Where I’ve Been

“Does anyone here know what the anonymous accountant is up to these days? Is the anonymous accountant still grinding it out at a big four? Or did they leave? I can see that two months in they hated it, what about 2 years in? Can’t seem to find any recent posts, the most recent one is May 2009.”

I am back to answer that question.  To be honest, as those of you in Big 4 accounting know well, the combination of both studying for the UFE and working is brutal.  I kept on pushing off my post, thinking, ohhh well I’ll just post tomorrow…or the next day…

Then, I came across to a link during some random web surfing that brought me back to this site.  I saw all the comments and realized this site had really become a great resource for people out there who want to get in this industry / complain about it.

So I am back…hopefully for good this time.

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97 Responses to Where I’ve Been

  1. Mike says:

    Dude, so what are you doing with yourself?

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks for all your updates. I just found the site today and its been an invaluable resource. I’ve only read a 10-20 posts but they’ve all been helpful and they offer great insight into the industry. A few years ago, you had doostang invites, it is still possible for me to get one? My email is smaahb at gmail.com. Thanks so much!

  3. Krupo says:

    Welcome back – I have no idea if you got hit by a rare bit of comment spam, but #3 definitely looks like it.

    I have to credit your open posting wall for inspiring a series of posts for me, including the most recent. Hope surviving this busy season isn’t a ridiculous challenge for you this year – which is another way of saying, hope your clients actually have schedules that tie, and contact persons who aren’t doing their hardest to avoid you.

  4. Stefano says:

    Hi,

    I am a CA, and in September 2009, I launched myCAsite.com, which is an online community dedicated to helping university students and recent graduates interested in becoming CAs. So far, we have nine bloggers that share their articles on our forum (http://bit.ly/cvv189), and it would be great to add your blog. As you can see, all articles are attributed back to you. To date, the site has received almost 16,000 visits, so this would be a great way to increase your readership.

    Thanks!

    Stefano E Picone, CA
    Founder, myCAsite.com

  5. Scott says:

    So you thought that working at a B4 firm was awful right after you first started. I read your post a while back and became very uneasy about what I was getting myself into. Did it get better? What are you up to these days?

  6. welcome back dude!!!!, for use to learn more, sometimes we have to wandered around, looking for things that we cannot find in our places, as we search and search and search, looking for better place to stay, work or to learn, we finaly realized that our good ol’ play ground is still the best.

  7. Eric says:

    Brand new to this blog–glad to see it’s not defunct.

  8. James says:

    Hey guys,

    Looking for a stepping stone and a back stop… Screwed up my GPA so law school is a no go, but I can still do my CA at UBC.

    I’m thinking I might have been brainwashed by CICA marketing… Any thoughts?

  9. Accounting is always part of our life.Even on simple budgetting at home,you surely calculate your expenses.

  10. KPMG Staff Accountant says:

    James,

    The majority of CA firms in BC hire accounting students or graduates with a Bachelor Degree in Accounting. As a KPMG Staff Accountant, I can tell you that in the past three years, KPMG hired mainly students with degrees in accounting, with extensive work experience in the accounting profession during their Co-op periods.

    The recruiters at the Big 4’s know that students attend the UBC DAP Program as a “short cut” to become professional accountants without much sacrifices. The UBC DAP Program (as well as the Kwantlen and BCIT Accounting programs) is designed for Science and Arts Degree Graduates who want to pursue an accounting career. The Big 4’s recruiters generally don’t prefer to hire these people. People with a Degree in Arts or Sciences almost always have little to no experience in accounting. The auditing profession is not just about acing accounting exams, but also about providing clients with services. It’s not uncommon for junior and senior auditors to be berated by employees of the clients. Even audit managers have to put up with the clients’ attitudes. Not many Arts and Science grads understand the arts of Business Administration.

    The DAP Program has bred some people that eventually got job offers from the Big 4’s, but they are truly exceptions. Generally, many Big 4’s and even mid-sized and small CA firms do not hire students from short-term accounting programs. We interview DAP students each year, but out of a group of twenty DAP students we interview each year, we only hire one of them. The rest of the junior staff accountants we hire at KPMG are from the UBC and SFU Bachelor’s programs.

    These Accounting Programs offered by UBC (DAP), Kwantlen, and BCIT are overly optimistic about the opportunities that are out there. The truth is that graduates of these programs are not as desirable as these schools say they are. The Bachelor of Business or Commerce programs offered by UBC and SFU are extremely competitive and demanding. The CA firms (especially the Big 4’s) DO NOT treat DAP graduates as equals to graduates of Bachelor’s Degree holders. Again, the DAP and other Similar Accounting Programs are perceived as shortcuts for students who chose the wrong study path in their undergraduate studies, and employers tend to avoid students from such programs.

    Bachelors with a Business Degree in accounting are the most sought after candidates. Students from UBC DAP (or equivalent accounting programs) are what we consider as second or third tier candidates. This is something you will not hear from the organization to whom you pay your $700/course tuition to!

