Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2011

best time to leave

You mentioned that Sr. Mgs. can't get a Controller gig due to lack of private experience. If that's the case, when's the best time to get out? Manager? Senior III?
It really depends on what you want to do after you leave. If you want to switch career paths, leave now. If you want a 9-5 lifestyle as a senior accountant, so you can leave at a normal time and enjoy life, with the work not as challenging, leave after 2-3 years. If you want a senior revenue accountant position or something more specific that pays well, is mostly 8:30-6 but during monthly and quarterly closes, wouldn't mind working till 8 pm or so, leave after 4 years. If you want an assistant controller position, a revenue manager position or an SEC reporting manager position, leave after your manager 1 year. If you want a director of technical research position or a controller position (both of which aren't readily available), leave as a manager 3 or as a senior manager.

road to becoming a partner

A buddy at a big4 and I were talking the other day how much harder it must be to make partner nowadays. Back in the SOX boom, it seemed like the road was a lot easier.
Your friend is absolutely right. It was significantly easier back then (relatively speaking). At the end of the day, it's all about the benjamins. Money was pouring in during the 404 era and so the partners needed morehands on deck to spread the responsibility around, especially since their coffers were being filled with dollars, so there was more money to spread around. The economy was booming, there were more startups, which means more companies needing audits, and thus more $$ coming in. Life was good for the partners. Spread the wealth around, but still have enough money to buy themselves that beach house for the summer.
And then 2008 happened.

Nobody was leaving the firms, which meant a bloated payroll. There were no IPOs. Startups stopped getting financings. Companies started trying to cut costs, and aimed at aud…


What are performance reviews? They're basically a review of your performance on particular jobs, and help dictate whether you get promoted and how much your raise will be.

Man I absolutely hate writing and discussing performance reviews. When someone works with you on a three month job, you have to keep notes of key points during the 3 mth period so you can add it to the review. Then you write a two page review that ends up looking like one or two paragraphs. But you have to be real careful when writing these reviews. Odds are these individuals are going to be working with you in the future, so you don't want them being pissed off at you the whole time. You can't be too brutal in the reviews, since this might change their career path. I've reached a point where I write reviews and won't submit it for a few days, so I can re-read it and make sure it wasn't my mood at the time that dictated the review. Believe me, writing reviews can be heavily dictated by the moo…

big 4 turnover

Can you please make a blog post about the turnover rates at Big4? I think it's one of those things that get a lot of attention but never discussed enough.

Oh it's discussed a lot within the big 4. A lot. But I would guess you're right that it's not discussed externally. I'd say the attrition rate is about 15-20% a year. See my audit factory post for an earlier take on why this works for the big 4. It went down to 1-2% from 2008-2009 so the firms had no choice but to lay people off. It really is part and parcel of the game. It's a training ground for many accountants, who endure hell their first few years in order to leave and secure good jobs at public and private companies. Everyone expects 1 in every 5-8 employees to put in their notice every year. It's a fun time, with everyone trying to figure out the implications of somebody leaving, and rumors of others leaving. The thing I find funny about this - when this happens every year, some people always think…

favoritism in the big 4

I think it would be interesting if you did a post concerning favoritism in an accounting firm and how to get past it.
As a staff at my mid-size public accounting firm, it's particularly annoying when another staff gets work the day he gets back into the office (lets say Wednesday), while I've been unassigned since Monday.

Not going to lie, I exhibit favoritism when I can. It's a part of human nature, and it's tough to get past it, be it a conscious or unconscious decision on your part. That's one reason we have schedulers, whose job is to fairly allocate work amongst the staff and senior associates, without bias. I'm assuming this is something they're trained to ignore. Now if you get on a scheduler's bad side, you're screwed, because they can vengefully put you on a job 200 miles away without regret. Oh, it's happened before. And I don't blame them, people do not treat them with enough respect sometimes since they make scheduling er…