For undergraduates, accounting career fair is likely the first time you meet with official representatives from these firms. Career fairs range in size: it can be as small as a handful of reps in a function room, or it can be held in a resort with hundreds of local, regional and national companies across many industries.
General Career Fairs
These are big recruiting events organized by your college, or jointly with other nearby colleges to attractive more employers to attend. You will be able to meet not only Big 4 and other accounting firms, but also Fortune 500, regional and local companies.
Meet the Firms
Meet the Firms are smaller career fairs for the accounting and finance profession. Organized by your college’s accounting club or Beta Alpha Psi, they are usually bi-annual events: one during fall for full-time recruitment; another in winter to early spring for summer internships.
Typically an invitation-only event, the format varies from BBQ to a rather formal dinner. The firm rep to student ratio is higher and you can consider this a pre-interview event. BBQs are more casual, but at dinners you make polite small talk, partners and managers pimp their firms, while associates attend for free food, and you get to talk about why you are interested in that particular accounting firm.
Why are You Attending the Career Fair?
People go to these fairs for different reasons. For those who are starting out, this is a good place for initial research. You can talk to recruiters and employee representatives from many firms and industries, and ask honest questions you might otherwise avoid in formal interviews. You can even ask some of them to review your resume and seek for their advice. From there you can narrow down your preference when it’s time for interviews.
For others who know which firms they are interested in, it’s a pre-interview process and a chance to leave a good impression.
What You Should Bring and Wear at Accounting Career Fair
Most organizers specify the dress code, but it is most likely business formal. Whatever people say, I would go for conservative business formal because this is what the recruiters and attending professionals expect to see.
I would also bring a nice leather resume holder with at least 10 copies of your resume; blank paper, pen as well as a place to hold all the business cards you will be collecting. For guys this means the suit pockets but ladies may need to think about where to put them.
What If My College isn’t a Target School?
If big accounting firms don’t attend your school’s campus fair, you might want to contact nearby schools and see if you can participate their fair. If you manage to get in (or sneak in), be honest to recruiters and tell them why you are there.
Your Steps to Success at the Career Fair
Most students are inexperienced in attending career fairs. You have a great advantage if you follow these steps and mentally go through what you will see and whom you will meet on the day.
1. Research Ahead
You don’t have time and energy to visit all attending firms. You must prioritize, and research helps narrow down your choices. I would pick 4-6 companies to allow sufficient time for you to chat with the representatives and leave a good impression.
2. Be Likeable
You have two goals in this fair:
Get your target firms to like you
Show them that you are serious
The first goal is more important than the second in my opinion. Accounting firms host these recruiting events to scout candidates that are a good fit for their firm. If they like you, it’s good fit.
Part of your job as a public accountant is to talk to people on a daily basis, may it be your client, team or interns. Therefore, CPA firms look for candidates who can hold a decent conversation. I have suggestions below on questions for the associates and managers. If you run out of questions, you can also talk about your hobbies, sports, or whatever that click with that person. Just don’t get too carried away or else you’ll miss goal #2 (show them that you are serious).
3. Start with Your Least Favorite Firms
It is pretty normal to get nervous, and this affects your ability to converse naturally and be likable. To calm yourself down and boost your confidence, start chatting with people in the firms that you don’t really want to join. It could be the last choice among your 4-6 firms in mind, or it could be any company with friendly looking representatives. Once you are settled and excited to meet people, move on to your target firms.
4. Target the Associates, not the Partner
Your peers would naturally want to talk to partner or senior manager, since these guys are more important and have more say in the recruiting process.
While this is true, I don’t prefer this strategy.
I suggest that you talk to the junior accountants first. First, you don’t need to queue up and talk to them, and they are usually eager to talk to you because they want to appear to work hard.
Second, they are closer to your age, and are more helpful in answering your “real” questions (by that I mean questions you really want to get answers for, not those to impress).
Good questions include:
How is your transition from school to working full-time?
What type of training you received at the firm starting out to prepare you for work?
Any advice on what to accomplish before starting?
What should I focus on in school during my last semesters?