    Act wise and do your research.

    • Megan says:

      You guys are ruthless. Does ever occur to kpmg that some of these students work just as hard and share the same knowledge if not more than what some sfu or ubc accounting major graduates do? Just because we chose a wrong career path does not mean we aren’t capable. Some of us don’t just go into an accounting program for the hell of it, we do it because we found something we are passionate about and found what works better for us. In such, this is my case. Most young professionals who have completed a bba in accounting or any other field and hate what they are doing but feel forced to because that is the undergrad they chose. So we chose the wrong educational path? Why should we be expected to complete a whole other 4 years worth of a degree to prove ourself when we already have an undergrad (in which case is already business related). This is absolutely ridiculous, some companies need to buck up and realize that education is not everything.

  11. James says:

    Thank you KPMG Staff Accountant.

    Fuck my life.

    • KPMG Staff Accountant says:

      James,

      Yeah, because Big 4’s really only hire students from Commerce and Accounting Bachelor Programs, you really don’t stand a chance of becoming unless you are really exceptional. And by exceptional, I mean you have to have really good grades, an excellent CACEE Application, and a whole lot of luck. Missing one of the above and you really are not CA material.

      By the way, as a KPMG Staff Accountant posting anonymously on the internet, let me tell you a fact. Big 4 and other CA accounting firms claim to equal opportunity firms. However, that is not true. They hire people not just based on their skills, experience, and education, but accounting firms also hire people based on their looks, race, and age. There are students that have both excellent experience and education, but because these students speak with a particular accent, or do not look a certain way, we decided not to hire them. Actually, I am not sure if you accounting students notice this, but almost all of the Big 4 new hires look very good. It’s hard to find an “ugly” Staff Accountant in CA firms these days. Some may not believe what I am saying, but trust me, CA firms do place much emphasis on looks when it comes to hiring new grads. This is not something you would hear anywhere else.

      Also, all these non-degree, short-term accounting programs offered by UBC, Kwantlen, and BCIT suck. They don’t tell you how bad the labor market really is, and they don’t tell you that CA firms typically avoid hiring people from these programs. In other words, these programs are just out there sucking your money.

      In other words, you are fucked.

      Besides, accounting is overrated anyway. I have never in my life seen so many people so desperately want to become a CA more than anything else. I blame these short-term accounting programs for building hypes about the accounting occupation. CA is just another occupation like Engineer, English Teachers, Chemists, Financial analysts, Bankers, etc. I don’t know why people think becoming a CA is such an achievement. CA’s don’t make particularly much more money than many of the occupations out there. I get paid a salary of 33k a year before tax. But considering that I work 16 hrs a day, that works out to be less than $10. My salary may double a few years down the road if I am extremely lucky (ie. get promoted and move on to management position), but so do other graduates with different occupations with a few years of experience in their field.

      Fuck accounting. Fuck all these secondary institutions for making unnecessary competition for the sake of making money. These accounting programs simply create more accounting students that end up being unemployed locally.

  12. D Blatt says:

    hi I had question is it possible to be black listed? Becuase I have applied and applied and I can’t get a job. I have experience and have passed mod one

    • KPMG Staff Accountant says:

      D Blatt,
      Yes and No.

      You don’t get blacklisted per se, but once you have applied for a position at any one of our KPMG Offices around the world, and your application has been reviewed and disqualified, then there would be a note on your application and record indicating that your application had already been reviewed and rejected. I am fairly positive that the other Big 4 and mid-sized accounting firms have a similar system in place.

      By doing this, we could avoid people trying to apply jobs here through trials and errors. Note that we receive well over one thousand applications each month from around the world. It is impossible for us to review all the new applicants, let alone the old applicants. The bottom line is, once you have submitted an application with a Big 4 firm, and you were never contacted, then there’s virtually no chance for you to be contacted ever again. This may change once you become a manager. But for entry level positions, applying twice at a firm wouldn’t get you anywhere. Your application would simply go directly into a digital void, and eventually deleted.

      Another scenario would be that you were offered an interview in the past, and you failed one of the interviews. Once you’ve failed an interview with a Big 4 or mid-sized firm, our system would indicate so, and in the future you will likely never receive another interview. Our shortlisting system has this programming feature in place, and it has been extremely effective.

      Just for your information, each year 20-30% of our applications are from applicants who have applied and failed our screening process previously. By automatically screening these old applicants out, we have a much shorter and cleaner list of candidate to choose from. This makes the second stage of shortlisting much simpler and more effective. I mean, if you have already been disqualified in the past, why would we want to consider or interview you again? There are tens of thousands of new applicants each year. We would rather focus our resources on these new applicants instead.

      Hope this helps!

  13. James says:

    Word,

    KPMG Staff Accountant I see accounting as a stepping stone and a back stop. I don’t want to be an accountant, but I need some sort of credential to get in the bigger game.

