner, it's nice to know I won't be working on MLK day for a change and can book vacation any time during the year (my firm would not let anyone take PTO during busy season, I even had to reschedule jury duty).

In terms of hours, I work about 12-15 hours a day, but the hours are not an issue (I was working about 10-12 hours a day as an audit senior for comparison purposes) because I actually enjoy what I do, I am actually learning transferable skills should I decide to leave and the pay is that much better. Not to mention, whenever I get tired, I just think about how I could be still in audit and that automatically gets my gears cranking again. Also, I have ridiculous perks at my firm which you do not have in audit. I used to enjoy the travel, but it got old quickly as I was commuting by car, not by air. It's nice to be able to go to the same place every day and have your own office versus a crammed audit room that usually has no windows.

For me, the grass truly is greener on the other side.

11/26/12

Thanks for the great post. I think this is something alot of WSO users are interested in. That being said, I have a question for you. I will be working in Audit at Deloitte/PwC after graduation. I have heard that one should audit the field they wish to pursue, but from what you have said this is wrong. You said "I have audited PE/VC/HF clients and the knowledge gained from those engagements has done absolutely nothing for me in my current capacity." For a first year Auditor, what industry should I try and get into if my ultimate goal is PE/VC/HF.
Thanks

11/26/12
FutureWaller:

Thanks for the great post. I think this is something alot of WSO users are interested in. That being said, I have a question for you. I will be working in Audit at Deloitte/PwC after graduation. I have heard that one should audit the field they wish to pursue, but from what you have said this is wrong. You said "I have audited PE/VC/HF clients and the knowledge gained from those engagements has done absolutely nothing for me in my current capacity." For a first year Auditor, what industry should I try and get into if my ultimate goal is PE/VC/HF.
Thanks

It is a true statement for people who wish to continue in accounting, not make the switch to finance - there is a major difference. If you want to be a controller at a software company, you'd better audit a software company to learn about the financial reporting requirements and the accounting nuances of the industry. However, you are attempting to switch careers so you should work in the industry you want to be in at the PE/VC/HF. If your end goal is tech VC, then audit tech companies, if you want to do retail PE, then audit consumer goods, etc...

I hope this makes sense (staying in accounting vs. switching careers), please let me know if it doesn't and I will do my best to further clarify. This is a major misconception and constantly proliferated through bro-science.

11/26/12

Another note on Big 4 compensation. I've built comp models out of boredom around this idea. Comp at all levels other than partner is terrible. At all Staff-Sr. Mgr/Director levels, you are underpaid by an incremental amount equal to the difference between what a partner makes and what an equivelently successful accountant (lets say F500 VP level) would make, for all the partner years, multiplied by the probability of making partner, discounted to present value and spread throughout the years as a non-partner.

What this equation should tell anyone who plans to stay at the big 4 longer than a couple years but without intent to stay long enough to make partner is that when you remove the possibility of making partner (and giant potential salary) you are vastly underpaid.

For anyone considering big 4 as a stepping stone to finance, it's important to remember that anything is possible, but you will likely hate the act of auditing. Auditors may technically be front office staff for a firm, but the work entails reviewing the sloppy, lazy backoffice work of financial reporting types. Since financial reporting is nothing more than a cost center to a company, a company will never invest in improving it, and certainly won't do so when they already pay the big 4 auditor large sums to get comfortable with the mess. There are few people who find this even slightly tolerable, and those who do simply don't understand what's really taking place (a zero value add career should wear out just about anyone with cognative brain activity).

11/26/12

Itsinthebag, thank you for the wonderful post! Like your former self, I just started my second year as a staff and am looking to transition out of audit ASAP (I have my CPA). I have a couple of questions:

1. Which is better - Business Valuation or Due Dilligence/TAS at the Big 4? I'm looking to transfer into one of these roles and based on the job descriptions, Due Dilligence just sounds like auditing for M&As, whereas business valuation seems like it is more finance related (valuation of financial instruments, intangible assets, etc). Which role would have more interesting work and better compensation and exit opportunities into industry roles down the road (strategy/corporate development/internal M&A etc)?

2. Does a "Sales Financial Analyst" job at a F100 company fall under the "corporate accounting" role you described in your post? I am currently interviewing for a position in Sales Finance at a well known F100 firm and the job is mostly a lot of forecasting analysis, analyzing customer P/Ls, working with the sales people to determine sales budgets etc. The work sounds interesting to me, but I don't know if I'm better off pursuing the TAS/Business Valuation role at a Big 4.

I don't know how feasible a transition into TAS/BVal will be given that my first year ratings were average (which is what 90% of the first years get). Is it possible to transition into TAS at another Big 4 and is it harder than transitioning internally? I know ratings are key, so should I not expect to get an internal transfer if I'm not in the top bucket?

Thanks for your help!

11/26/12
greatlakes77:

Itsinthebag, thank you for the wonderful post! Like your former self, I just started my second year as a staff and am looking to transition out of audit ASAP (I have my CPA). I have a couple of questions:

1. Which is better - Business Valuation or Due Dilligence/TAS at the Big 4? I'm looking to transfer into one of these roles and based on the job descriptions, Due Dilligence just sounds like auditing for M&As, whereas business valuation seems like it is more finance related (valuation of financial instruments, intangible assets, etc). Which role would have more interesting work and better compensation and exit opportunities into industry roles down the road (strategy/corporate development/internal M&A etc)?

2. Does a "Sales Financial Analyst" job at a F100 company fall under the "corporate accounting" role you described in your post? I am currently interviewing for a position in Sales Finance at a well known F100 firm and the job is mostly a lot of forecasting analysis, analyzing customer P/Ls, working with the sales people to determine sales budgets etc. The work sounds interesting to me, but I don't know if I'm better off pursuing the TAS/Business Valuation role at a Big 4.

I don't know how feasible a transition into TAS/BVal will be given that my first year ratings were average (which is what 90% of the first years get). Is it possible to transition into TAS at another Big 4 and is it harder than transitioning internally? I know ratings are key, so should I not expect to get an internal transfer if I'm not in the top bucket?

Thanks for your help!

#1 - correct, TAS is essentially a glorified audit position, but you are closer to the transaction process and begin to develop financial skills, which are both relevant skills necessary to make the leap to IBD. Business valuation is a different type of finance. If you take a look at your business valuation principals/partners, they most likely all have CFA's and I'd be hard pressed to find an M&A partner with a CFA. Depends on where you want to go as each path leads to a different type of finance.