Don’t ask these bad questions:
Technical questions, especially those above your own experience — don’t pretend like you know more than you do
Specific questions about the firm — wouldn’t it be embarrassing if they don’t know
Recent scandals of the firm — always stay positive
Another important reason is that many attending associates and seniors are alumni of your school. That’s why they are at this career fair and not elsewhere. There are so many things in common that you can bring up and start an interesting conversation. Back to point #2, being able to carry a good conversation is the key to impress.
Once you think they like you enough, you can ask for their business cards, and even ask them to introduce you to their manager or above. It’s much better (and faster) to approach the partner this way.
5. Get Introduced to the Manager+
Being introduced by the associates is equivalent to a stamp of approval, and yes, the manager/SM/partner should pay more attention to you. To take advantage of this opportunity, don’t chit chat about random things with the partner. He is busy and easily distracted by the 20 students around him each trying to ask a question.
Begin by saying how helpful the associates have been telling you about the everyday life as a first year. Ride on that and ask similar question related to the senior guy. For example, if you have been discussing the various industry groups, ask about how the partner got into his group, or how life was like back then when he was a first year. Something that stirs his fond memory and hopefully connect his old self with you.
6. Wrap Up the Conversation
Be considerate and don’t talk to the partner for an hour. Besides, you have other firms to meet. Wrap up the conversation gracefully as soon as you think you’ve left a good impression. Get their contacts for follow up, thank them and leave.
7. Take Notes before Your Forget
Lots of things are going on at the career fair. It would be such as waste (or disaster) if you forget or mix up the details of whom you have talked to. John used to jot down tiny notes on the back of people’s business cards. I used to laugh at him but this is actually a quick and effective way to get organized.
8. Shoot Our Your Thank you Emails
While memory still fresh, write thank you emails to the people you had 3-5 minutes of good chat with. Customize each email with the sparks and highlight of the conversation. Express yourself as someone who is interested not just about a job, but the people who are representing the firm.
Some readers suggest to connect them using Linkedin. I haven’t tried sending thank you notes via Linkedin, but it’s a great idea to explore.
Campus recruiting is the easiest way to break into Big 4 and big accounting firms. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd with so many students there, but if implement the above strategies, you give yourself a great start. Good luck!
Check out Roger CPA Review’s Tips on Meet the Firms
Some of you may be worrying your Big 4 offer being rescinded for different reasons. Here are the most common concerns from my readers, and how I think you should react:
1. Big 4 Offer Rescinded after Negotiation
The firms will not revoke the offer simply because you try to negotiate. Don’t worry, you have the right to do it.
Whether there is room for negotiation is another story. For first year, the pay is pretty much standard depending on location and your education. For experienced hires, you may have some leeway based on how urgent the Big 4 needs you (mostly because of your industry expertise).
2. Offer Rescinded after Background Check
Some of you might be worrying about offer withdrawal due to unfavorable background check.
If it is a relatively minor offense such as DUI (driving under influence) and that it is not related to finance and integrity, it should be fine. You might still get a call from HR requesting an explanation. I would say be honest about it, and try your best to explain why it happened back then, and why it will never happen again.
3. Offer Rescinded due to Grades
Your GPA should have been clearly stated on your resume. If not, one of the interviewers should have asked you. If you believe your grades are low but somehow they extend an offer — congratulations, they must have liked you enough.
However, if you have been lying about your GPA, you are in bigger trouble. HR usually requests that you send in the transcripts upon graduation and therefore your grades would be clearly shown. At this point, there isn’t much you can do.
4. Offer Rescinded due to Incorrect Salary Information
I have seen lateral hires inflating their salary numbers hoping to shoot for more in the Big 4. They might not be lying exactly, but they estimate their bonus and quantify benefits that weren’t actually paid. Not a good idea.
Lying about your salary is grounds for withdrawing an offer. Once you give a salary number that is recorded and depending on the company they may or may not verify your salary. So it’s a risky game, you can’t change your answer once you have given it and if they request that your salary be verified you are pretty much done.
From what I know, the Big 4 as well as most Fortune 500 companies participate in and use a company called The Work Number which provides employment verification and salary verification. There is another similar service known as HireRight. If your current company participates in either of these two services, the Big 4 can pull your salary history.
