Who Has More Career Oppourtunities? CFA or CPA?

mack387's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 351

who makes more money or has better opportunities in todays job market...doesnt have to be investment banking.....thanks

Apply to Top Wall St. Jobs

CPA vs. CFA Careers

When deciding between these certifications - our users believe that the CFA will be the more valuable certification in the finance field unless you are particularly pursuing an accounting career. However, our users did highlight that comparing the two certifications is like comparing apples and oranges.

dixm655:

Comparing apples to oranges in a sense. One works in a finance role, and the other in an accounting role. In relation to pay, CFA's, on average, tend to make more than CPA's.

Bananalyst - Investment Banking Analyst:

Both look really good next to your name. Both will help you in ANY finance job. Both...but CFA probably wins by a nose based on highest pay:

  • Both are about equal in i-banking
  • In investment Management (and Sales/Trading), a CFA is REALLY good looking and a CPA is just a feather in your cap - not a deciding factor for the hire/no-hire decision.
  • Obviously in an accounting job the reverse is true.

So all in all, since finance jobs pay the most, a CFA will be the best option.

User @goldson23 explained a negative view of the CPA:

goldson23:

CPA's don't mean shit, nearly everyone has them these days. CFA is the one to get as it is not as common and especially if you go on the buy side it looks great. But CPA opens doors to auditing, hahaha so if you are looking for that big 50k salary with that 2k end of year bonus go for the CPA

What Careers Does the CFA Prepare You For?

The CFA website offers this graphic of the careers that the CFA prepares you for. The CFA is most desired in the asset management and sales and trading fields.

Source: https://www.cfainstitute.org/programs/cfaprogram/D...

Careers with the Certified Public Accountant Certification

Our users shared that the CPA can be useful and attractive in traditional Wall Street careers, but it will not be a deciding factor for investment banking, sales and trading, or asset management positions. Instead, the CPA certification will be a deciding factor in a variety of accounting based jobs, particularly auditing.

Read More About the CFA and CPA on WSO

Decided to Pursue a Wall Street Career? Learn How to Network like a Master.

Inside the WSO Finance networking guide, you'll get a comprehensive, all-inclusive roadmap for maximizing your networking efforts (and minimizing embarrassing blunders). This info-rich book is packed with 71 pages of detailed strategies to help you get the most of your networking, including cold emailing templates, questions to ask in interviews, and action steps for success in navigating the Wall Street networking process.

Networking Guide

Comments (118)

Apr 7, 2007

Comparing apples to oranges in a sense. One works in a finance role, and the other in an accounting role. In relation to pay, CFA's, on average, tend to make more than CPA's.

There are always exceptions though.

Check out their main sites... both will likely have information on salary averages.

Apr 8, 2007

Both look really good next to your name. Both will help you in ANY finance job. Both...but CFA probably wins by a nose based on highest pay:

Both are about equal in i-banking

In investment Management (and Sales/Trading), a CFA is REALLY good looking and a CPA is just a feather in your cap - not a deciding factor for the hire/no-hire decision.

Obviously in an accounting job the reverse is true. But shit.

So all in all, since fiannce jobs pay the most, a CFA will be the best option.

Apr 8, 2007

CPA's don't mean shit, nearly everyone has them these days. CFA is the one to get as it is not as common and especially if you go on the buy side it looks great. But CPA opens doors to auditing, hahaha so if you are looking for that big 50k salary with that 2k end of year bonus go for the CPA

Mar 12, 2010

Basically true, but you're still a douche for saying it in that manner.

May 17, 2010
audit_waif:

Basically true, but you're still a douche for saying it in that manner.

correction - you my friend are the douche, for digging up a thread that was buried 6-months ago.

Oh, and re-read your post. How many estrogen pills did you take? Go lay down with a pint of rocky road, some old Grey's Anatomy DVDs and chill.

This thread is 3 years old. Let. It. Die.

Free Consultation

Vantage Point MBA's clients are accepted to the top MBA programs at a 3x higher rate than the average acceptance rates. Request a consultation with their team to learn how they can help you gain admission to your dream schools. Learn more.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Feb 18, 2016

CFA definitely is a better option but CPA earns a real good money too, you just need to be good in what you do,

Apr 8, 2007

i had no finance experience and passed the first level of the CFA just to have something to put on my resume, and it helped...that's for s&t, hear its not any help for IBD.

i've also found that some of the older (mid-30's) s&t folks who didn't go to b-school and want buy side jobs are taking the CFA.