#2 - doesn't sound like it based on your daily responsibilities - just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

#3 - I would recommend looking at non Big 4's (e.g., Alvarez & Marsal, Duff & Phelps, Houlihan Lokey, etc...) and leaving your Big 4 firm all together. In my office, they only accepted manager & above for a rotation into the TAS arm, but could be different at your firm. Also, my office would rotate the TAS people into audit engagements when there were no active deals and I wanted to leave audit for good.

11/26/12
itsinthebag:

just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

Can you expand on this? I'm currently looking at an internship with an F500, which would involve quarter-end and some month-end closings, as well as some analysis of these (what they mean, and if they are compliant.) The job focuses on budgets as opposed to revenues.

I know that you're coming from the public side of things, but would you say any of this has relevance?

11/27/12
equitydigger:
itsinthebag:

just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

Can you expand on this? I'm currently looking at an internship with an F500, which would involve quarter-end and some month-end closings, as well as some analysis of these (what they mean, and if they are compliant.) The job focuses on budgets as opposed to revenues.

I know that you're coming from the public side of things, but would you say any of this has relevance?

Month-end closing: An accounting procedure undertaken at the end of the month to close out the current posting period. It is part of a company's closing operations.

Relevance to what exactly?

11/27/12
itsinthebag:
equitydigger:
itsinthebag:

just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

Can you expand on this? I'm currently looking at an internship with an F500, which would involve quarter-end and some month-end closings, as well as some analysis of these (what they mean, and if they are compliant.) The job focuses on budgets as opposed to revenues.

I know that you're coming from the public side of things, but would you say any of this has relevance?

Month-end closing: An accounting procedure undertaken at the end of the month to close out the current posting period. It is part of a company's closing operations.

Relevance to what exactly?

Relevance to what you're doing right now. I'm sure closing doesn't, but I was hoping the analysis aspect would teach me some useful things about the mechanics of the company. I'm just trying to figure out how I can leverage this experience to learn something useful for security analysis.

11/27/12
itsinthebag:

#1 - correct, TAS is essentially a glorified audit position, but you are closer to the transaction process and begin to develop financial skills, which are both relevant skills necessary to make the leap to IBD. Business valuation is a different type of finance. If you take a look at your business valuation principals/partners, they most likely all have CFA's and I'd be hard pressed to find an M&A partner with a CFA. Depends on where you want to go as each path leads to a different type of finance.

#2 - doesn't sound like it based on your daily responsibilities - just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

#3 - I would recommend looking at non Big 4's (e.g., Alvarez & Marsal, Duff & Phelps, Houlihan Lokey, etc...) and leaving your Big 4 firm all together. In my office, they only accepted manager & above for a rotation into the TAS arm, but could be different at your firm. Also, my office would rotate the TAS people into audit engagements when there were no active deals and I wanted to leave audit for good.

Can you elaborate on #1?

What kind of career path would Business Valuation take you towards in terms of Exit Opp to Finance. Would Business Valuation look better to PE or would TAS still be the top choice?

11/27/12
itsinthebag:
greatlakes77:

Itsinthebag, thank you for the wonderful post! Like your former self, I just started my second year as a staff and am looking to transition out of audit ASAP (I have my CPA). I have a couple of questions:

1. Which is better - Business Valuation or Due Dilligence/TAS at the Big 4? I'm looking to transfer into one of these roles and based on the job descriptions, Due Dilligence just sounds like auditing for M&As, whereas business valuation seems like it is more finance related (valuation of financial instruments, intangible assets, etc). Which role would have more interesting work and better compensation and exit opportunities into industry roles down the road (strategy/corporate development/internal M&A etc)?

2. Does a "Sales Financial Analyst" job at a F100 company fall under the "corporate accounting" role you described in your post? I am currently interviewing for a position in Sales Finance at a well known F100 firm and the job is mostly a lot of forecasting analysis, analyzing customer P/Ls, working with the sales people to determine sales budgets etc. The work sounds interesting to me, but I don't know if I'm better off pursuing the TAS/Business Valuation role at a Big 4.

I don't know how feasible a transition into TAS/BVal will be given that my first year ratings were average (which is what 90% of the first years get). Is it possible to transition into TAS at another Big 4 and is it harder than transitioning internally? I know ratings are key, so should I not expect to get an internal transfer if I'm not in the top bucket?

Thanks for your help!

#1 - correct, TAS is essentially a glorified audit position, but you are closer to the transaction process and begin to develop financial skills, which are both relevant skills necessary to make the leap to IBD. Business valuation is a different type of finance. If you take a look at your business valuation principals/partners, they most likely all have CFA's and I'd be hard pressed to find an M&A partner with a CFA. Depends on where you want to go as each path leads to a different type of finance.

#2 - doesn't sound like it based on your daily responsibilities - just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

#3 - I would recommend looking at non Big 4's (e.g., Alvarez & Marsal, Duff & Phelps, Houlihan Lokey, etc...) and leaving your Big 4 firm all together. In my office, they only accepted manager & above for a rotation into the TAS arm, but could be different at your firm. Also, my office would rotate the TAS people into audit engagements when there were no active deals and I wanted to leave audit for good.

I agree with most every you have said - but I have to disagree that valuation is a better way to break into a finance related role vs. due dilligence. From my experience ( just over a year at big 4 in major city ) and having done a rotation into the due dilligence group, I have seen guys from the group leave for IBD gigs / top MBA's / top consulting shops on the regular.

Valuation on the other hand is much more aligned with audit and is, in essence, an audit support function. They have 'busy seasons' just like auditors b/c the majority of their work is simply giving a 'fairness' opinion / saying they are comfortable with valuations that a third party has assigned to an audit client on stock options / intangibles / etc.

You could argue that you are exposed to 'valuation models' and that you can pick up a lot of knowledge - to me that is the only argument to be made with regards to valuation over FDD. On the other hand - you could make teh same argument for FDD - and an even stronger argument. When you're in the FDD group the majority of the work you do is quality of earnings analysis / NWC adjustments / really just look for any 'black holes' that the bank / buyer has missed. You are given full access to the data-rooms / the private equity guys models & cash flow projections, etc.

There is a TREMENDOUS amount of knowledge to be gained from exposure to this type of stuff if your ultimate goal is to jump to IBD / PE.

I have no experience in the valuations group, but from what I have gathered while working on an audit client that used them / my time in TAS, they are basically ticking / tying someone's models & making sure nothing was left out...

Am I going wrong here?

11/27/12
MistaBooks:

I agree with most every you have said - but I have to disagree that valuation is a better way to break into a finance related role vs. due dilligence. From my experience ( just over a year at big 4 in major city ) and having done a rotation into the due dilligence group, I have seen guys from the group leave for IBD gigs / top MBA's / top consulting shops on the regular.