The Work Number and HireRight verification reports are very detailed. They list all the companies, positions held, annual salary numbers, bonuses paid, bi weekly gross pay figures, and vacation balances.
Your offer will most likely not be revoked due to negotiation, minor offenses and low grades. The killer is dishonesty. Let’s stay truthful and honest as public accountants. Ethics is highly valued in our profession.
One attraction of working in a global firm is the opportunity to work overseas for a few years without disrupting your career. At the Big 4, they are known as international assignments. Are you ready for that?
Timing of the International Assignment
Big 4 international assignment, also known as international rotation, is arranged when there is a need of technical skills in overseas offices. Because they mostly want US GAAP expertise, only seniors and above are qualified, with most going at manager or senior manager level.
The terms of your global mobility contract is usually negotiated between home country, host country, and possibly also the client. Your home office pays a minimum expat benefits, such as basic relocation and storage expenses.
The better your industry and skills match with what is required in the host office, the more likely they will pay for extra benefits. This may include housing (rent and agency fees), full relocation expenses, meal allowance, education allowance for children, and assisting your spouse to find work in the host country. The higher your level, the higher the benefits.
Nature of Assignment
Given the nature of work, there are more international rotations in assurance than in tax and advisory.
There are exceptions, of course. My husband John started at Financial Advisory Services at PwC at the New York headquarters. A few months into his job, he was sent to Tokyo for a 6-month international assignment. He stayed at the Imperial Hotel for the entire time and ate so much sushi (on company’s account) that he got food poisoning… It was however very tedious work. There was a reason to send him there.
There are two types of international assignments: strategic and non-strategic.
Strategic Rotation: The Pros
Strategic means value-add in the eyes of the firm, but they try to align your interest. This means the opportunity also matches your industry and technical expertise. For strategic assignments, the firm will take care of you in the host country and make sure you come back to broadly what you want to do.
You may express your preference in terms of location, but for top performers willing to be placed in any office to add the most value, the firm has the most incentive to keep you happy with a generous expat package and a good position when you return to the US.
International assignments are great personal experience, and may help your career, particularly after the Big Four. The experience is invaluable from a resume perspective and shows to your firm and prospective employers you are willing to take risks for the right opportunities.
Strategic Rotation: The Cons
This isn’t for everybody, especially those with family and kids.
At the same time, some people have a hard time integrating back to the US office after a couple of years. Lots of client and staff turnover may have happened in past 2 years, and you may not be able to get back to your client and your team.
These are more random temporary relocations without much strategic value to the firm, nor do they offer long-term career development. John’s Tokyo assignment mentioned above is non-strategic.
If you are able to return to your own team after a few months, it could be a cool experience and an interesting stint to mention in the resume. However, you do run a risk of doing random, mundane and tedious work all day, with local staff whom you don’t click.
Compensation and Tax Issues
For most people I talk to, the compensation remains the same, with adjustment due to the difference in cost of living. For strategic assignments, the adjustment is usually favorable. For example, if your children need to attend expensive English-speaking schools in the host country, the firm will pay for that. You may be given a driver and housekeeper if that is the local custom.
For tax, you won’t be better or worst off. The firm pays your actual tax, then calculate the portion you need to pay them using a tax equalization mechanism. HR personnel specializing in expat arrangement will take care of this.
Does Big 4 International Assignment Accelerate My Path to Partnership?
It depends. Most strategic international assignments are jobs with large clients, which is always helpful in your track record within the Big 4. If the client is not only big, but also complex and generates lots of revenue, it is the best one you can get. If you are lucky enough to work under a popular partner in the host office, even better.
On the other hand, if your client isn’t meaningful and you work under an unknown partner in a small office, you are better off just getting to a big market in the US (New York, Chicago, Silicon Valley). From there, get on a high profile client and work as hard as you can.
If you like the idea of traveling, working with large clients give you enough opportunities to travel to their regional offices. Short trips to many different places could be a more interesting experience than one big international assignment.
How to Increase Your Chance of Success
Okay. You still want to do it. What should you do?
1. Strive to be Top Performer
Your are normally eligible to apply with an above-average rating, but those rated a 1 or 2 have the highest priority for strategic assignments.
