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Showing posts from October, 2007


"Could you tell if someone quit or was fired? Are there many layoffs at the big 4?"

Similar to other companies, the gossip wheels churns with the best amongst the auditors. If we work 10-12 hour days, people are bound to talk, and provide some semblance of entertainment at the expense of others. It takes a lot to get fired though. Outside of arson, sexual acts, blatant lack of productivity, and fraudulent work, there aren't too many reasons I can think of.
Layoffs, yeah, it happens,but rarely. Due to a lack of commercial growth in certain regions in this country, or the inability to bring in new clients, people who are not staffed regularly and are not assigned on most workdays, tend to get laid off, or "counseled out."
"Counseled out"..this is the new lingo being thrown around these days. From what I understand, it basically means that HR conveys to your counselor that your services aren't needed much, and your counselor (everyone gets one, the titl…

CPA bonus

That's the amount two of the big 4 (PWC and EY) are paying new hires if they pass the CPA in their first year of eligibility. KPMG and Deloitte don't pay anything yet. Although KPMG did present a check for $1,000,000 before game 4 of the world series to some charity, so they do have the money.
Note that these figures may well be wrong, and please correct me yet.
Now that's a pretty darn good incentive to buckle down and study. Heck, if this was the case earlier, most people my level would have been bogged down in their becker and bisk books to get through the exam. The firms realize that this is the best form of motivation for their pencil pushers. There is a huge shortage of CPAs in this country and it's difficult to find time to study the further you are in your career, so not only did some states change the rules so you could sit for your CPA while you're wearing diapers, but the firms have started offering some really good incentives to their min…

people skills

One thing that really pissed me off this week was the apparent lack of people skills shown by some higher-ups. I know structural promotion by experience is well and good, but bloody heck, being a manager doesn't just mean reviewing workpapers. You have to manage teams, you have to learn how to negotiate, how to be flexible. Don't just promote any hobo who makes it through a set number of years. If anything, organize mandatory people skills workshops. Make them take mandatory online web-based learnings classes. This can extend to seniors too. As much as structured promotions account for very good job security and such,it pains me to see seniors, managers and above, display an utter and total disregard for interpersonal skills.
Another senior quit this week, one who dealt with the very same manager I'm talking about. Wonder why?

big 4 trainings

This is in response to the question about trainings that we receive...
most of what we learn about auditing comes from on-the-job training. The formal trainings, honestly, sucks. Don't get me wrong, I love the formal trainings, but the only reason I do is because it gives me a chance to catch up with my peers. During our formal trainings, I'm either on the internet, playing pc games, or, if they make us shut down our laptops, I have no choice but to zone out. And trust me, I am not alone, so is 60-75% of my class. Funnily enough, I look at our trainings as a break from auditing and so I love it. The best ones are the offsite ones...Chicago, Orlando, etc. Imagine putting a bunch of 20 somethings in a hotel for a week, it's usually a blast. Once you get your CPA though, these trainings actually count for something since they count as CPE credits and thus keep your license active.
How periodic are these trainings? Probably around 2-3 weeks a year. Since it actually costs them m…

audit clients

This is in response to the most recent blog comment. First off, thanks for the question since I was running out of topics to blog about.

-How many companies do you audit a year?
Personally, I average around seven clients a year, including two public companies. But it really depends on one's schedule. Some of my co-workers only work on 1-2 big clients a year, whereas some work on as many as 10. It's kinda like an audit valley, in terms of numbers. As a staff/associate, you start off on quite a few clients, ranging from one-two days on jobs to four-five months. But most entry-level auditors work on a variety of clients. Once you hit the senior level, you assume more responsibility and thus reduce your client load (although your workload increases) to 3-4 (on average, but it really varies by schedule.) For the survivors, the Johnny and Annie Audits who hit the managerial level, the client load increases 2-3 fold. This is because you don't spend as much time on certain companies…

classic email

For those of you who haven't seen this classic email from a German KPMG partner who was in the US at that point (2005), enjoy (For those who are wondering, this is definitely true and made the email chain throughout the big 4 and further. He meant Jeans):

On behalf of the partners, I would like to thank each of you for your diligence and hard work in serving our clients and contributing to the success of our office. With the audit busy season drawing to a close and tax not far behind, we wish to show our appreciation by designating Fridays as "No Pants Day" in the office starting March 18 through April 15.
There are a few protocols that we must follow as we are a professional services firm. "No Pants Day" is limited to personnel on site at KPMG's premises. While we would like to extend the privilege to all, we must respect our clients' dress codes for those of you working off-site. Similarly, if you have client meetings scheduled in our offices, we ask th…