Feb 18, 2016

Having a CPA and CFA may make you a better i-banking candidate. Since you have the necessary hours, why not? I know it's a pain and the CFA will take some additional medium-term commitment, but it can only help. Once you're in a BB, you don't necessarily need an MBA to move up, but I believe it can be very helpful to go to a top 5 if you want to have some serious contacts that can make it easier for you to become a star. Ther are so many bankers that anything you can do to differentiate yourself can help. Not everyone will be interested in a CPA/CFA, but there will be some people with whom the quals will resonate. Of course, the most important thing will be to have the substance to back up all these certifications.

Feb 18, 2016

Thanks for the insight. I should definitely get my CPA. I'll work toward my CFA, but four years is a long-time commitment for the necessary hours (assuming I stay for all of them at my firm). Do you know if I can get the required hours in a BB as well?

It seems like I'm taking the lengthier route to i-banking. I know those from top undergrads go right into i-banking, get their MBA, and continue on. I'll be a few years behind, I suppose.

AIM: joompers

Apr 8, 2007

Comparing CFAs and CPAs is ridiculous. Anyone who would ask that question probably has no idea what the designations even represent.

Feb 18, 2016

if you want a cpa you need a masters in accounting and work in auditing for a year.

Feb 18, 2016

Lotus is completely wrong.

Because you say you're eligible for both, I'll assume you can actually read the website and see why Lotus is wrong.

IMO a CPA is worthwhile in some situations. If you ever want to go corporate it can be a huge plus.

From what I can gather, a CFA is fairly limited as to where it will benefit you.

If you plan on being in IB/m&a for your entire career neither are extremely useful, but of the two I'd say the CPA can be a little more helpful in your future.

Feb 18, 2016
vandeja1:

Lotus is completely wrong.

Because you say you're eligible for both, I'll assume you can actually read the website and see why Lotus is wrong.

IMO a CPA is worthwhile in some situations. If you ever want to go corporate it can be a huge plus.

From what I can gather, a CFA is fairly limited as to where it will benefit you.

If you plan on being in IB/m&a for your entire career neither are extremely useful, but of the two I'd say the CPA can be a little more helpful in your future.

check the requirements for getting a cpa

Feb 18, 2016

Just so you know, it takes three years minimum (usually more) to become CFA certified.

Feb 18, 2016

I've got one dipshit.

First off, it varies by state.

Second you need 150 hours - NO GRADUATE DEGREE - it can be in basket weaving as long as you have taken enough of the requisite classes.

Thirdly, you can be a cpa (someone who has qualified to take the test and then passes it) without any experience at all. To be LICENSED to sign off on certain things there is an experience requirement. This experience does not have to be as an auditor.

As far as I can tell each statement you made regarding the cpa is inaccurate. So, you didnt help the OP at all with his actual question, but you did mislead him regarding something he didnt even ask

Congrats, you're a clown.

Feb 18, 2016

Yeah,almost each state is different. You don't need audting or even 150 hours in every state.

Hey vandeja:
WHere did you get certified? What work did you do? I passed all 3 CFA levels, and now I'm thinking cpa. I understand that you don't need audting, but I get confused about what other experience will count. Do you have to be an accountant? Or can you qualify with equity research?

Feb 18, 2016

vandeja1-I guess my state must be different from yours and its amazing how people talk shit on an anonymous forum

Feb 18, 2016

CPA is great for accounting and corporate finance positions.

CFA is preferred for hedge funds, private equity, and banking.

Feb 18, 2016

Do private equity shops even care what you get on your CFA exam? I'm totally new to this...

Is it a numerical scoring system, or does it just put you in buckets -- does being in the top bucket mean significantly more than just passing if people don't take it that seriously in the first place?

Feb 18, 2016

Monkey 147:

No grades or buckets: its pass fail.
Passing is tough. 3 levels. The pass rates when I went thru were 40%/50%/50%. So, maybe 8% of people who sit for LI pass all 3.

CFA is highly desriable for equity research, Asset Management, PWM, investment consulting and to a lesser extent, HF.

It's not that big a deal for IB/PE. It's more of a cultural issue than a lack of relevance.

Feb 18, 2016

"Passing is tough. 3 levels. The pass rates when I went thru were 40%/50%/50%. So, maybe 8% of people who sit for LI pass all 3."

also, they don't include the 25% that get the books, realize what they got themselves into, then never show up to lvl 1 in the initial 40% number. So actually its about 6% make it on the first pass.