Valuation on the other hand is much more aligned with audit and is, in essence, an audit support function. They have 'busy seasons' just like auditors b/c the majority of their work is simply giving a 'fairness' opinion / saying they are comfortable with valuations that a third party has assigned to an audit client on stock options / intangibles / etc.

You could argue that you are exposed to 'valuation models' and that you can pick up a lot of knowledge - to me that is the only argument to be made with regards to valuation over FDD. On the other hand - you could make teh same argument for FDD - and an even stronger argument. When you're in the FDD group the majority of the work you do is quality of earnings analysis / NWC adjustments / really just look for any 'black holes' that the bank / buyer has missed. You are given full access to the data-rooms / the private equity guys models & cash flow projections, etc.

There is a TREMENDOUS amount of knowledge to be gained from exposure to this type of stuff if your ultimate goal is to jump to IBD / PE.

I have no experience in the valuations group, but from what I have gathered while working on an audit client that used them / my time in TAS, they are basically ticking / tying someone's models & making sure nothing was left out...

Am I going wrong here?

cool this answers my question. I see the value in that and after that explanation would much rather do the Due Diligence in the TAS group

11/27/12
itsinthebag:
greatlakes77:

#1 - correct, TAS is essentially a glorified audit position, but you are closer to the transaction process and begin to develop financial skills, which are both relevant skills necessary to make the leap to IBD. Business valuation is a different type of finance. If you take a look at your business valuation principals/partners, they most likely all have CFA's and I'd be hard pressed to find an M&A partner with a CFA. Depends on where you want to go as each path leads to a different type of finance.

#2 - doesn't sound like it based on your daily responsibilities - just make sure there's no month-end closing involved.

#3 - I would recommend looking at non Big 4's (e.g., Alvarez & Marsal, Duff & Phelps, Houlihan Lokey, etc...) and leaving your Big 4 firm all together. In my office, they only accepted manager & above for a rotation into the TAS arm, but could be different at your firm. Also, my office would rotate the TAS people into audit engagements when there were no active deals and I wanted to leave audit for good.

I agree with most every you have said - but I have to disagree that valuation is a better way to break into a finance related role vs. due dilligence. From my experience ( just over a year at big 4 in major city ) and having done a rotation into the due dilligence group, I have seen guys from the group leave for IBD gigs / top MBA's / top consulting shops on the regular.

Valuation on the other hand is much more aligned with audit and is, in essence, an audit support function. They have 'busy seasons' just like auditors b/c the majority of their work is simply giving a 'fairness' opinion / saying they are comfortable with valuations that a third party has assigned to an audit client on stock options / intangibles / etc.

You could argue that you are exposed to 'valuation models' and that you can pick up a lot of knowledge - to me that is the only argument to be made with regards to valuation over FDD. On the other hand - you could make teh same argument for FDD - and an even stronger argument. When you're in the FDD group the majority of the work you do is quality of earnings analysis / NWC adjustments / really just look for any 'black holes' that the bank / buyer has missed. You are given full access to the data-rooms / the private equity guys models & cash flow projections, etc.

There is a TREMENDOUS amount of knowledge to be gained from exposure to this type of stuff if your ultimate goal is to jump to IBD / PE.

I have no experience in the valuations group, but from what I have gathered while working on an audit client that used them / my time in TAS, they are basically ticking / tying someone's models & making sure nothing was left out...

Am I going wrong here?

No where do I mention valuation is a better way to break into finance vs. due diligence. I said they are different types of finance. Nothing you said was wrong.

11/27/12

Itsinthebag, thank you for doing this! Do you know if it is possible to do Audit -> ER or would you have to go Audit -> MBA -> ER. I am aware that ER does not do very much hiring out of UG, so I am looking at other ways of breaking in.

11/27/12
Siddhartha:

Itsinthebag, thank you for doing this! Do you know if it is possible to do Audit -> ER or would you have to go Audit -> MBA -> ER. I am aware that ER does not do very much hiring out of UG, so I am looking at other ways of breaking in.

I did not look into ER jobs so I honestly have no clue. None of my audit peers pursued ER, but I think that's more a function of everyone in audit wanting to pursue IBD/FP&A - a lot of auditors only shoot for IBD/FP&A because it's their only concept of finance. I'm sure it's possible if you work hard enough.

11/27/12

Would you be able to give a few details on what you do as an audit intern at big 4? I do not know if I want to go down this route but the summer internship seems like a good opportunity to get some training and experience. Also, do you think if I chose to not continue with public accounting after an internship, that the big 4 name would grab the attention of hr? Just want to get a better idea of what I am getting into and what I can look forward to in the future.

11/27/12
Higheck123:

Would you be able to give a few details on what you do as an audit intern at big 4? I do not know if I want to go down this route but the summer internship seems like a good opportunity to get some training and experience. Also, do you think if I chose to not continue with public accounting after an internship, that the big 4 name would grab the attention of hr? Just want to get a better idea of what I am getting into and what I can look forward to in the future.

40 hr/wks, social gatherings (national training is awesome), free gifts and pranks. From a work perspective, mostly updating dates, excel formatting (bold, italicize, highlight, underline some words/numbers/cells) and grabbing lunch. Depending on your potential, they may give you some basic cash testing, flux analysis (analyze movement in accounts over periods of time) or control testing.

I was not an intern, but I did work with several interns - one I actually gave cash testing to, the other I played pranks on all day. They both ended up getting FT offers so don't think that if you're only getting lunch all day you're not going to get a FT offer.

Yes, after IBD/Consulting, Big 4 on your resume is the best option.

11/27/12
itsinthebag:

Yes, after IBD/Consulting, Big 4 on your resume is the best option.

Just to confirm, this was in relation to a junior year internship or for FT? I thought having Big 4 on your resume is essentially being branded as an accountant which makes it really difficult to transition to non-accounting roles.

I was also wondering for people who cant break directly into IB out of undergrad, what types of jobs do you recommend they go after to have the best opportunity to lateral (or break in post-MBA0? Perhaps you can rank these jobs and show where big4 stays relative to the non-IBD jobs.

11/27/12
n1cktm:
itsinthebag:

Yes, after IBD/Consulting, Big 4 on your resume is the best option.

Just to confirm, this was in relation to a junior year internship or for FT? I thought having Big 4 on your resume is essentially being branded as an accountant which makes it really difficult to transition to non-accounting roles.

I was also wondering for people who cant break directly into IB out of undergrad, what types of jobs do you recommend they go after to have the best opportunity to lateral (or break in post-MBA0? Perhaps you can rank these jobs and show where big4 stays relative to the non-IBD jobs.

Refer to my original post, response to calikid3820 as well as Mistabook's posts on here.

11/27/12

What is the typical pay range for staff, senior, and manager. What is the typical % increase each year?

