While I’m certainly no Tim Gunn (from what not to wear) I do have a great resource to share with all of you that corporate woman, and Big 4 Accounting Firm Hopefuls have been using for years!

While this resource only benefits the softer sex, let’s be honest guys, they have it way harder! Skirts, heels, panty hose, dresses, make-up and on and on. So while this only relates to the women, I had to share it! It’s not easy when you’re a woman to strike the balance between strong, independent, and feminine with not looking too young, or too sexy. I can’t say I’ll be able to provide the best advice either which is why we have this recommendation!

They have tons of great articles that give you the details on what to wear for any event! While the entire site is great, there is one page I would recommend over any others, and that’s the “Top Content” page. That’s their most populare articles that have occurred over the last few years. I have to say I am very impressed with what these women have put together over the years, really a top notch resource!

Check it out! http://corporette.com/about-corporette/top-posts/

B4G

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

First, Becker.com/CPA is my number one recommended resource for anyone looking to work at the Big 4 Firms. While nobody needs to become a CPA in order to be hired by the Big 4, I am looking at your long term potential. Every Big 4 firm and most other large regional and national firms give the Becker CPA review course away for FREE to all of their new hires.

But… What’s great about this site is the FREE information they have. They have a list of all the CPA exam requirements by state. For example, I live in New York, but when I took the CPA, the requirements in Colorado were better based on my situation (classes I had taken, Masters Degree vs. 5th year, residency requirements, citizenship requirements, etc). I was able to take the exam 8 months SOONER than I would have been able to because I could find the requirements. I cannot understate the value of this site.

If you don’t pass the exam before you start working for the Big 4 full time, you will not be able to perform at the same level as others who can focus 100% of their time to the clients. You will be too busy worrying about you Regulation section, and you will be exhausted. Poor performance in your first year, leads to lower ratings, lower ratings lead to no bonus and lower raise. Do the research and GET IT DONE!

Check it out: http://www.becker.com/accounting/cpaexamreview/state/

The second resource is Andrew at TheBeanCounter.org has put together an incredible podcast guiding young accounting hopefuls like you to successful careers in accounting. He has an interesting history and was very successful at PwC. You can find podcast on the below topics and with each podcast he writes a blog post summarized and often times adding additional information.

Another reason why thebeancounter.org makes it to #2 on our list is that Andrew discusses more than just the Big 4. While I hope you all reach the goal of a career with a Big 4 firm, some of you may not make it? Does that mean you life is over? You have no more options? NO! There are plenty of ways to make it into the Big 4, you can work for a regional or national firm, then transfer after a year. I have also seen people work as private accountants and then work for the Big 4.

The podcast also has great guests on the show,

which can help you learn about any facet of accounting

you’re looking for from Big 4 to internal audit, to government

and private accounting!

Check it out! TheBeanCounter.org

B4G

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

Today I want to share something that won’t land you a job tomorrow (although it could) but is a long term process guaranteeing future career success. Here are the 5 steps you need to be a killer networker. 

Now this is assuming we’ve already gotten you to the event. If you can’t get out of your house, then nobody can help you.

1. Pay Attention

Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also "speaks" loudly.

  • Look directly at the speaker
  • Forget any distracting thoughts.
  • Don't prepare a rebuttal.
  • Avoid distractions by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
  • "Listen" to the speaker's body language. 

2. Show That You're Listening

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod .
  • Smile. 
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes and uh huh.

3. Provide Feedback

Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is," and "Sounds like you are saying," are great ways to reflect back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say..." and "Is this what you mean?"
  • Summarize the speaker's comments periodically

4. Defer Judgment

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message. Listen deeply and defer judgement.

  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
  • Don't interrupt with counter-arguments.

5. Respond Appropriately

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding of the other person. You are gaining information and a new perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  •  {C}Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully.
  • Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

The most difficult is more complicated than you may think. While the first point I am going to make is obvious but crucial, few people exercise the second. 

First, grab a friend, family member, co-worker, or classmate and have them critique you. Let them know up-front that you’re going to want to practice at least 4 times in front of them. Tell them that you’re going to need honest feedback and if they don’t give it, it could result in you not getting the job or internship you’ve been dreaming of. Some of your friends may not be the most articulate and if they aren’t, here are something’s to have them look out for:

  • Do I appear confident
  • After listening, do you know what my goal is?
  • After listening, do you know what I have done that is relevant to my goal?
  • How did I appear physical to you?
  • How was my posture?
  • How did my arms make you feel during the pitch?
  • What is one word you would use to describe my facial expressions?

Once you have gone through this process and received the necessary feedback, now you’re ready for part two of “Grab A Friend”. Ask them to give you their elevator pitch. This is important not because you want to help them, but because you want to learn yourself. It’s time for you to learn the importance of body language. You may not be able to understand the importance of this with your first friend, but once you have met with 3-4 people, you will remember which appeared confident, knowledgeable and genuine, and those, which appeared insecure, uncertain, and unprepared. 

I cannot underestimate the power of this last point. In order to master your own body language (which they say is >98% of communication) you must understand what you feel when you watch others. The smallest twitches of the eye, curves of the mouth, and movement of the arms can make all the difference in how you feel when you watch that person. The same goes for the professional about to watch your pitch, and you better be ready.