Feb 18, 2016

CFA takes a minimum of 1.5 years to complete, not 3. With that said most people take 3 given the huge time commitment to study. I agree with most of what is said above, but unless you plan on going into accounting CPA is too specific and might be a waste of time.

Feb 18, 2016

"CFA takes a minimum of 1.5"

Thats assuming you dont study at all for lvl 1. The real minimum is more like 2 yrs.

Feb 18, 2016

for someone coming out of school, the limiting factor for the CFA is going to be the work requirement - 4 yrs. You could finish the tests in the 1.5 yr min (Dec lvl 1, lvl 2 the subsequent June, lvl 3 next June), but you won't get the charter until you get 4 yrs on the job.

most restructuring guys I know started off in accounting (audit) and are CPAs. it's a more legal/compliance-based culture than investment-focused; CPA is hands down more useful.

Consider going for the CIRA to start with - minimal study burden, short time horizon.

Feb 18, 2016

Yesman - what is the CIRA? I'm not familiar with this Certification and a quick (i.e. 10 second) google search didnt give me any good info.

My understanding (and this may be skewed) is that CFA is better for equity research, FI, hedge funds and a few other areas. The CPA is better for accounting/auditing (obviously),corporate finance, m&a, banking, pe, and restructuring.

To see what your exact requirements are you'll have to look it up online. I wouldn't worry about the experience to be actually licensed. Qualify to take the test, pass it, and thats enough of a CPA for almost all involved. If you ever need to be licensed, you will be working in an area that gives you the required experience anyways.

Feb 18, 2016

If you passed all three levels of the CFA its not going to be hard finding a job that will get you the experience.

Feb 18, 2016

I am an chartered Accountant from India. Want to enhance my skills and knowledge by adding one more degree. I am confused between doing CPA(USA) and CFA. Which I should go for as I have already cleared my CA from India.

Apr 8, 2007

If you're on this site, you're most likely more interested in the CFA.

However, don't completely diss the CPA - sure, auditing has never been thrilling, but a lot of C-level execs have them. Today's regulatory environment practically requires it. So if that were someone's career goal, a CPA might not be such a ludicrous proposition.

Of course, I've been working on getting an FSA (working on it is expected for my current part-time job)... you don't see anyone here who really knows what that is ;)

Apr 8, 2007
Tempted:

However, don't completely diss the CPA - sure, auditing has never been thrilling, but a lot of C-level execs have them. Today's regulatory environment practically requires it. So if that were someone's career goal, a CPA might not be such a ludicrous proposition.

He is right regarding this point. The most popular track to becoming a CFO is having a CPA. Since Sarbanes Oxley, it is damn helpful to have a CPA. Also, I would never sign a financial statement under current conditions.

Feb 18, 2016

If you want to stay in operations, CPA for sure.

Apr 8, 2007
olemungu:
Tempted:

However, don't completely diss the CPA - sure, auditing has never been thrilling, but a lot of C-level execs have them. Today's regulatory environment practically requires it. So if that were someone's career goal, a CPA might not be such a ludicrous proposition.

He is right regarding this point. The most popular track to becoming a CFO is having a CPA. Since Sarbanes Oxley, it is damn helpful to have a CPA. Also, I would never sign a financial statement under current conditions.

Being a CFO is also one of the least desirable executive jobs since Sarbanes-Oxley, every company's CFO is quitting left and right.

Apr 8, 2007

could you explain that? lol

Feb 18, 2016

wait hold on, so if you want to do operations, is an accounting degree all that's necessary (sorry to hijack your thread OP, btw)? I thought that you'd want something in supply chain management or something, or maybe what I'm thinking of when I think "operations" is seperate from what BB Operations is?

Feb 18, 2016

When I am saying operations I am referring to trade settlements/reconciliations, and collateral management aspect in the investment field and not supply management operations. So yes BB Operations is different than the "operations" you are thinking about.

Apr 8, 2007

What's the average salary of an accountant that's been in the game, let's say auditing, for about 10 years?

Apr 8, 2007
iwannabeabanker:

You have got to be very good to still be in the business for 9 years and you will be just making a little over 100k. Pretty pathetic huh?