2. Plan Early
Once you hit senior (or second year for high performers), discuss with your performance development coach, who can get additional information from HR.
3. Make Your Business Case
If you are interested in a specific country or region, identify the strongest industry there. For example, if you are interested in a Hong Kong rotation and banks are the highest-profile clients there, you should start manage your career and get financial services experience. The better you prepare, the stronger your business case by the time you are eligible to apply.
4. Brush up the Local Language
Many offices are fine with English alone, but some do prefer you speak (and even read) the local language. Again, it could only help your case.
5. Stay in Contact with Your Colleagues in Home Office
This is what you should do after getting the assignment, but very important. Keeping regular contact with your team and colleagues in your home office will help your transition back to the US much easier. Simple gestures such as emailing to say hi, sending Christmas cards to important people, and dropping by the office whenever you are back to your home town for vacation… there are many ways to keep people from forgetting you.
Let’s say you met a Big 4 senior manager at a networking event, and through persistent follow ups, you are finally invited to have lunch with her near the office.
You really want to turn this into an opportunity at the firm. How do you make the best use of it?
Informational Interview over Lunch
1. Identify Common Topic(s) in Advance
First, this is a lunch. I bet the senior manager wouldn’t want to talk about accounting principals and latest changes in GAAP. You can let her choose a topic, but it’s better if you can initiate a conversation.
During the follow ups, you should have done something right to lead to this lunch. Most likely you two have something in common — Did you come from the same town? Do you have common friends, favorite movies, kids, dogs, etc. These are all great places to start the conversation.
2. Be Likeable
You never know the true purpose and outcome of this meet up. It could simply be a nice gesture on her part, or this could be an informal first interview.
In any case, present yourself as a likeable person. Everyone wants to hire cheerful, easy going and positive people as colleagues. Also, as a client-oriented business, the Big 4 looks for candidates who can carry a good conversation with clients.
The last thing you want to do is getting too nervous. It looks awkward, and gives a bad impression that you are thinking way ahead of yourself.
3. Be Prepared to Talk about Your Career Goals
Assuming she is older than you, it’s pretty normal for her to ask about your career aspiration. Be prepared to say something for medium to long term. You should definitely express your desire to work in her firm. For Big 4, the standard would be the training, exposure and prestige. You can also talk about the desire to continue your career in audi, tax or whatever you are doing right now.
4. Ask for Advice
A good way to take pressure off your shoulder is to turn the table and ask for her advice. After expressing your interest in the firm, ask for general advice of getting into the firm as an experienced hire (assuming you are one), or any specific tips you would like to get for your own situation. You can also ask for her experience and how she came to be successful. A subtle flattery is fine.
5. Offer Help
You can end the lunch by offering help. It could be anything e.g. helping her to follow up on the vet you mentioned earlier. The main purpose is to create a reason to contact her at a later date, and at the same time leave a great impression as a helpful and likeable person.
What Do You Think?
What are your suggestions? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you work for a big 4 firm, you may have heard what is referred to as the big 4 bonus. However, while the big 4 bonus is significant in dollar value, your overall big 4 salary is also importation. Therefore, we are going to cover not only the bonuses but also big 4 salaries and other perks.
In the U.S., the average Certified Public Accountant (CPA) earns a yearly salary of $65,032. For comparison’s sake, the average accountant without the CPA earns a yearly salary of $50,706. So clearly, having those three letters on your resume gives you a financial advantage.
PayScale further breaks down CPA salary data. According to their findings, entry-level CPAs earn an average salary of $51,940 a year while mid-career CPAs draw an average salary of $69,213 a year. The most experienced professionals make an average salary of $93,442 a year.
Big 4 salaries are typically higher than mid-tier and regional accounting firm salaries. Therefore, many accounting majors strive to become employed by big 4 due to the higher earning potential (among other things).
However, CPAs also have earnings potential beyond their base salaries. For example, many CPAs are eligible to receive bonuses based on their performance. And in fact, some companies even provide accountants with a bonus when they receive their CPA designation. Among these companies are the “Big 4,” or the largest accounting firms. They include Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.
