Some of you may be worrying your Big 4 offer being rescinded for different reasons.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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
For Your Further Reading
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!