Really? I've heard from my accounting friends that you can make partner at most large firms (maybe not the Big Fours) in seven or eight years, and start raking in $150K/year at that point. And this is in Tax. Auditing almost always pays better.

Feb 18, 2016

you don't need a mba fr CFA, just self study discipline

Apr 8, 2007
MidwesternBumpkin:
iwannabeabanker:

You have got to be very good to still be in the business for 9 years and you will be just making a little over 100k. Pretty pathetic huh?

Really? I've heard that you can make partner at most large firms (maybe not the Big Fours) in seven or eight years, and start raking in $150K+/year at that point. And this is in Tax.

The guys who were recruiting for Morgan Stanley's internal auditing department were wearing suits with $2K labels; I'd be suprised if they were making less than $200K/year.

You'll make 200k by the time you are between age 35-40 if you are in the Big 4 or an internal audit director at a F500. It's peanuts compared to the 2MM that an average I-Banker will be making by that stage in his career.

Let's not forget that Auditing/Tax Accounting is one of the most mundane professions on the face of the earth and you will hate your life for the 50-70 hours/week you generally spend in the office.

Feb 18, 2016

What do you want to do? Why do you want a CFA? And an MBA? It would help to know these answers before saying that you should do a 5 year accounting program and take the CPA exam.

3.7 is a pretty solid GPA. If you keep it up and get some internships/ECs, why would you need to dedicate 5 years on a "failsafe"?

tentop is also right. You don't need an MBA to get your CFA, just approx. 2-3 years to study/pass the exams and relevant work exp (I think).

Feb 18, 2016

Focus on getting internships and a FT job and worry about the other stuff later. Do not even consider getting an MBA fresh out of ug.

The 5th year MAcc program is great because it basically guarantees a job in Big 4 audit but is fairly limited outside of that. Can you apply for the 5th year program and forego it if you get a job as a senior? If so, your best course of action may be to apply for the program and still actively seek jobs during your senior year. If you get a good offer as a senior, just finish school then and start work. If not, roll into the MAcc program. A few years of Big 4 and a good ug GPA will set you up nicely for B-School. However, that should be a back-up plan - try to get in a finance job after ug

Feb 18, 2016

Yeah your ultimate goal is the most important thing. As others have said, you don't need an MBA to become a CFA charter holder. That's why the long running joke is "mba v. CFA?" They are largely interchangeable assuming you want to do financial analysis/portfolio management et al. You should note that you cannot earn the CFA designation until you have 48 months of relevant work experience. So under your current plan (school, work 1 year, mba) you would still need more work experience to qualify. That is by the END of the three exams though, not before you start obviously.

Feb 18, 2016

What if I do the MAcc program and eventually get my CPA after a year of work under a Big Four? Or would it be best just to get my undergrad in finance, then eventually after 48 months hopefully get my CFA designation? And would four years of auditing in a Big Four allow me to sit for the CFA, they are very broad in terms of what is "acceptable work experience?'' What would you do? Of course I want to make the most money, but I also have a high interest in banking and auditing. Thank You.

Feb 18, 2016

I still don't really understand what you want to do. "Make the most money?" Go into banking. Network and get internships. This will help you much more than getting a CPA or CFA. And you don't need a CPA unless you want to go into audit/accounting and you don't NEED a CFA unless you go into investment management. I don't get why you're so big on getting all of these designations.

You don't get paid much in audit/accounting. What you get is a nice stable job with little upside.

Oh, and from what I heard, audit experience no longer qualifies as acceptable work experience. At least that's what they told me when I was at the Big 4.

Feb 18, 2016

What do you want to do? Get a MAcc if you want to be an auditor. If you want to work I finance, network your ass off and view Big 4 as the last resort.

My advice - stop worrying so much about MBA/CFA and figure out what you want to do for a career.

Apr 8, 2007

The auditing people at the big 4 typically start these days in the low 40s. I'd say with marginal salary increases each year they might be in the 60s range after 10 years in the game? Perhaps a bit higher if they've been getting promotions. That would just be an estimate though.

Feb 18, 2016

Mind me asking what school you're from?

Feb 18, 2016

Only if you tell me how that's relevant? It doesn't have the brand recognition of Wharton/Stern.

Feb 18, 2016

You need four years of relevant experience to fulfill your CFA requirements not two. A top MBA is the traditional route for career changers like yourself but isn't required if you are willing to take an entry level position. The CFA designation is not a guarantee of better money than a CPA but is encouraged by many and required by some banks. My advice would be research what positions you would like to fill and work your contacts to see what they are looking for.