Let me know what you think at thebig4guru@gmail.com!

B4G

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

The first step in developing your elevator pitch is defining your objective. What is it that you want to accomplish? Are you looking for an internship? Full-time offer? Summer Leadership Conference? There is an old Yogi Berra quote that relates directly to this topic:

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

Your pitch will slightly change based on your objective. The main importance of determining your objective is so when you deliver the pitch, you’re confident in who you are, and what you’re looking for. As long as you have good reason, and are confident, you can have the objective to have an internship OR full time offer depending on which works best for the firm (great option for people that are in the more desperate stages of their career.). You also need to have reasons for why you want each of these positions. Here are some common reasons for the three positions mentioned above:

Summer Leadership

  • Gain a better understanding of which line of service I want (audit, tax, advisory)
  • Learn more about the firm
  • Have the chance to be immersed in the company culture
  • Meet employees whom they may work for in an internship or job

Internship

Learn about the firm

Get the “on-the-job” experience

Validate your excitement and passion for auditing/tax/accounting from class

Full –Time

  • You’ve done your research and know this firm is your top choice
  • Have met people who work from the firm, and have consistently been impressed
  • Are impressed with the clients and industries and know this firm has the right fit for you

I’ll even give you a bonus today, what’s the second step?

The second step is to define what you do, or what you have done. If you’re apply for the Big 4, I’m guessing you’ve attended University and you’ve probably got a pretty good GPA (if you don’t, no worries, I didn’t either). Here are some other things you have probably done:

  • Been involved in class projects
  • Led or joined student organizations
  • Led or participated in community service events
  • Worked a part time job
  • Worked a full time job
  • Participated in campus competitions (speech, fundraising, other)
  • Play University sports
  • And the list goes on and on.

While this isn’t a time to “toot your horn”, you do need to display the key and important things that have helped you develop and be ready for a career with the Big 4. Try and shorten the list to two or three things that you may be able to work in to a version or two of your elevator speech. My advice is to keep them to the productive and competitive areas of your life such as any type of work, leadership position, or competition.

Thanks for checking out our blog! 

B4G

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

Big 4 Guru’s 2014 Academy! For the first time ever, here at Big 4 Guru, we have put together a course full of resources, webinars, resumes reviews, and personal meetings to fit your needs. We’re only accepting the top 10 candidates into the program, so you’ll have to act quickly! While the program does cost a decent amount ($500), we have attached a guarantee.

Unless you’re hired by one of the Big 4 Accounting Firms (Deloitte, PwC, E&Y, KPMG) or another firm/company within one year of taking the course, we’ll issue you a refund in full! Why are we so confident?

Getting hired by the Big 4 Accounting firms is simple, if you know what do to. You resume has to be presented in a way that they like, not just have great content and great activities you’ve involved yourself in. Also, during the interview, to stand out, you don’t get point for just asking questions, you get points for asking great questions!

We’ve already admitted a few people into Big 4 Guru’s 2014 academy; I hope you’ll join us. By the way, did I mention you get all my eBooks for FREE when you are accepted? Join today at big4guru.com/academy.

Big 4 Guru

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

I often receive the question, “Big 4 Guru, how much will the Big 4 pay me if I get hired?” My response is always, “I don’t know and it doesn’t matter”.

If you want to be in accounting, working at the Big 4 will give you the best Launchpad to begin. The firms are always ranked in the top of Newsweek’s “Best Place to Launch Your Career” and always will be. This is an opportunity, that will change your life and the pay will be very good for an entry-level position straight out of university. More importantly, you will learn information that will change you life and make you very valuable in your professional career.

In this article, while I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll make, I’ll try to give you a broad idea. Based on my research and knowledge of the industry from working on multiple office for one of the Big 4, you pay will vary based on where you live. Each firm has “cost of living adjustments” for the different cities. As you’ll see below, these are estimates based on 2013 data I was able to find.

Audit

New York $57,000
| Chicago $55,000
| Dallas $50,000
Atlanta $48,000
| Seattle $46,000
| Miami $49,000
| Kansas City $43,000

Tax


New York $58,000
| Chicago $56,000
| Dallas $51,000
Atlanta $48,000
| Seattle $46,000
| Miami $49,000
| Kansas City $43,000

Advisory

New York $59,000
| Chicago $56,000
| Dallas $52,000
| Atlanta $48,000
| Miami $52,000


Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue

The beginning of the new semester brings the most important time in the Big 4 recruiting process: the fall recruiting season. This process, which typically spans September through November, is when the majority of the summer internship positions for the following summer are filled, as well as the full-time positions for the following year. If you will be entering your sophomore year this fall, you are the prime candidate for a summer internship in the summer of 2014. If you’re entering your senior or 5th year (Masters), the hiring process for 2014 full-time positions will be beginning in September. 

If you haven’t already, check out our eBook, the Big 4 Guru’s Book of Secrets. This will give you all the information you need on how to get your foot in the door  and successfully navigate the Big 4 meet-and-greets, interviews and everything else that makes up the Fall Recruiting season. If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this: it is NOT TOO EARLY TO START PREPARING.

Lastly, check out my completely FREE eBook on Big 4 Interviews

Thanks and best of luck!

Big 4 Guru

Posted
AuthorAndrew Argue