The Standard Big 4 CPA Bonus
You will be getting $5,000 upon passing of the CPA exam within the first year of joining your firm. The amount is lower if you take longer to complete it. Most Big 4 will give you $3,000 if done within the second year, and $1,000 if done within the third year.
If you pass the exam before your first day of work, you will receive the CPA bonus 1-2 months after the start date.
Here are the exact wordings on the CPA bonus:
We offer significant incentives to those who obtain their CPA or other primary credential early, as well as reimbursement and educational programs to help you achieve this goal. For those taking and passing the CPA exam prior to starting or within your first year in Assurance or Tax at the firm, you may be eligible for a $5,000 bonus.”
– Page on compensation and Benefits
$5,000 award to Campus hire Associates joining KPMG with CPA exam passed, or who pass all parts of the CPA exam within 1st year of employment or CPA exam eligibility, whichever is later.
$3,000 award to Campus hire Associates who complete and pass the CPA exam during their second year of employment or CPA exam eligibility, whichever is later.
– Page on CPA Incentive Program
We provide upfront reimbursement for one certification review course and associated exam registration fees for first-time exam takers for required certifications. We also offer a professional certification bonus to reward you for attainment of required professional certifications early in your career.”
(CPA exam bonus information not available on Deloitte’s page)
Other CPA Related Perks, Sponsorships and Reimbursement
1. Exam Fee Reimbursement
Also, the application and exam registration fees are covered as well. Most Big 4 will pay whether you pass or not, but they will only reimburse your first attempt of each part of the exam.
2. Review Course Payment
The Big 4 has direct billing with Becker and you will be given the self-study course. One of the Big 4 gives you the choice of Wiley CPAexcel as well. If you have already paid for the review courses, you should be able to negotiate a higher signing bonus equivalent to this amount.
The understanding is that Big 4 auditors can only be promoted to manager after they pass the CPA exam, and normally, they expect you are done by the time you become senior.
4. Special Bonus to Elijah Watt Sells Award Winners
Each year, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants honors a number of individuals with the Elijah Watt Sells award for the highest cumulative scores on the Uniform CPA Examination. PwC awards a bonus of $20,000 to any PwC staff member who receives this prestigious industry recognition.”
I found this in the PwC annual report. I heard (but wasn’t able to confirm) that Deloitte and EY don’t have this bonus.
According to the standard rule, you are entitled to the above bonuses and perks if you work for the firm for at least a year (check the disclaimer in your offer letter or contract).
What You WON’T Get Immediately after Passing
1. Salary raise
In Big 4, you don’t get a salary raise right after passing the exam, but you will likely receive a bigger salary bump at the next annual review.
2. Automatic money transfer into your account
You need to take the initiative to contact HR, fill out the necessary paperwork and provide proof of your passing. Processing time can range from a few weeks to a few months — please expect 2-3 pay cycles before you get it.
3. Tax exemption of any sort
This bonus is taxable. Period.
CPA Bonus in Local and Regional CPA Firms
For mid size to large regional CPA firms, you can expect a bonus of $1,000-2,000. Some firms may choose to offer a salary raise, or even a promotion. The amount largely depends on the size and location of the firm.
You may be able to negotiate the reimbursement of exam fees and review courses as well.
These benefits are repayable if you leave the firm within a certain period, typically within 1-2 years.
For small and local CPA firms, you will get a pat on the back. Not too sure about the bonus though. Salary increase is always negotiable…
Anyway, the Biggest Bonus is…
You don’t need to study for this gruesome exam ever again!
For Your Further Reading
How to talk your employer into paying for your CPA exam
You are about to start your career at one of the big 4 accounting firms. Lots of things are going through your mind, and I know you are definitely wondering how you should dress.
Many people struggle with their confidence when it comes to business dress code, and even the most confident person can get confused about what is appropriate to wear. This is especially true if you are entering a new career or job for the first time, and you haven’t had the chance to feel it all out yet.
Is There a Big 4 Accounting Dress Code? What About an Accounting Dress Code?
