Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

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iwantT14
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Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby iwantT14 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:37 pm

i was wondering how helpful work experience at a Big4 firm will be when interviewing during OCI?

i just finished undergrad and am about to begin working as an auditor at a Big4 firm in the fall. my original plan was to work for 2-3 years (and pass my CPA in the meantime) and then go to law school, but lately I have been considering just staying for one year(while still passing all 4 parts of my CPA) and then going to law school. what do you think is a better option in terms of securing a BigLaw position out of law school? Will the extra year or two of work experience make any sort of difference in the eyes of hiring managers or am i better off staying just one year? for what its worth, ill be targeting schools in the T20 - T30 range where i realize biglaw is no guarantee, which is why i was thinking the extra work experience will come in handy

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Tanicius
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Tanicius » Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:57 pm

Just an 0L here, but I imagine it will help in two ways. First of all, you'll have a CPA, which makes you a attractive to firms specializing in finance. Adding to that the experience you will have, and I have to think that you would be a better fit than most people with your grades.

lawgunner75
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby lawgunner75 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:08 pm

Hi there. I am an 0L starting this fall. I have my CPA and several years of work experience. Just my two cents, but it may be worth it to get a couple of "staff" years in at the Big 4 and maybe even 1 "senior" year before going to law school. I think they would look more favorably on you at OCI if you had 3 solid years at a Big 4 versus just one year. The one thing I would say you definitely have to do is pass that CPA Exam. There is a big difference between just being an accounting grad, and being a CPA. Get the CPA first, then study for the LSAT and apply to law schools....your 3 years may be up before you know it. Good luck!

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crazycanuck
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:46 pm

I have a friend who does recruiting for a big canadian national firm (so it's a bit different) but he said anyone with big 4 experience can name their prices and firm at OCI for Canadian firms, as long as they get B's he said there are no questions even needed at the interview. There's usually not many, and it really differentiates you from the 1 million poli sci/philosophy bums who have never worked a 60 hour work week in their life.

CA (Canadian CPA) will start 5kish more than anyone else.

Posner
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Posner » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:04 am

...
Last edited by Posner on Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby crazycanuck » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:44 pm

Posner wrote:I think it's worth qualifying that the bump at OCI for this experience really only applies if you want to do tax. If you aren't interested in tax, then it will be minimally beneficial.


Hmmm and what are you basing this on?

Again, my friend who is a hiring partner, said that what the work experience represents is pretty significant. You know how to act professionally in a large firm environment that is going to be very similar to a large law firm etc. According to him, it's a huge boost to his firm and the other large law firms. If you want to do tax and have big 4 experience in the tax deptartment, he said they will start 10k higher than anyone else since they will actually be useful.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:52 pm

crazycanuck wrote:I have a friend who does recruiting for a big canadian national firm (so it's a bit different) but he said anyone with big 4 experience can name their prices and firm at OCI for Canadian firms, as long as they get B's he said there are no questions even needed at the interview. There's usually not many, and it really differentiates you from the 1 million poli sci/philosophy bums who have never worked a 60 hour work week in their life.

CA (Canadian CPA) will start 5kish more than anyone else.


If I recall correctly, it's much more difficult to get your CPA in Canada and they are a lot rarer then CPAs here in the states. I could be completely wrong though, so please excuse me if I am. I just graduated in the states with my accounting degree and have yet to sit for the CPA.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby crazycanuck » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:46 pm

TheBigMediocre wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:I have a friend who does recruiting for a big canadian national firm (so it's a bit different) but he said anyone with big 4 experience can name their prices and firm at OCI for Canadian firms, as long as they get B's he said there are no questions even needed at the interview. There's usually not many, and it really differentiates you from the 1 million poli sci/philosophy bums who have never worked a 60 hour work week in their life.

CA (Canadian CPA) will start 5kish more than anyone else.


If I recall correctly, it's much more difficult to get your CPA in Canada and they are a lot rarer then CPAs here in the states. I could be completely wrong though, so please excuse me if I am. I just graduated in the states with my accounting degree and have yet to sit for the CPA.


It's tough to get the CA here, I'm not sure what the requirements are for a CPA in the U.S so I'm not sure if it's harder, but it's still a pretty prestigious designation. Here we have to have a degree, take the required pre-req courses with a C+ average, take the required learning modules, write the UFE exam (similar to the bar, 2 day big exam) and get ~2500 (includes Audit and Tax) billable hours and 33 months of experience at a registered training facility.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:20 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
TheBigMediocre wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:I have a friend who does recruiting for a big canadian national firm (so it's a bit different) but he said anyone with big 4 experience can name their prices and firm at OCI for Canadian firms, as long as they get B's he said there are no questions even needed at the interview. There's usually not many, and it really differentiates you from the 1 million poli sci/philosophy bums who have never worked a 60 hour work week in their life.

CA (Canadian CPA) will start 5kish more than anyone else.