11/27/12
n1cktm:

What is the typical pay range for staff, senior, and manager. What is the typical % increase each year?

Varies based on your region and whether or not you have an advanced degree. % increase varies based on your region, individual performance and firm's overall performance. Beginning salary will range from $45K-$55K with an undergrad degree, tack an additional $5K for MACC/MBA. I have seen % increases range from 2% - 25%.

11/27/12

How did you go about scheduling interviews and job hunting while working? Were you able to schedule most before/after work or did you have to great creative about absences. Any additional thoughts would be good!

Thanks for the insights!

11/27/12
Ruskii:

How did you go about scheduling interviews and job hunting while working? Were you able to schedule most before/after work or did you have to great creative about absences. Any additional thoughts would be good!

Thanks for the insights!

Would like to know this too!

And thanks for your earlier response.

11/27/12
greatlakes77:
Ruskii:

How did you go about scheduling interviews and job hunting while working? Were you able to schedule most before/after work or did you have to great creative about absences. Any additional thoughts would be good!

Thanks for the insights!

Would like to know this too!

And thanks for your earlier response.

Communicate with your managers. Most of them are realistic and understand that 99% of their staff have no intention of making Partner. If they don't let you go, use PTO.

11/27/12

I left Big 4 Valuation after 2 years, and just want to highlight that a very large majority of people in BVAL would love to exit to "high finance" and are not able to, due to being pigeonholed, coupled with the economy. I would argue here that if you are stuck in Big 4 for more than 5+ years - the BETTER route is Audit. People are not making partner in Valuation/TAS nearly as fast as Audit Partners since fees for advisory collapsed and the economy will likely never go back to where it was. After 5 years in Valuation (without an MBA) you can only exit to basically other valuation roles at professional services firms. In Audit, you still could become CFO at an outside company, which could be a great gig.

TLDR - I was in Big 4 Valuation, and after heavy research came to the realization that everyone wants to exit, but most are pigeonholed in valuation. Audit can actually offer better exit opps than Valuation if you are at the firm for more than 4+ years. Also, the Partner track is MUCH easier in Audit, and the pay is essentially the same.

11/27/12

Thank you for the input LevFin GS. Much appreciated as I did not work in valuation. Added several comments to your post below.

LevFinGS:
I left Big 4 Valuation after 2 years, and just want to highlight that a very large majority of people in BVAL would love to exit to "high finance" and are not able to, due to being pigeonholed, coupled with the economy.

Agreed, but also no different from audit - I think anyone with ambition entering the realm of accounting/finance wants to exit to "high finance".

LevFinGS:
I would argue here that if you are stuck in Big 4 for more than 5+ years - the BETTER route is Audit. People are not making partner in Valuation/TAS nearly as fast as Audit Partners since fees for advisory collapsed and the economy will likely never go back to where it was. After 5 years in Valuation (without an MBA) you can only exit to basically other valuation roles at professional services firms. In Audit, you still could become CFO at an outside company, which could be a great gig.

Curious to know, is it possible to go straight from valuation to a top MBA? I have not seen anyone go straight from audit to a top MBA program. They all had to transition to a different industry and work there several years before landing at a top program.

Definitely agree about the exit opp for a valuation employee w/o an MBA - I've come across that profile many times while auditing private companies and working with their valuation firms.

What established Company would hire an auditor as CFO within only 5 years experience? MAYBE a start-up, but you'll be working your ass off for options that may never materialize. You're pretty much banking on finding the next Google. That being said, I still agree that there are more opportunities from audit as you can go IA, Corp. Accounting, TAS, PCAOB, law school, etc... I just think that becoming CFO after 5 years is a bit naive.

LevFinGS:
TLDR - I was in Big 4 Valuation, and after heavy research came to the realization that everyone wants to exit, but most are pigeonholed in valuation. Audit can actually offer better exit opps than Valuation if you are at the firm for more than 4+ years. Also, the Partner track is MUCH easier in Audit, and the pay is essentially the same.

Audit partners universally make the lowest of all Big 4 functions. Also, the nature of auditing is so much more boring than valuation; both may be dry, but audit is hands down worse. It's only easier because you're looking at the nominal HC of Audit Partners vs. Valuation Partners. If you look at the % of those who climb the ranks from their 1st year, it's much closer than you would believe (pretty much 1% for all functions, consulting, tas, tax, audit, valuation, etc...). Audit start classes (in major regions) have over 45+ 1st years; how large was your start class?

11/28/12

itsinthebag:
Thank you for the input LevFin GS. Much appreciated as I did not work in valuation. Added several comments to your post below.

LevFinGS:
I left Big 4 Valuation after 2 years, and just want to highlight that a very large majority of people in BVAL would love to exit to "high finance" and are not able to, due to being pigeonholed, coupled with the economy.

Agreed, but also no different from audit - I think anyone with ambition entering the realm of accounting/finance wants to exit to "high finance".

LevFinGS:
I would argue here that if you are stuck in Big 4 for more than 5+ years - the BETTER route is Audit. People are not making partner in Valuation/TAS nearly as fast as Audit Partners since fees for advisory collapsed and the economy will likely never go back to where it was. After 5 years in Valuation (without an MBA) you can only exit to basically other valuation roles at professional services firms. In Audit, you still could become CFO at an outside company, which could be a great gig.

Curious to know, is it possible to go straight from valuation to a top MBA? I have not seen anyone go straight from audit to a top MBA program. They all had to transition to a different industry and work there several years before landing at a top program.

Definitely agree about the exit opp for a valuation employee w/o an MBA - I've come across that profile many times while auditing private companies and working with their valuation firms.

What established Company would hire an auditor as CFO within only 5 years experience? MAYBE a start-up, but you'll be working your ass off for options that may never materialize. You're pretty much banking on finding the next Google. That being said, I still agree that there are more opportunities from audit as you can go IA, Corp. Accounting, TAS, PCAOB, law school, etc... I just think that becoming CFO after 5 years is a bit naive.

LevFinGS:
TLDR - I was in Big 4 Valuation, and after heavy research came to the realization that everyone wants to exit, but most are pigeonholed in valuation. Audit can actually offer better exit opps than Valuation if you are at the firm for more than 4+ years. Also, the Partner track is MUCH easier in Audit, and the pay is essentially the same.

Audit partners universally make the lowest of all Big 4 functions. Also, the nature of auditing is so much more boring than valuation; both may be dry, but audit is hands down worse. It's only easier because you're looking at the nominal HC of Audit Partners vs. Valuation Partners. If you look at the % of those who climb the ranks from their 1st year, it's much closer than you would believe (pretty much 1% for all functions, consulting, tas, tax, audit, valuation, etc...). Audit start classes (in major regions) have over 45+ 1st years; how large was your start class?