Whether you are a new hire, an intern, or just planning for the day when you do get that job, it pays to know how you will be expected to dress. Most people can’t run out and buy a whole new wardrobe on the fly, so you can start picking out pieces now, or seeing what you have in your current closet that will be suitable.
Now, is there a Big 4 accounting dress code?
While there isn’t an official big 4 dress code, most public accountants dress in a certain way. Therefore, you’re going to be expected to do the same, or at least not to stand out in a very ostentatious way. You can be professional and within dress code guidelines and still explore your own creativity and individuality. However, it always helps to learn the “rules” first, before you learn when and how it is appropriate to bend or break them.
When it comes to accounting office attire, there are slight variations across the cities in the U.S., and the style could be quite different in other countries, especially those in Europe. In this post, we focus on the everyday office wear in the U.S.
First Day Tips
You may be the most anxious about dressing well for your first day at a big 4 accounting firm. We only get one shot to make a first impression and you want to get it right. You may be told to dress business casual, but I would go a tad more formal, with a tie and a suit (or a skirt-suit for women). In my opinion, it is prudent to be slightly more overdressed than underdressed. This is especially important for your first day until you familiarize yourself with the office you’ll be working in, your co-workers, and your clients’ offices.
Women’s clothing has a lot of variations and options when compared to men’s business clothing. For women, it’s hard to generalize. I would say dress respectfully, with an outfit that looks good in front of partners. You don’t necessarily need to be in a business suit, but you certainly don’t want to look like you’re going to the club, either. Again, business casual – with a slant toward more formal until you get to know the office environment more.
Once you settle in your office, you will find what you are comfortable with and how that fits in the “tone” of your particular office. But what happens when you travel, such as when you are sent to national training or seminars? You will be representing your office and firm, as well as yourself, so attire is important here.
You will be shipped out of town for national training for a couple of weeks, usually. Trainings are done in an informal setting and there are parties at night. The trainers are seniors and first-year managers, and the rest are your peers. This is definitely business casual.
Dress Code in Office and Client Site
After the training, you will start working either at the client site or at the office. In a typical office in the U.S., people usually go with a simple button-down dress shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. You want to be sure you’re comfortable, too, so you can make it through a whole workday without feeling like you’re restricted or uncomfortable in your attire.
For first or important client meetings, you may want to see how your manager dresses on the day, but typically you might want to dress up a little bit — with a tie and full suit (pant or skirt-suit for women).
Junior auditors spend most of their time in the field in clients’ offices. For everyday work at the client site, business casual is usually fine. Having said that, and depending on the client’s corporate culture and style of your manager, you may have specific instruction to dress otherwise. I have a friend whose general rule for his team is to wear “at the level” of the client’s CFO.
No matter what the guideline is, it is prudent to have a suit ready for any ad hoc meeting with the company’s management.
Attire for an Accounting Firm Interview
Career center advisors and professors say to “always dress the part” and this goes for an accounting firm interview as well. You should show up for the interview dressed as you would for the job you want. Not only does this set a good impression, but it also shows that you are willing to put in the time and effort to look the part you are interviewing for. Therefore, when deciding how to dress for an interview, I’d go with the guidelines above but focus on the slightly more formal side of business casual.
What Kind of Suit for an Intern at Big 4 Firm
What if you’ve been lucky enough to get an internship at a Big 4 firm? You want to show up looking professional and fit for the part, but not like a little kid playing dress-up in their parent’s closet. What kind of suit is good for an intern at a Big 4 firm?
When interning, you probably won’t wear a suit every day. Most firms will go with more business casual (dress pants and dress shirts) rather than a full suit every day. However, it’s always better to overdress than to underdress so you can play it safe and wear a suit your first day and possibly even your first week, and then decide from there.
There is no hard-and-fast rule on what type of suit you should wear but here are some guidelines:
Make sure your suit is fitting properly – not too big or too small, and get alterations if needed
Go with common, neutral colors – this is not the place to pull out that bright purple blazer
Choose complementary colors
Always have nice business shoes (and matching socks for men)
Big 4 Accounting Firms Dress Codes
What do we mean when we say “Big 4” accounting firms? The Big 4 (KPMG, Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)) are the four biggest professional services networks in the world. They offer auditing, assurance services, taxation, advisory services, management consulting, corporate finance, and legal services. So, you can see that there is a wide range of services that they offer.