Feb 18, 2016

If you are certain that you want to do asset management, CFA is far better bang for your buck in most cases (v. MBA). Unless you are strictly doing accounting, the CFA carries much more weight than a CPA in the buy side community. Nothing wrong with a CPA, the CFA is just much more applicable to the analysis in an investment environment. Also, a far more rare...and difficult...designation.

As for banking, while the material is applicable (especially at level II), opinions are mixed on how much weight it carries and thus how useful it is in breaking in. An MBA is a better route if you decide on banking.

Apr 8, 2007

no, the audit people start at 55k

after 10 years of audit experience within a big 4, you would most likely be a senior manager making well over 100k

(i'm interning at a big 4 now, not audit though)

Apr 8, 2007
propmonkey08:

no, the audit people start at 55k

after 10 years of audit experience within a big 4, you would most likely be a senior manager making well over 100k

(i'm interning at a big 4 now, not audit though)

^ agreed.

Start off as Staff at 55k
Then you make senior after 2 years, and you are at 65-80K.
Then you make manager another 3 years after that, and are you at 80-100K.
Then you make senior manager another 4 years after that, and you are in the ballpark of 125-175K.

Overall not a very rewarding path. Most partners top out at about 400-500K, unless they are selling/managing relationships with huge global accounts and have been around for a while.

Feb 18, 2016

I think the CFAs curriculum is sufficient enough to give you an in dept knowledge of financial and managerial statements.

Feb 18, 2016

I wouldn't forefit work experience exp at KPMG... cant you study for the CFA and work?

Also don't you have to be in your final year to sit the CFA1? And only 1 CFA exam per year? Ask them - I may be wrong - as the info I got was for the UK.

Feb 18, 2016

.

Feb 18, 2016

I currently work ~55-60 hours a week, study for the CFA level 1 (June test) along with other collegiate extra-curricular activities and have some semblance of a social life (at least one night each week). Its do-able if a little stressful. Just start early and its easier

"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous

Feb 18, 2016

You can definitely do CFA Level I alongside working. I'm studying for another professional exam (similar to CPA), and Level I, and working full time as well. Yes you give up weekends and most weeknights but you can still afford to take Friday nights off to have fun.

Feb 18, 2016

Take the KPMG offer and study for the CFA on the side.

Feb 18, 2016

OP - Everything you just suggested above, do the opposite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RerJWv5vwxc

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite... would have to be right."

Feb 18, 2016

Imagine yourself conducting an interview, now, there are two kids accross from you, one has relevant work experience, they other has spent the last few years not working and getting credentials. One can start working and be useful in the office, the other can't. Which one would you rather hire?

Feb 18, 2016

Well it wouldn't be a few years--it would only be 1 year after my graduation. And in that one year I would have passed all 4 CPA exams and 2 levels of the CFA.
Of these 2 candidates I don't know what would be valued more, it depends on the candidate's experience but the one with the credentials will have more than a fighting chance I would say.

Feb 18, 2016

It is pointless to go for the CPA exam if you have no intention of getting the 150 you will need to qualify(work experience can be in different fields now(audit isn't necessary depending on state)). It is pointless to do the CFA if you do not have a current job which will qualify you for the designation, or have a nice pathway into a job that will.

Why dont you focus on getting a job and doing well, these designations will help give you credibility but that is all they will do. Without a job you are just some guy with book smarts, a dime a dozen.

Also i dont think you understand how difficult these exams are in terms of endurance and sheer volume of information.

Feb 18, 2016

There is absolutely no reason to take the CPA Exams unless you plan to obtain the license. Take the big-4 internship and take the job right out of college, the 2 years of experience you put-in are far more valuable then the license itself. When you're at the Big-4, try to get in their financial services sector - working on those clients is what will help you get into the big banks later. It'll also help with the CFA, since you'll get a chance to learn about the financial instruments from the accounting/audit side.

Apr 8, 2007

Propmonkey ... I have a large group of friends that will all be heading to the big 4, some of which are doing audit. At least for my friends, 40 - 50k is a lot more reasonable. Are you a tech intern for the big 4? The tech people usually start low to mid 50s while the audit and financial services people are significantly lower (from my experiences).

Feb 18, 2016

I don't understand how you didn't break 80k/year,anyways the CFA is definitely what you want and need,even though it's going to be pointless when you're going to want to get your MBA but it's still nice to have on the resume.