You are correct that the starting class is smaller - but the group of hires are much better than the audit pool. Thus, it's much harder to become partner. For example, I was in a NY BIG 4 Valuation practice, and no one was promoted to principal (partner).

Ultimately, I stand by this: If you aren't able to get out of Audit to IBD/FO within 3 years, do not move to BO or MO with the hope you can move up. Take the CPA/CFA and try to leverage to equity research before the 6 year mark. If you are still unable to do that, likely there's something wrong with your approach. But at that point you should see how likely it is to become partner, if likely, then stay and enjoy a fairly stable middle upper class life, with the potential to move over to F500 CFO in your 50s and make much more. If at 6 years you don't see partner track, then start to look for exits to industry which would offer path to CFO down the road.

If you can get into valuation within 3 years, you better be looking to exit literally the second you get there (while taking GMAT or CFA). The 6 year Big 4 veteran in Audit is better positioned than the 6 year veteran in Valuation in terms of exit opps from BIg 4. If you can't exit Valuation to FO finance within 5 years at the Big 4, MBA is the last strategic move that can save you.

While luck/networking can make these guidelines pretty non relevant, I think most people would need to follow the above path if they still want to maximize their earning potential in their life.

11/28/12

LevFinGS:

You are correct that the starting class is smaller - but the group of hires are much better than the audit pool. Thus, it's much harder to become partner. For example, I was in a NY BIG 4 Valuation practice, and no one was promoted to principal (partner).

Ultimately, I stand by this: If you aren't able to get out of Audit to IBD/FO within 3 years, do not move to BO or MO with the hope you can move up. Take the CPA/CFA and try to leverage to equity research before the 6 year mark. If you are still unable to do that, likely there's something wrong with your approach. But at that point you should see how likely it is to become partner, if likely, then stay and enjoy a fairly stable middle upper class life, with the potential to move over to F500 CFO in your 50s and make much more. If at 6 years you don't see partner track, then start to look for exits to industry which would offer path to CFO down the road.

If you can get into valuation within 3 years, you better be looking to exit literally the second you get there (while taking GMAT or CFA). The 6 year Big 4 veteran in Audit is better positioned than the 6 year veteran in Valuation in terms of exit opps from BIg 4. If you can't exit Valuation to FO finance within 5 years at the Big 4, MBA is the last strategic move that can save you.

While luck/networking can make these guidelines pretty non relevant, I think most people would need to follow the above path if they still want to maximize their earning potential in their life.

That's interesting to read...I was always under the impression that no matter what, BVAL was still better than audit. I actually have a few interviews coming up with the BVAL groups within the Big 4. I'm in a general finance role at a F100, so I think going to Big 4 BVAL would still be much better (hopefully) in terms of exit opps. Fortunately for me, I actually do want to go the ER/AM route after a few years so I was thinking BVAL would help for that as it's been difficult to market myself without any related experience so far.

When you say to exit literally when you get there, are you talking about if you transferred from audit into BVAL after 3 years or after being in BVAL for 3 years?

What if you could do a rotation in audit, would that help?

6/5/13

[quote=Karembeu5163][quote=LevFinGS]

You are correct that the starting class is smaller - but the group of hires are much better than the audit pool. Thus, it's much harder to become partner.

11/27/12

Thanks for all of the great info. I am in the process of transferring from audit to either the FDD (Financial Due Diligence) or the CMAAS (Capital Market Accounting and Advisory Services) groups within the TS practice of the Big 4 Firm I am with. What kinds of exit opps have you seen from these types of groups. Just fyi, I will be promoted to senior at the same time as my transfer. How long should I stay before making my exit? Ideally, I would like to work for a PE shop or Consulting or Advisory firm. Thanks in advance!

11/27/12

scgrad:
Thanks for all of the great info. I am in the process of transferring from audit to either the FDD (Financial Due Diligence) or the CMAAS (Capital Market Accounting and Advisory Services) groups within the TS practice of the Big 4 Firm I am with. What kinds of exit opps have you seen from these types of groups. Just fyi, I will be promoted to senior at the same time as my transfer. How long should I stay before making my exit? Ideally, I would like to work for a PE shop or Consulting or Advisory firm. Thanks in advance!

IBD or MBA. Probably 1 or 2 years before you make the transition to either IBD or MBA. MistaBooks may have more insight; my coworker who went MBA route left after manager level at TAS.

11/30/12

itsinthebag:
scgrad:
Thanks for all of the great info. I am in the process of transferring from audit to either the FDD (Financial Due Diligence) or the CMAAS (Capital Market Accounting and Advisory Services) groups within the TS practice of the Big 4 Firm I am with. What kinds of exit opps have you seen from these types of groups. Just fyi, I will be promoted to senior at the same time as my transfer. How long should I stay before making my exit? Ideally, I would like to work for a PE shop or Consulting or Advisory firm. Thanks in advance!

IBD or MBA. Probably 1 or 2 years before you make the transition to either IBD or MBA. MistaBooks may have more insight; my coworker who went MBA route left after manager level at TAS.

I am not really sure about CMAAS - from what I understand CMAAS is really just becoming an expert in a complicated audit area (IPO's, carve-out issues, derivatives, etc). When I started talking to partners in TAS - I was not sure which group I wanted to join (ultimately FDD sound the most interesting / relevant to me). However, the way the partner described CMAAS was "a foot wide & a mile deep", which seems about right to me. You master one topic and drill down to know everything about it. I believe it is essientally an audit support function - so when an audit client is having a big issue in one of the covered areas, the CMAAS team will come in and resolve it. Not sure about exit opps - I would imagine they would be relatively limited / technical in nature.

If you had the opportunity I would def. go to the FDD group - the work they do is actually very interesting and generally the people in the group are smart / ambitious. I worked with the group in a major market and have seen guys leave for top MBAs / one left for a top consulting shop / another for a boutique IB. As far as how long you should stay it kind of depends. You might have to stay a little longer if getting your MBA is your goal, just so you can talk about your 'experience' there. However, the guy that left for IBD was in the group for a very short period of time before he left.

I'd say if you were leaving for another job - you don't necessarily need to stay that long - you can use the experience as the 'why finance, etc' question - it sparked your interest.

11/27/12

Have you worked with anybody who has majored in some type of engineering but now working in finance?

Mps721

11/27/12

Mps721:
Have you worked with anybody who has majored in some type of engineering but now working in finance?

No one in audit has an engineering degree - that would be an absolute waste seeing as how the average beginning engineering salary is significantly higher than an audit salary.

That being said, I do have a friend with an engineering degree who went straight from undergrad to a top PE firm. Granted his degree is from a top institution (H/S).