Is the dress code for Big 4 accounting firms different from other accounting firms?
KMPG Dress Code
For your interview, dress to impress. It’s always better to overdress (I keep saying it because it’s so important) than to underdress. Apparently, KMPG also spends a lot of money helping their interns know how to dress. The company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on gift cards to help their interns dress properly for the job.
EY Dress Code
EY has one of the strictest dress codes of all the Big 4. When it doubt here, always go for more formal. An EY spokesperson said, “EY provides broad guidelines about the standard of attire that our people, who represent the firm, should adhere to. Our people are able to wear formal or business casual, depending on their professional working arrangements.”
Deloitte Dress Code
The dress code at Deloitte is formals from Monday through Thursday and business casual on Fridays. Again, if you are a new hire, a new intern, or joining with a new office, always ask if you’re unsure. For an interview, always go with business attire. You want to make a good first impression.
PwC Dress Code
PwC’s dress code is now “dress for your day.” Employees still need to follow the dress code of the clients they’re working with, but if they are in the PwC office, jeans and sneakers are just fine. This is definitely the laxest dress code of all of the Big 4. I’d still play it safe and go business professional or casual to an interview and first day on the job.
Rule of Thumb for Big 4 Accounting Dress Codes
Rule number one is to adapt to the culture in which you work. This is true for any job anywhere in the world. If the culture only calls for button-down dress shirts and slacks, then do that.
If it’s your first day of work and you aren’t sure about the culture, try to recall how your interviewers dressed. The juniors, seniors, and managers you saw around the office are also a good reference. If you are still not sure, stay on the conservative side.
2. Dress Smart; Not Smarter
It’s pleasing to dress smart with good style and good fit. But you shouldn’t aim to dress “smarter” than your peers in order to stand out. Most people don’t care. And for the few who do, it will likely come out as negative.
Questions about Accounting Dress Codes
1. We have casual Fridays that allow khakis and jeans, but my managers and above always wear a suit. Should I do that?
Yes, this could be one exception. Try to find out the reason — do the managers wear suits because of frequent client meetings, but is this the preferred style of upper management? I would probably dress something in between — a tad more formal than the usual casual Friday outfit (i.e. no jeans, but khakis and a shirt with nice cut and fabric). As you pass your first year, you may dress more like the managers if you wish to.
2. I love wearing a vest suit and I wonder if it’s appropriate in the office?
If you are a new hire, I would say no, simply because you don’t want to be called “the vest guy.” People may think you are trying too hard to impress. However, if you really love vests, you could add it in every now and then.
If it were me, I would take it down a notch to a regular suit with a tie, or dress pants paired with a blazer, or something just a step above business casual. Alternatively, if you can’t live without your vest, maybe once in a while, on special occasions, it’s okay to wear.
3. I look really young and I might look better with a full suit in the more “mature” style. What do you think?
I suggest to pick a more conservative color (this usually means the darker color) or go for a slightly more upscale look, but I wouldn’t go all the way to a full suit in the old style. You can’t carry the suit well with a young face. What’s worse, you’ll look like you’re trying too hard to fit some sort of a mold that no longer exists.
As you may be joining the batch with other 22-year-olds, I wouldn’t worry about looking too fresh. Colleagues and clients expect you to be young as a first-year associate.
Do you have additional questions you don’t see covered here? Please feel free to post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer. I want this to be as comprehensive a resource as possible for you. It can be stressful and exciting at the same time when entering a new career, so I want to help you do so with confidence!
Big 4 Accounting Dress Code Summary
Now, let’s take a look at a quick review of all that I’ve covered here in this post:
1. Be yourself but stay within the code.
2. Dress to impress but don’t overdress.
3. If you want to stand out, stand out as a professional who does excellent work, not one who dresses uniquely.
This is a page dedicated to female finance professionals who aim high to break the glass ceiling.
Male-Female Salary Disparity by Region
The IMA run three salary surveys in three different regions — the United States, China and the Middle East — based on thousands of their members in each of the region. These members may not be CMA charterholders but almost all work in the finance and accounting field.