Feb 18, 2016
Name Of Profit:

I don't understand how you didn't break 80k/year,anyways the CFA is definitely what you want and need,even though it's going to be pointless when you're going to want to get your MBA but it's still nice to have on the resume.

80k? Where did that come from? Completely random.

Feb 18, 2016

If you want nothing to do with accounting do not become a CPA

Feb 18, 2016
jbone24:

If you want nothing to do with accounting do not become a CPA

Apr 8, 2007

You have got to be very good to still be in the business for 9 years and you will be just making a little over 100k. Pretty pathetic huh?

Apr 8, 2007

thats why bankers BANK and accountants COUNT our money

Apr 8, 2007

I would imagine there are 10x as many CPA's than CFA's - and that is not exaggerating...

Not only that, the CFA is much more difficult to obtain. From what I see, CFA's make approx 25k more than CPA's. Thats according to the CFA Institute and some random website on CPA's. Take it for what it's worth.

Apr 8, 2007

Some of you seem to be a little misinformed about this topic, so I'll fill you guys in.

CPA stands for certified public accountant. Basically, you take a difficult, 4 part test covering financial, tax and law, business environment, and audit. Then you work for a few years and you become a CPA. Its a stable job for new college graduates, and especially good experience if you go to a Big 4 firm. You will start out at 55k-60k in the more expensive cities (NYC, boston, LA) and less if you live elsewhere (43-45k in say Ohio). The reason you go into accounting is becuase of the stability. As long as you don't commit any frauds, you will always have a place to move up within your CPA firm.

I'll do this for the large cities...After 2-3 years you make Senior and your pay rises to 70k. After 2-3 more years, you make manager and your pay rises to 80k-90k. After a few more years you can make senior manager and finally make 6 digits. Those who make it to partner in large cities make 800-900k a year, but not everyone can be partner.

Most people just work in accounting for a few years (like some mentioned). With a big 4 firm on your resume, you can be very marketable. You can go join a smaller cpa firm and becoming a partner is much easier, especially if it is a growing firm. You can also go into corporate accounting or finance at one of your clients. Many people get an MBA and go all the way to the CFO path, even though it has become pretty rediculous with all the regulations.

A less common path, but one that is certainly attainable is one who works at a big 4 firm for a few years, becomes CPA certified, then uses that experience to get into a top MBA school. Then, they can become an associate at a BB bank. They get to do this without ever having to spend 3 years working 120 hours a week as an analyst. Accounting has a busy season where you work 70 hours a week (maybe 80 tops) for 4 months of the year, and then 50 the rest of the year.

Of course, they did not make as much money as those analysts, so it really is like comparing apples to oranges.

Hope that helps.

Apr 9, 2007

Is 200-400k middle class? That can't be right? My dad's been on 70-90k for the best part of his career, he's raised 3 kids, put them all through college without any financial aid. And this in a country where income tax is 40% and the cost of living is extremely high. And I'd say I've been brought up very happy, never wanting anything - so upper middle class, no?

Where do people cut off middle class? Various examples at various cities would be helpful.

I'd say that if you're making $200k in any city, you're rich. But maybe that's just me.

Apr 9, 2007
mea04tdt:

Is 200-400k middle class? That can't be right? My dad's been on 70-90k for the best part of his career, he's raised 3 kids, put them all through college without any financial aid. And this in a country where income tax is 40% and the cost of living is extremely high. And I'd say I've been brought up very happy, never wanting anything - so upper middle class, no?

Where do people cut off middle class? Various examples at various cities would be helpful.

I'd say that if you're making $200k in any city, you're rich. But maybe that's just me.

$200k is a solid middle class income in Boston/LA/NY/SF.

I'd say its barely pushing into upper-middle class in Chicago depending on what part of the Metro area you live in.

Apr 15, 2007

$200k is a solid middle class income in Boston/LA/NY/SF.

I'd say its barely pushing into upper-middle class in Chicago depending on what part of the Metro area you live in.

$200k is middle class?! That's absurd as you're already within the top income tax bracket. While I agree you're not rolling in dough, it still is a decent salary. Frankly I think you folks have spent too much time discussing your BB, HF, PE, and VC salaries to realize how much the AVERAGE person makes...

Apr 9, 2007

I would agree.