11/29/12

itsinthebag:
Mps721:
Have you worked with anybody who has majored in some type of engineering but now working in finance?

No one in audit has an engineering degree - that would be an absolute waste seeing as how the average beginning engineering salary is significantly higher than an audit salary.

That being said, I do have a friend with an engineering degree who went straight from undergrad to a top PE firm. Granted his degree is from a top institution (H/S).

Do you happen to know what type of engineering he majored in?

Mps721

11/28/12

Hey Itsinthebag! Thanks for your post and comments! Its glad to know someone from the audit side made it big into a finance role.

My background is similar to yours as I have been working in Hong Kong Audit for Big 4 for the past 3 years and looking desperately to get out. Its definitely been a struggle to get out since I didn't pass my CPA yet (working my butt off to get it with a 2 more exams to pass)

My questions to you are:

1) Since I can't internal transfer to TAS (due diligence at my firm) or any other Big 4, I am looking at mid tier accounting firms with transaction services (TS) and due diligence. Do you think mid tier TS roles have good exit options compared to Big 4 since the deals are smaller? How would transferring from mid tier TS position you into top 10 MBA and/or other finance roles like IB or corporate finance?

2) Have you ever heard of audit --> financial analyst role (FP&A) ---> IBD analyst/PE/HF at boutiques? No month end closing is involved in this role and I am deciding if I should pursue it since I want to get out of audit and maybe use the skill sets in the financial analyst role to leverage my self to a finance role in IB/PE/HF at boutiques?

3) Based on your experience, how often have you seen people who have gone the audit 3 years---->TS (1 year)--->Ibanking route?? How long should I stay in the mid tier TS before leaving for Ibanking role since working at a due diligence role for a few months might be looked down upon...

Thanks for your time and happy holidays man!

11/28/12

Been reading all of your responses. Many, many thanks for this information..

Two questions for you:

1) I go to a public school in Florida, and my only degree will be in Accounting. My plan is for Big 4 audit, but would really like to break directly into TAS instead. How should I go about pushing for TAS, while still making it seem like I'm not just looking at audit as a last resort? I already feel like I might be asking a lot, as I want to working in Chicago instead of my home state of Florida, so I dont wanna ruin my chances.

2) How do hours in TAS differ from audit? More, less, same?

Thanks.

11/29/12

Thanks for all the information. It solves many of my questions. If I want to transfer into finance area, does it matter what industry I audit? All previous comments seem to suggest finance is not a good industry to audit if I plan to leave

11/30/12

Art.Vandelay:
Been reading all of your responses. Many, many thanks for this information..

Two questions for you:

1) I go to a public school in Florida, and my only degree will be in Accounting. My plan is for Big 4 audit, but would really like to break directly into TAS instead. How should I go about pushing for TAS, while still making it seem like I'm not just looking at audit as a last resort? I already feel like I might be asking a lot, as I want to working in Chicago instead of my home state of Florida, so I dont wanna ruin my chances.

2) How do hours in TAS differ from audit? More, less, same?

Thanks.

In response to 1, you need to keep in mind that recruiting for Chicago happens earlier than for most other cities. Instead of fall recruiting it's going to likely be spring recruiting depending on firm. It happens this way because of the way the target schools like U of I do their recruiting. Just a heads up if you are really serious about Chicago. Also, you need to have a compelling reason for wanting to go to Chicago. Have visited multiple times and really enjoyed it, have friends and family there (stronger), like the mix of industries in Chicago (heavy on manufacturing and the opportunity to do auto as well as financial services, health care, pretty much you name it).

As far as pushing for transaction services roles, just tell them that TAS is your primary focus, but you ultimately want to work at X firm. So sound like you'd just be happy working for X firm regardless of role but you are more interested in TAS because of XYZ. That way you might end up with a couple of transaction services offers and maybe an audit offer or two to have in the back pocket.

11/30/12

TDSWIM:
Art.Vandelay:
Been reading all of your responses. Many, many thanks for this information..

Two questions for you:

1) I go to a public school in Florida, and my only degree will be in Accounting. My plan is for Big 4 audit, but would really like to break directly into TAS instead. How should I go about pushing for TAS, while still making it seem like I'm not just looking at audit as a last resort? I already feel like I might be asking a lot, as I want to working in Chicago instead of my home state of Florida, so I dont wanna ruin my chances.

2) How do hours in TAS differ from audit? More, less, same?

Thanks.

In response to 1, you need to keep in mind that recruiting for Chicago happens earlier than for most other cities. Instead of fall recruiting it's going to likely be spring recruiting depending on firm. It happens this way because of the way the target schools like U of I do their recruiting. Just a heads up if you are really serious about Chicago. Also, you need to have a compelling reason for wanting to go to Chicago. Have visited multiple times and really enjoyed it, have friends and family there (stronger), like the mix of industries in Chicago (heavy on manufacturing and the opportunity to do auto as well as financial services, health care, pretty much you name it).

As far as pushing for transaction services roles, just tell them that TAS is your primary focus, but you ultimately want to work at X firm. So sound like you'd just be happy working for X firm regardless of role but you are more interested in TAS because of XYZ. That way you might end up with a couple of transaction services offers and maybe an audit offer or two to have in the back pocket.

Thanks! Chicago and NYC are my top choices, and I really would prefer not to stay in my home state of Florida. The market is too small, and there arent enough young professionals around for me to meet potential mates. I'm hoping they can match me up with one of these cities. I'm trying to find that balance between seeming like I dont know what I want and seeming like I'm open to different options. In other words, saying to them "I'd really like to do TAS in Chicago or NYC, but I'm also more than willing to do Audit, as well as staying in Florida, as long as I'm with your firm." It's hard to word it out and express it without seeming like I dont know what I want.

11/30/12

Art.Vandelay:
TDSWIM:
Art.Vandelay:
Been reading all of your responses. Many, many thanks for this information..

Two questions for you:

1) I go to a public school in Florida, and my only degree will be in Accounting. My plan is for Big 4 audit, but would really like to break directly into TAS instead. How should I go about pushing for TAS, while still making it seem like I'm not just looking at audit as a last resort? I already feel like I might be asking a lot, as I want to working in Chicago instead of my home state of Florida, so I dont wanna ruin my chances.

2) How do hours in TAS differ from audit? More, less, same?

Thanks.

In response to 1, you need to keep in mind that recruiting for Chicago happens earlier than for most other cities. Instead of fall recruiting it's going to likely be spring recruiting depending on firm. It happens this way because of the way the target schools like U of I do their recruiting. Just a heads up if you are really serious about Chicago. Also, you need to have a compelling reason for wanting to go to Chicago. Have visited multiple times and really enjoyed it, have friends and family there (stronger), like the mix of industries in Chicago (heavy on manufacturing and the opportunity to do auto as well as financial services, health care, pretty much you name it).