If I recall correctly, it's much more difficult to get your CPA in Canada and they are a lot rarer then CPAs here in the states. I could be completely wrong though, so please excuse me if I am. I just graduated in the states with my accounting degree and have yet to sit for the CPA.


It's tough to get the CA here, I'm not sure what the requirements are for a CPA in the U.S so I'm not sure if it's harder, but it's still a pretty prestigious designation. Here we have to have a degree, take the required pre-req courses with a C+ average, take the required learning modules, write the UFE exam (similar to the bar, 2 day big exam) and get ~2500 (includes Audit and Tax) billable hours and 33 months of experience at a registered training facility.



Hm, it doesn't seem all that different then. It varies from state to state for the exact requirements, but generally here it's 30 hours accounting, 150 total (for MOST states) hours. Four parts of the CPA (IFRS inclusion starts in 2011) and then 2000 hours. Maybe its the modules, months, and restrictions on what working hours count?

Can anyone clarify?

Posner
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Posner » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:06 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
Posner wrote:I think it's worth qualifying that the bump at OCI for this experience really only applies if you want to do tax. If you aren't interested in tax, then it will be minimally beneficial.


Hmmm and what are you basing this on?

Again, my friend who is a hiring partner, said that what the work experience represents is pretty significant. You know how to act professionally in a large firm environment that is going to be very similar to a large law firm etc. According to him, it's a huge boost to his firm and the other large law firms. If you want to do tax and have big 4 experience in the tax deptartment, he said they will start 10k higher than anyone else since they will actually be useful.

Talking to partners and classmates with big 4 experience who have shared the insights they've gathered from other lawyers.

By minimally beneficial, I mean that it will not really be any different than other real work experience (not working at McDonalds for a year) unless you want to do tax. If you want to do tax work, you have a substantive advantage over other candidates that do not have a strong tax background. If you want to do IP work with a tax background there is very little (if any) substantive advantage. From what I've been told big 4 experience can overcome an otherwise less appealing tax candidate, but big 4 experience will only provide a minimal boost if you seek other departments. Some firms might view things different. I'm just sharing what I have heard.

Anonymous User
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:51 pm

Posner wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
Posner wrote:I think it's worth qualifying that the bump at OCI for this experience really only applies if you want to do tax. If you aren't interested in tax, then it will be minimally beneficial.


Hmmm and what are you basing this on?

Again, my friend who is a hiring partner, said that what the work experience represents is pretty significant. You know how to act professionally in a large firm environment that is going to be very similar to a large law firm etc. According to him, it's a huge boost to his firm and the other large law firms. If you want to do tax and have big 4 experience in the tax deptartment, he said they will start 10k higher than anyone else since they will actually be useful.

Talking to partners and classmates with big 4 experience who have shared the insights they've gathered from other lawyers.

By minimally beneficial, I mean that it will not really be any different than other real work experience (not working at McDonalds for a year) unless you want to do tax. If you want to do tax work, you have a substantive advantage over other candidates that do not have a strong tax background. If you want to do IP work with a tax background there is very little (if any) substantive advantage. From what I've been told big 4 experience can overcome an otherwise less appealing tax candidate, but big 4 experience will only provide a minimal boost if you seek other departments. Some firms might view things different. I'm just sharing what I have heard.



And tthat is because CPAs only do taxes, they never do audits or financial due diligence which may prove invaluable in a securities or structured finance departments.

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on_ne_sait_jamais
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby on_ne_sait_jamais » Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:58 pm

I know that recently a guy at a top firm from NU got hired in as a second yr. associate due to his CPA and 1 or two years WE at a big four...

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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:07 pm

on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:I know that recently a guy at a top firm from NU got hired in as a second yr. associate due to his CPA and 1 or two years WE at a big four...


do you mean that you know a guy from NU who recently got hired as 2nd year associate at a top firm?

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby TheBigMediocre » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:I know that recently a guy at a top firm from NU got hired in as a second yr. associate due to his CPA and 1 or two years WE at a big four...


do you mean that you know a guy from NU who recently got hired as 2nd year associate at a top firm?


Get you out of here with your proper syntax.

Anonymous User
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:20 pm

TheBigMediocre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:I know that recently a guy at a top firm from NU got hired in as a second yr. associate due to his CPA and 1 or two years WE at a big four...


do you mean that you know a guy from NU who recently got hired as 2nd year associate at a top firm?


Get you out of here with your proper syntax.


It was not clear whether the guy was from a top accounting firm and then got hired by a law firm as a 2nd year associate.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Work experience at CPA firm (Big4)

Postby TheBigMediocre » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TheBigMediocre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
on_ne_sait_jamais wrote:I know that recently a guy at a top firm from NU got hired in as a second yr. associate due to his CPA and 1 or two years WE at a big four...


do you mean that you know a guy from NU who recently got hired as 2nd year associate at a top firm?


Get you out of here with your proper syntax.


It was not clear whether the guy was from a top accounting firm and then got hired by a law firm as a 2nd year associate.


I was teasing the post because if it's lack of clarity as well. :D




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