Apr 9, 2007

What kind of annual income (in Sterling) would generally get you a decent middle-class lifestyle in London? Let's say for two adults and a couple kiddies.

Apr 9, 2007

I've always laughed at the $ conversations. It's all relative. Some of us have no desire to work in NYC, Chi, or LA. For us in OK, where the cost of living is unbelievably low: my house is over 4k square feet on a half acre of land, overlooking a golf course, and cost $800k.

You make $200k+ in this city and times are good. However, it doesn't seem like jack in NYC. Using one calculator, I would have to make over $500k in NYC to equal even close to what I make in OK. Given the additional time and draining hours (I work about 45/wk now), it doesn't make sense.

Low-Middle-Upper class is totally dependent on location.

Apr 9, 2007
penguin1:

I've always laughed at the $ conversations. It's all relative. Some of us have no desire to work in NYC, Chi, or LA. For us in OK, where the cost of living is unbelievably low: my house is over 4k square feet on a half acre of land, overlooking a golf course, and cost $800k.

You make $200k+ in this city and times are good. However, it doesn't seem like jack in NYC. Using one calculator, I would have to make over $500k in NYC to equal even close to what I make in OK. Given the additional time and draining hours (I work about 45/wk now), it doesn't make sense.

Low-Middle-Upper class is totally dependent on location.

Cheers. And you don't stay in NYC your whole career if you can only make 200k per year. Well maybe you have to if you're a CFA but not if you're a CPA. You can transfer to Oklahoma City and buy a mansion for the same price as a studio apartment in NYC.

I guess that is true that you will be middle class if you live in NYC, but a partner at less expensive cities will be upper class easily. Even a 'regional' cpa firm partner will make 150k-250k a year in a smaller city like Albany for example. A big 4 partner will make around 400k-500k in that city. Middle class in albany makes a combined income of 120k per household.

Apr 10, 2007

What kind of (if any) bonus might someone receive at year end at a Big 4? Might there be a bonus around the busy tax season?

Apr 10, 2007
teabag822:

What kind of (if any) bonus might someone receive at year end at a Big 4? Might there be a bonus around the busy tax season?

The top 10% of performers may receive between a 5-10% bonus.

When you get promoted to senior, you get $1k, when you get promoted to manager, you get $3k.

Overall, it's peanuts.

Apr 15, 2007

so i guess since my interest is in IB, i will be looking towards CFA then MBA in my 30s?

Had a very horrible experience in a big4 audit.

Apr 15, 2007

FWIW, my girlfriend is entering into Deloitte's summer audit program. Will be making $1000/week working in Hartford and will live for free at home just north of there. Interns make prorated analyst pay, so whoever said $50-55k for a CPA entry is about right.

Many CPAs are also being pushed towards getting their CFA as well. My girlfriend is going to get her MS in Finance instead of Accounting in order to get more experience to take the CFA in a few years, and then probably get her MBA after she's done working at Deloitte in 4-5 years. Hopefully by the end of her time at Deloitte she'll be in the $80k+ range and be able to finance the debt for her MBA. After that, she's looking at P/E firms in Stamford- doesn't want to live in the city, just nearby.

Anyways, the basic thing I'm trying to say is that CPAs at the start can make $55k with a cost of living way below those BB analysts. The IBD bonuses are much, much better, but as others have said, a CPAs job is much more stable based on the market. Obviously an IBDer has better exit opps on average, but many auditors after working at a Big 4 are going to get their CFA and then entering grad school after 4-5 years as in Audit. It's not a bad track and gets you a wide array of skills- Big 4 experience, CFA knowledge, and then opportunities to get into some of the best MBA programs.

Apr 15, 2007

Also, Big 4 hours are usually 50-55 a week for 8-9 months, then January to early May it spikes to about 80-85. Compared to what I've heard about IBD analysts (upwards of 100+ for some groups) the per hour pay is relatively similar, if not better in some instances.

Apr 15, 2007

I interned at a Big 4 in the past, and also have my CPA (part of my program, no interest in going into accounting though).

These are accurate numbers: Partners at Big 4 average about 500k, 1st year partners make 250-300k, MPs usually make 1mm or higher. Not real impressive considering how high their role is in their (gigantic) organizations. But then again, they don't really add any value for the party that writes their checks.

What people fail to consider is that, even though they make considerably less money, they have complete job security, and much less stressful jobs/lives; they are usually pretty involved with their families. Accounting is just easier, career-wise. It is less competitive & they are just checking work, so it is much easier to be correct, and people rarely discover it even if they are wrong.