As far as pushing for transaction services roles, just tell them that TAS is your primary focus, but you ultimately want to work at X firm. So sound like you'd just be happy working for X firm regardless of role but you are more interested in TAS because of XYZ. That way you might end up with a couple of transaction services offers and maybe an audit offer or two to have in the back pocket.

Thanks! Chicago and NYC are my top choices, and I really would prefer not to stay in my home state of Florida. The market is too small, and there arent enough young professionals around for me to meet potential mates. I'm hoping they can match me up with one of these cities. I'm trying to find that balance between seeming like I dont know what I want and seeming like I'm open to different options. In other words, saying to them "I'd really like to do TAS in Chicago or NYC, but I'm also more than willing to do Audit, as well as staying in Florida, as long as I'm with your firm." It's hard to word it out and express it without seeming like I dont know what I want.

Here's a potential strategy for you then. Since Chicago recruiting happens earlier, you can leave off the NYC part so it makes you sound like you want Chicago and only Chicago. You can put Chicago as 1st preference and NYC as 2nd, not that anyone other than HR looks at that stuff anyway, right. This is a relatively safe strategy since not all of the big firms hire directly into transaction services in Chicago. Some, like KPMG for example, will just tell you to get in touch with the recruiters in NYC right from the get go. So if you strike out with Chicago you can always do NYC recruiting later with those firms that don't hire directly in to transaction services. This gives you two shots at recruiting if you need it. At worst, it might burn bridges with a couple of the bigger firms because it's a little awkward to get rejected in one location and then apply to another location.

In general, direct hires into transaction services are kind of a new thing. In the past, only experienced audit and tax staff with high ratings were able to make the transition. There is a ton of great information in this thread so far about the pros and cons of each group within TS/TAS. Some firms are going to put you on some kind of rotation between valuation, FDD, and other TAS groups, while others will let you choose only one. It's best to have a pretty good idea what you want before going into the recruiting process. Just knowing the difference between the groups will help you differentiate yourself between the competition. Don't overestimate the competition!

11/30/12

I am coming from a non target with a major in finance or accounting not sure yet which is better. I want to be an analyst not an account. Can I get onto the street and do IB with a finance degree. I have been hearing that I should get an accounting degree...go to one of the big four then leave after 2 years as you did. Thanks for your thoughts.

12/2/12

im also curious about tas hours..

1/20/13

If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

Mps721

1/29/13

Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1/29/13

TDSWIM:
Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1. I am transferring to Rutgers Business School (Newark Campus) in Spring of 2014 and due to in state articulation agreements all 65 of my credits will transfer to make me a junior. As long as I keep that GPA above average and graduate with my degree in Accounting will there be some pretty solid job prospects out there? Not just big 4 i guess, although that is probably where I would like to end up and work my way up to eventually make partner ( if possible, if I enjoy the work I am doing there. I hear it is rough at some of those firms)

2. My counselor also mentioned something about 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. I am not really sure what that means, can you elaborate on that a little more to clarify? I know a regular Bachelor's Degree is only 120 credits; does that mean I would have to obtain my Master's Degree before I am eligible to sit for the exam?

Thank you for your time.

Mps721

1/29/13

Mps721:
TDSWIM:
Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1. I am transferring to Rutgers Business School (Newark Campus) in Spring of 2014 and due to in state articulation agreements all 65 of my credits will transfer to make me a junior. As long as I keep that GPA above average and graduate with my degree in Accounting will there be some pretty solid job prospects out there? Not just big 4 i guess, although that is probably where I would like to end up and work my way up to eventually make partner ( if possible, if I enjoy the work I am doing there. I hear it is rough at some of those firms)

2. My counselor also mentioned something about 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. I am not really sure what that means, can you elaborate on that a little more to clarify? I know a regular Bachelor's Degree is only 120 credits; does that mean I would have to obtain my Master's Degree before I am eligible to sit for the exam?

Thank you for your time.

Also, I would really like to work in the North Jersey area if possible. I probably would not want to commute to New York everyday. I live in Bergen County NJ so hopefully I can find something good in my area where I would not have to travel too far everyday. Eventually I would like to really move up and maybe become CFO or Controller of a company ( does not necessarily have to be a F500 company) I would be more than happy making $ 200,000 a year over time. Do you think that is obtainable or are my goals pipe dreams?

P.S. Tuition costs will not be a problem because my parents pay for all of my schooling and living expenses. Essentially I only have to focus on school; hence the almost perfect GPA

Mps721

1/29/13

Mps721:
Mps721:
TDSWIM:
Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1. I am transferring to Rutgers Business School (Newark Campus) in Spring of 2014 and due to in state articulation agreements all 65 of my credits will transfer to make me a junior. As long as I keep that GPA above average and graduate with my degree in Accounting will there be some pretty solid job prospects out there? Not just big 4 i guess, although that is probably where I would like to end up and work my way up to eventually make partner ( if possible, if I enjoy the work I am doing there. I hear it is rough at some of those firms)

2. My counselor also mentioned something about 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. I am not really sure what that means, can you elaborate on that a little more to clarify? I know a regular Bachelor's Degree is only 120 credits; does that mean I would have to obtain my Master's Degree before I am eligible to sit for the exam?

Thank you for your time.

Also, I would really like to work in the North Jersey area if possible. I probably would not want to commute to New York everyday. I live in Bergen County NJ so hopefully I can find something good in my area where I would not have to travel too far everyday. Eventually I would like to really move up and maybe become CFO or Controller of a company ( does not necessarily have to be a F500 company) I would be more than happy making $ 200,000 a year over time. Do you think that is obtainable or are my goals pipe dreams?

P.S. Tuition costs will not be a problem because my parents pay for all of my schooling and living expenses. Essentially I only have to focus on school; hence the almost perfect GPA

OK, so you say you want to be partner, but of course you would have to exit public accounting to become a CFO or Controller. You sound like you want to get out at the Manager level, if you last that long. $200k a year is pretty attainable, yes.

If tuition costs aren't a problem and the parents are covering it, find out what they think about covering a masters degree too. That way, if you strike out in recruitment at Rutgers you can go get a masters in accounting and get that 150 hour requirement at a school with better OCR.

Just don't make the mistake of doing a masters at Rutgers if you don't get an internship through their on campus recruiting while you're doing your ugrad there. I've seen alot of less than informed people graduate from school, start working at Starbucks or equivalent, and then go right back to the same school for a masters expecting different results. Don't be one of those people.

Potential plan for you: Start at Rutgers, get an internship at the firm you want to work for long term, kill the internship and get a return offer. Then just delay your start date so you can get your 150 hours and sit for the CPA exam before you start full time.