Not surprisingly the US enjoys the best gender equality and China isn’t too far behind. Middle Eastern female has a long challenges ahead. They are also the least represented with only 7% of respondents being female.
Here is the analyses by region. You can get the detailed report at the bottom of each post:
Jake has been working in the Internal Audit department at his alma mater for a year now. He is kind enough to share his experience with us.
Life as an University Auditor
How did you get this job?
I saw a job opening at the university I went to when I took the master’s degree. It is really interesting to see how the university is run on the other side.
How do you like about your job?
I LOVE it. As an internal auditor, I get to meet with people in different departments — from the college, law school, medical school, to the state-of-the-art stadium, art galleries, medial center to construction (they are building new dorms at the moment). I feel like I am exposed to and learning something new every day.
More importantly, I feel valued and that I am making a difference.
How is the work-life balance?
I worked in a mid-size public accounting firm for a couple of years. Compared to that it’s been great work-life balance here. I normally work 8 hours on weekdays and there is little stress. Colleagues are nice, flexible and understanding, probably because no one is stressed out here.
Also, there is not much traveling. Some people like the experience of traveling around the world. For me, as a husband and a new dad, I appreciate the fact that we have little traveling.
What are the cons?
Work mostly involves operational audit versus financial audit. This means you look at purchasing, payroll, and various programs. If you enjoy working on lots of numbers and complex mathematical models, this may not suit you.
Also, salary tends to be lower unless you work in a big, research-intensive university. Benefits is usually good though. If you work in a state school you get state retirement plan.
What is the career path?
I need to take and pass the CPA exam within 3 years in order to become a senior. A certification and/or experience is required for a supervisory role. Going forward, I am not sure — the office isn’t big… senior positions become available only if someone move on or retire.
Any advice for those interested to become a University Auditor?
I’ve met with other IA people in neighboring universities. It seems like most of us prefer to hire someone with master’s degrees.
The fact that you went to the university is helpful. My interview was actually quite tough, meeting everyone in the team for an afternoon. But at the end of the day it’s personality fit.
If you are still in college, try landing an internship at the Internal Audit office. It’s a great experience and they will likely offer you a position if it is available, either right away or years later if you keep in touch with them.
Additionally, you can work as a Certified Internal Auditor and bypass the CPA Exam entirely. You can learn about CIA tips and CIA benefits to help inform your certification decisions.
The CFO’s scope responsibility has evolved from bean counter and oversight to the “strategic advisor”, as accounting itself evolves from collecting, validating and reporting data to providing and supporting analysis for decision making.
both financial and non-financial key performance indicators, e.g. churn rate of telecom companies.
An exterme case is Amazon on now they use predictable analysis by using algorithms bsaed on customer shopping patterns, ratings to suggest to customers items they would likely be interested.
Also, at the operational level, Amazon uses weather climate models for more efficient shipping.
But need a team to start asking intelligent questions.
It’s progressive for the accounting function to provide marketing and sales with a reliable and accurate picture of which custoems are more profitable and which are less profitable.
This is not common, but some new hires worry about not having enough audit billable hours, especially if this is one of the experience requirements for your CPA license.
Monitoring Audit Billable Hours of Entry-Level Accountants
It is the responsibility of managers, your counselor, staff planning and ultimately the office leadership to make sure you get enough billable hours.
If you are new, they may just be leaving your schedule open, because they don’t yet know what your strengths are, and will throw you in where they think you’ll fit best later.
But then, it could be an oversight. Managers and seniors are busy and they cannot monitor everyone on a daily basis. Here is what you can do .
1. Be Proactive
Speak to your counselor, see if this is “normal” or if he could help you dig up some more work. Then, speak to the seniors and the managers in your teams, and let them know that you have unallocated time. You could also email the person in charge of scheduling, and ask him to pass your name along to anyone needing assistance. This will show some major initiative on your part as well.
2. Be Friendly
You can also get to know people in the office by speaking to them by the coffee machine or any informal hangout area, letting them know that you exist and that you have unallocated time.
3. Do Your Job Well
Do well on your engagements, and people will start picking you up if you ask them if they need help.