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Showing posts from August, 2011

response to reviews

The firm I work for does annual reviews (I know other firms have little evaluations much more frequently.) My first review will be coming up in a couple of months. Do you have any advice for a first-year on how to prep for a review? I don't think that the reviewee is expected to bring a written self-evaluation to the table, but I feel the need to write one for myself to help bolster me mentally against criticisms, and potentially to argue on my own behalf. What should I expect? Should I be prepared to counter the reviewers evaluation of my "weak points" or do I just sit and listen quietly?





The most effective way is for you to keep notes of all the good things you did, especially the above-and-beyond work you performed. Also, you should probably have a good idea of the weaknesses that your reviewer will bring up, and so you should make sure to bring up counter-points. When the reviewer has a valid point, just agree with him or her and tell that person you're working o…

leverage

Finally into the questions that were posted in August....

How successful are Big 4 auditors in leveraging outside offers for pay raises? What is the best way in going about doing this?

On average, there's a 10-20% bump from your big 4 salary, plus a signing bonus. People usually negotiate an extra 5%, so for example, if they offer you a 15% bump, you come back with 25%, and the Company agrees to do 20%, or 15% plus a higher signing bonus.
Be honest, use your headhunter to do the negotiated since they are pretty experienced in doing so.
Some wait until they hear about their pay raises in the summer time from the audit firms, and then use that salary amount to negotiate a 15-20% raise on top. Smart move.

vacation days big 4

What are common times to take a week off? Christmas to New Years? Is it frowned upon to take days off during busy season?How do vacation days work at Big 4 firms? Do people (in particular first years) tend to use up all their days, or is there an unspoken thing where you only take them when you really need them?Many big 4 employees take their vacation in the summer time, with a week off between Christmas and New Years. The only unspoken rule is that you do not take any vacation days during busy season (jan-march/april time frame). Many individuals use up most of their days, and sometimes lose a few days but you can always get around this by planning ahead of time. The other unspoken rule is to take a day off after you've been scheduled on a client. So try taking your days off during open times in your schedules. If your schedule is packed and you run the risk of losing your days off, it is totally okay to go to scheduling and let them know, and they usually will do everything they…

lunch

Backed up on questions right now, I will try and get to the interesting ones but it will take me time.
Can you talk some about the cuisine?...Seriously, after 3 years of auditing, the thought of a decent lunch is what keeps me going.
Funny question, but still got me thinking. Let's list out what typical team members do -
1) Bring lunch from home - There are usually three types of people who bring lunch from home: people who live at their parents' home, people who are married, and women (pardon my sexism, I'm just saying'). These lunches are usually a sandwich with a can of soda. Some mix it up and get some pasta, or chicken and rice, or something on those lines. Then you have people from Asia, who end up getting ethnic food with all sorts of meat. Some look real tasty, and some just stink up the joint. People, there's nothing wrong with eating whatever you like, but understand that in audit, given the crampness of the rooms and the number of team members, we're…

client service

How much of Big 4 auditing is client services? Maybe like time spent working with clients versus actual checking accounting accuracy?

This really depends on your level. As a staff associate, I'd say 30% client communication, 70% audit work. As a senior associate, it's 50-50. As a manager, it's 70%-30%, etc.

Kool-Aid alert: This is a perk of staying at the Firms for a while. Things are always changing, and you keep building on your communication skills and learning the art of keeping the client happy.

advice for associates out of college

Sorry for the blogging delay, just haven't needed a vent like I did in the past, which could be interpreted as good and bad...

Is there any additional advice you have for someone starting as an associate straight from school?

Here are five I can think of -
a) Socialize with your peers, get to know them. You will need them when you go through the painful periods in your work life. Have fun during training, but don't go overboard as to give everyone a story to define you by. I still remember this one kid stumbling into training on Friday at 11 am because he was too drunk. The whole class applauded when he came in because we remember what he did the night before. He is a manager now, and that's still the first thing I think of everytime I see him.
b) Befriend your scheduling liason. Make sure he/she gets to like you. Say your thank yous, and make sure they think you appreciate what they do. If you don't, and are too curt with them, they could ship you off to a remote destin…