1/29/13

TDSWIM:
Mps721:
Mps721:
TDSWIM:
Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1. I am transferring to Rutgers Business School (Newark Campus) in Spring of 2014 and due to in state articulation agreements all 65 of my credits will transfer to make me a junior. As long as I keep that GPA above average and graduate with my degree in Accounting will there be some pretty solid job prospects out there? Not just big 4 i guess, although that is probably where I would like to end up and work my way up to eventually make partner ( if possible, if I enjoy the work I am doing there. I hear it is rough at some of those firms)

2. My counselor also mentioned something about 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. I am not really sure what that means, can you elaborate on that a little more to clarify? I know a regular Bachelor's Degree is only 120 credits; does that mean I would have to obtain my Master's Degree before I am eligible to sit for the exam?

Thank you for your time.

Also, I would really like to work in the North Jersey area if possible. I probably would not want to commute to New York everyday. I live in Bergen County NJ so hopefully I can find something good in my area where I would not have to travel too far everyday. Eventually I would like to really move up and maybe become CFO or Controller of a company ( does not necessarily have to be a F500 company) I would be more than happy making $ 200,000 a year over time. Do you think that is obtainable or are my goals pipe dreams?

P.S. Tuition costs will not be a problem because my parents pay for all of my schooling and living expenses. Essentially I only have to focus on school; hence the almost perfect GPA

OK, so you say you want to be partner, but of course you would have to exit public accounting to become a CFO or Controller. You sound like you want to get out at the Manager level, if you last that long. $200k a year is pretty attainable, yes.

If tuition costs aren't a problem and the parents are covering it, find out what they think about covering a masters degree too. That way, if you strike out in recruitment at Rutgers you can go get a masters in accounting and get that 150 hour requirement at a school with better OCR.

Just don't make the mistake of doing a masters at Rutgers if you don't get an internship through their on campus recruiting while you're doing your ugrad there. I've seen alot of less than informed people graduate from school, start working at Starbucks or equivalent, and then go right back to the same school for a masters expecting different results. Don't be one of those people.

Potential plan for you: Start at Rutgers, get an internship at the firm you want to work for long term, kill the internship and get a return offer. Then just delay your start date so you can get your 150 hours and sit for the CPA exam before you start full time.

If I could get in I would certainly do my Master's at Columbia. That is if I can get in. Also how do I get in those extra 30 credits since Bachelor's Degrees are only 120 credits...Master's?

Thank You.

Mps721

1/29/13

Mps721:
TDSWIM:
Mps721:
Mps721:
TDSWIM:
Mps721:
If I am an accounting major, and I would like to start in audit does the school actually matter? In my area there are two schools that I am considering transfering to, Rutgers University, or Montclair State University for accounting. If I am trying to get picked up by one of the big 4 auditors after university is my GPA the more important than the school? I understand both schools are not the best but I do not wish to go away, I want to commute from home. Is there still hope for me after graduating from one of these two schools?

P.S. I currently have a 3.95 GPA

Thank You

The school does matter as far as recruitment goes. Having a high GPA at a school with no formal recruiting process is worse than being at a school with good on campus recruitment and having an average GPA.

While transferring to another school might be expensive and potentially get you behind, if you get solid on campus recruiting and 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam, it might actually be worth it.

Even among schools that Big 4 firms recruit at, your office and group choices are going to be in your favor the stronger the school's reputation.

Where do you want to work when you graduate? As in location, not firm. You already mentioned big 4 interest. Props for keeping that GPA high, you'll appreciate it in the coming months no doubt.

1. I am transferring to Rutgers Business School (Newark Campus) in Spring of 2014 and due to in state articulation agreements all 65 of my credits will transfer to make me a junior. As long as I keep that GPA above average and graduate with my degree in Accounting will there be some pretty solid job prospects out there? Not just big 4 i guess, although that is probably where I would like to end up and work my way up to eventually make partner ( if possible, if I enjoy the work I am doing there. I hear it is rough at some of those firms)

2. My counselor also mentioned something about 150 credits to sit for the CPA exam. I am not really sure what that means, can you elaborate on that a little more to clarify? I know a regular Bachelor's Degree is only 120 credits; does that mean I would have to obtain my Master's Degree before I am eligible to sit for the exam?

Thank you for your time.

Also, I would really like to work in the North Jersey area if possible. I probably would not want to commute to New York everyday. I live in Bergen County NJ so hopefully I can find something good in my area where I would not have to travel too far everyday. Eventually I would like to really move up and maybe become CFO or Controller of a company ( does not necessarily have to be a F500 company) I would be more than happy making $ 200,000 a year over time. Do you think that is obtainable or are my goals pipe dreams?

P.S. Tuition costs will not be a problem because my parents pay for all of my schooling and living expenses. Essentially I only have to focus on school; hence the almost perfect GPA

OK, so you say you want to be partner, but of course you would have to exit public accounting to become a CFO or Controller. You sound like you want to get out at the Manager level, if you last that long. $200k a year is pretty attainable, yes.

If tuition costs aren't a problem and the parents are covering it, find out what they think about covering a masters degree too. That way, if you strike out in recruitment at Rutgers you can go get a masters in accounting and get that 150 hour requirement at a school with better OCR.

Just don't make the mistake of doing a masters at Rutgers if you don't get an internship through their on campus recruiting while you're doing your ugrad there. I've seen alot of less than informed people graduate from school, start working at Starbucks or equivalent, and then go right back to the same school for a masters expecting different results. Don't be one of those people.

Potential plan for you: Start at Rutgers, get an internship at the firm you want to work for long term, kill the internship and get a return offer. Then just delay your start date so you can get your 150 hours and sit for the CPA exam before you start full time.

If I could get in I would certainly do my Master's at Columbia. That is if I can get in. Also how do I get in those extra 30 credits since Bachelor's Degrees are only 120 credits...Master's?

Thank You.

How would I be able to delay my start date? Wont there be other people that the firm will pick up in place of me if I wait?

Mps721

1/29/13

Mps721:

If I could get in I would certainly do my Master's at Columbia. That is if I can get in. Also how do I get in those extra 30 credits since Bachelor's Degrees are only 120 credits...Master's?

Thank You.

Some people get a masters, delay graduation and get it done in undergrad, take extra courses during the normal 4 year schedule and potentially double major, and some people go to a community college during the summer or something just to get the 150 hours. Of all those options, I'd recommend delaying graduation the least.

It's common practice to have delayed full time start dates after an internship at large accounting firms. Sure, they might realize they hired too many people and rescind an offer here and there, legally they can, but the better quality the firm the less likely that is to happen.

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