Congratulations! You are excited, nervous, and somewhat worried… what’s the next step? Is there anything you can get prepared to wow your new employee? How do you show gratitude and keep in touch with your interviewers?
Few would say no, after all it is The Big 4 Offer. But if you are switching from another job and Big 4 is paying less than what you are getting right now, or that you don’t really like the office location, you might be thinking about some sort of negotiation.
If you are joining as a first year associate, either as a fresh graduate or experienced hire, there is little room to negotiate. This is because the salary level is pretty much the same for all first year, subject to your starting location, educational level and progress of the CPA exam.
Specifically, starting at big and expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco will justify a higher base salary, likely around $58K per year. Those who passed the CPA exam have a one-off $5,000 bonus. For service line other than audit (e.g. in Financial Services), Master’s degree holders may get a few thousands more.
In other cities, you can expect a salary in low to mid 50K depending on location.
Knowing this is what you are going to get, it won’t take too long to decide.
If the answer is yes, then you can sign the offer letter and return the original to the recruiter.
If your firm is using an online system, you will be asked to accept the offer electronically. I know it feels weird without actually signing anything, but this action is considered final. You will receive an automated confirmation email for reference. Some of you may feel uncomfortable not hearing back from a real human. Don’t worry, you will be contacted a few months later.
A short and nicely-written thank you email is enough and appropriate after you accept the offer. Other than that, unless you have something extremely value-add, don’t bother. They are busy people.
HR will contact you with information on your first day and expectations of your first week. Depending on your office, you may also receive invitations to happy hours and networking events in the office or your school (if you are still attending).
In terms of the timing, it varies greatly in different offices even in the same firm. Some gives you a schedule as early as 6 months in advance, while others won’t contact you until 2 weeks before your start date. If you get worried, you can always contact your recruiter for updates
You will also get emails around this time on booking your flight. Hotel is already booked for you and you will have a roommate.
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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!