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Showing posts from January, 2009

tips to ease your audit life

Okay, so most of you who just began in the audit practice hate this job. That's how many of you probably ended up reading this blog. You're probably either in or just about to begin the much talked-about "busy season". You don't think it's going to get any better. Cheer up, people.
Trust me, busy season will be horrendous if you go into work with a bad mood every time. You bring yourself down, and the team down along the way. Anyway, let's look at ways you can significantly improve your life at the auditing firms (took me 5 yrs in the business to understand this, and i'm still learning) -
a) Pick your team - This is such an important factor in determining whether you want to walk to come to work every day. I don't care if you're going with Isaac Newton, nobel laureates or the best accounting heads in the business, if they don't have people skills and tend to treat you like dirt, it's not worth it. How do you go about picking your team? …

does it get better?

"I've only been working for 3 months at a Big 4 accounting firm, and I'm just finding that I'm not liking the work and already can't wait to leave. Is this just a phase that I'll get over or is this a sign that I shouldn't be in this line of work or this particular firm? How did you feel after 3 months? "

Really good question. Obviously, it can be on a case by case basis, but I can tell you how my mindset changed, and what the mindset in general seems to be.
When I started off, I absolutely hated this job. Within two months, I wanted out. But I persisted, and the 2nd year didn't get any better. There were quite a few moments when I updated my resume, ready to get out. The next 2-3 years, it gets better. Sure, you work longer, and you get more responsibility, but you actually use your brains more. The mundane tasks can be pushed downwards, and it does get better. By then, you'll have this thing down pat. You delegate more downward, you get more d…

lost and found?

Joe: So...i lost my laptop...what now?
Admin: You LOST your laptop?
Joe: Umm..yea..I left it on the metro...the bag's gone now. I don't know what to do.
Admin: You LOST your laptop?
Joe: Well..i misplaced it.
Admin: Okay, well we don't get too many of these calls. I'll have to file a report. Contact your local computer group and they'll set you up with a temporary computer.
Over the next two hours, he got calls from upper management and the head of HR.
"There's confidential information in there. How could you lose it?'
Joe: "Well, I'm sorry. It won't happen again"
HR: "Yeah well it better not."
The firm went back and forth with him for an entire day, making him feel real guilty. Now there's a slide in every general firm presentation on laptop security.

Lost files are another issue. This happens once every few months, and the region gets a general email asking if anyone found these files.

The good thing is, with is extre…

Big 4 vs the other public accounting firms

"I get the vibe that most of the people in public accounting are temporary, i.e. they get poached for corporate level positions. My specific question is this; 1) Do people in firms other than the Big 4 face the same type of head hunting? I am sure it has to do with the individual clients you encounter, but I know you can provide more insight. 2) Are you more likely to make partner in a small firm? 3) Is there a huge pay differential between Big 4 and small firms?"

Let me answer your question in parts...
1) I really don't know if the people in the other firms face the same type of head hunting...i.e. calls every few days. I'm sure they do get recruiter calls, but I'm guessing not as frequently as the employees in big 4 firms, even though this experience is grossly over-rated, and the employees in smaller firms have just as much experience as we do, the only major difference being the lack of a diverse clientele.
It really doesn't have to do with the individual cl…

career progression

"What can you tell me about the different possible tracks a person would take at the Big 4 in regards to tax vs. audit? Is there a difference in career progression among the two specialties? How about career potential? Workload?"

Loaded question. In terms of career potential, they're both pretty potent. Audit leads you to controller/accounting manager/ VP - accounting positions at companies if you choose to quit. Tax can lead to tax manager positions at various companies/ help them minimize taxes and exploit tax loopholes. It's a pretty important position in many companies...I'm not an expert on tax careers though, so you might want to ask somebody in a tax related position.
In terms of career progression, it's the same as audit...start off as a staff associate...move to senior..manager..snr mgr..partner.
In terms of workload, my friends in the tax department seem to work two busy the fall and in the spring. So I think they work more than i…


First off, Happy New Year.

Thought I'd start off with a book recommendation..."Ahead of the Curve: Two years at Harvard Business School" by Philip Delves Broughton. The book is about his two years at HBS - the classes, the HBS culture and the stress that comes along with it. It's a good read, and although there are many pages you can skip, it's worth looking at just to understand the makeup of the HBS classes and the class culture and dynamic. For those of you considering an MBA, check this out.