Furthermore, right now it is VERY easy to get jobs in accounting, because they are desperate for people. They have pretty hot girls too.

Jun 22, 2007

How much do accounting interns make during a summer? Are they paid the same hourly wage that entry level staff auditors are paid?

Thanks

Jun 23, 2007

Interns are paid on an hourly basis and usually make from $20-$25 an hour depending on the city you work in. You get paid OT at 1.5x your hourly rate, so the interns that get a lot of OT get paid pretty well.

Jun 23, 2007

accounting is a really great job. I know FTers in Big4 and they are more than content

Jun 23, 2007

Accounting intern pay for NY is 4300 per month plus overtime. Some other office locations offer a signing bonus, not NY though.

Jun 23, 2007

So if that's the pay for NY, then would an intern working for the same company in Dallas/Houston make around $3500/month?

Thanks

Jun 24, 2007

Dallas & Houston both have equivalent annualized pay of 50K per year, however that breaks down into a 40 hr week. Overtime @1.5 and a signing bonus of 5K for internships and another if you accept the full time offer.

The thing that sucks about Big4 is they actually pay less for working in NY vs. Dallas/Houston.

Jun 24, 2007

I know that Dallas and Houston this past Jan-March (the normal intern window) got paid $23 and change per hour (which works out to about $4k a month)plus the intern signing bonus which is usually around $4k. Then at the end of the internship, if you get a fulltime offer and sign it, the firm throws in another signing bonus.

Jun 24, 2007

Anyone got similar numbers for north of the border?
Good info though

Jun 25, 2007

Im with a Big4 Firm for a year now because of the experience alone. I would do my job if it was a non-paying internship for 2 years, because I have met two many top dogs who all started out in the Big4. I know nothing about I-Banking(thats why I am here to learn). But how does an analyst in an I-Banking firm move on to the accounting/finance department in a Fortune 500 company? I know for accountants like myself I have been on the audit of a firm tops in the industry with almost a half a trillion in assets. I have seen the guts of this company from the point of view of several different business units within the company. I know this is why my experience will get me a great job someday. Serious Question. What does the experience in I-banking lead to?

Jun 25, 2007
uf showboat:

Im with a Big4 Firm for a year now because of the experience alone. I would do my job if it was a non-paying internship for 2 years, because I have met two many top dogs who all started out in the Big4. ... I know for accountants like myself I have been on the audit of a firm tops in the industry with almost a half a trillion in assets. I have seen the guts of this company from the point of view of several different business units within the company.What does the experience in I-banking lead to?

Your background is very valuable. Don't listen to much of the hearsay on the forum. Some of the discussions are so misleading it's ridiculous. Kids on the forum stubbornly think you can only get into IB either out of undergrad as an analyst or out of B-school as an associate or it's IMPOSSIBLE. Total myth.

It's really a disservice to future IB candidates such as yourself who do not go the "traditional" route. You have a good plan. Stick to it.

I know PLENTY of people hired as laterals into 3rd year analysts jobs at IB after working at a Big 4. Similarly, I've seen Big 4 candidates with even more years of experience lateral into associate roles too.

Fact is that many analysts leave their 2 year analysts/associates DO head to Fortune 500 firms vs. going straight to B-school etc. Examples:

One analyst I know went from CSFB to Sara Lee corporate development and is still there to this day.

Another CSFB analyst went to Blue Cross/Blue Shield in corporate finance for about 2 years and then afterwards did B-school. Which means he graduated B-School 6 years after completing undergrad, right? Fast forward to the present and this person is now a Director at Highmark. (Just to tally it for you, he's 33 years old about now)

I know an associate who left IB for a VP role in corporate finance within a top consulting firm. He worked on a banking engagement and wound up being recruited by the client as a Managing Director for a business unit.

So not everyone goes into PE/HF/VC. More people than not wind up in Fortune 500.

Hell, I'll probably do the same... LVMH Paris here I come!

Jun 26, 2007

Would working for a Big 4, then going to a top B-school help me get an job in IB? Would it be a good idea to audit some IBs and other finance companies?

Jun 27, 2007

Who gets paid higher in the Big 4, auditors or tax consultants?

Jul 5, 2008
Comment
Jul 6, 2008
Comment
Mar 13, 2010
May 17, 2010
Comment
May 17, 2010