    Thankfully I’m extremely well connected and incredibly good looking, so I’ve got that going for me.

    • KPMG Staff Accountant says:

      Hi James,

      If you have the good look, you may be ahead of the competition once you have secured yourself an interview. Simply keep in mind that your good looks and interview skills are essentially useless UNTIL you have yourself an interview with one of the CA firms.

      Your CACEE Application is going to ultimately determine whether you will have a shot in the CA industry or not. I assume you are in BC since you mentioned the DAP or accounting program UBC. If you are in BC, you will have to write a CACEE for your application to any CA firms. A CACEE is one of the hardest works in one’s accounting career. The CACEE ultimately determines whether you will have an interview with a CA firm. On top of having good qualifications and absolutely perfect grammar, the CACEE also requires that you have extensive creative writing skills, marketing skills, a sense of humor, and some serious volunteering experience. Lacking any one of the above and you will likely not be considered for an interview.

      Look at it this way; here are some statistics:

      1) Each Big 4 firm in BC receives approximately 1200 to 1400 applications each year. Most of these applicantas apply to all four firms. Last year KPMG received 1200 applications from various programs.

      2) Only approximately 140 will be shortlisted each year for the first round of interview. Around 110 of these candidates chosen for interviews will have an interview with more than one Big 4 firms. 89% of the candidates chosen for the first round of interviews were University Bachelor Students from UBC and SFU in their 3rd and 4th year. Approximately 6% of those candidates were from Accounting Diploma Programs from UBC, Kwantlen, or BCIT. Around 1 or 2 % of those shortlisted for the first interview were from Colleges.

      3) Of those 170 that had the first round of interview, around 80 would be chosen from the second round of interview. At this point, according to the statistics for the 2009 recruition season, I think around 58-60 of those selected for second interviews were University students. Only five or so people were from programs such as DAP.

      4) By the end of the second interviews, only 63 offers were made to students in the 2009 recruiting season. To my knowledge, none of those students were from the DAP or College Programs. Those who were offered positions as Junior Staff Accountants were students with a University Bachelor Degree in Accounting. Of the 63 we offered positions to, only 45or 50 candidates accepted our offers.

      I hope this gives you an idea of the odds for the DAP students. Obviously, because KPMG has deals with UBC, we must interview some of their DAP students. We have an obligation to do so. But when it comes to the hiring process, we simply approve of only University Bachelor Degree students or holders.

      Hope this helps.

      • DS says:

        Staff Accountant at KPGM you are only making 33K a year before tax. Again why are you giving people advice? You are just someone they hired for a mediocre salary because that’s what they do in order to minimize their expenses. People on here want to actually grow within a company and achieve the greatest results. Something like that will not be offered at KPGM. They will simply use you as long as possible for a minimal salary and of course the hours will be extremely long. I kind of feel sorry for you but lets hope you make better decisions next time.

      • DS says:

        Staff Accountant at KPGM you are only making 33K a year before tax. Again why are you giving people advice? You are just someone they hired for a mediocre salary because that’s what they do in order to minimize their expenses. People on here want to actually grow within a company and achieve the greatest results. Something like that will not be offered at KPMG. They will simply use you as long as possible for a minimal salary and of course the hours will be extremely long. I kind of feel sorry for you but lets hope you make better decisions next time.

      • DS says:

        Staff Accountant at KPMG you are only making 33K a year before tax. Again why are you giving people advice? You are just someone they hired for a mediocre salary because that’s what they do in order to minimize their expenses. People on here want to actually grow within a company and achieve the greatest results. Something like that will not be offered at KPMG. They will simply use you as long as possible for a minimal salary and of course the hours will be extremely long. I kind of feel sorry for you but lets hope you make better decisions next time.

      • whitedelightinvitations says:

        I realize that this is a super old post but just a few questions in case this is still active:

        1) If you are a junior accountant (lowest on the food chain), what credentials do you really have in explaining to others the hiring process of your firm?
        2) I can understand that firms hire more BComm Accounting students, not because they are more qualified (though obviously many are) but more likely because there are so many more of them. But are you aware that in order to even qualify to enter the CA program, the student already had to hold a university degree? Just thought your understanding of programs such as DAP etc was slightly limited. It’s basically an upgrade program for people who have already graduated and are looking to enter a different profession without having to complete another undergraduate degree.

    • KPMG Staff Accountant says:

      Hey John:

      Thanks for the comment. Which Big 4 firm are you working for again?

      Your rude and ignorant comment does nothing to me. As a KPMG Staff Accountant, I take insults quite well. One of our duties as Staff Accountant is to take verbal insults from our superiors and clients.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      • DS says:

        “One of our duties as Staff Accountant is to take verbal insults from our superiors and clients.”

        If the superiors and clients are verbally insulting you then you know you are doing something wrong.

  14. James says:

    Actually I am from Ontario. From what I gather, I am like most people who consider the DAP program: A liberal arts graduate in their mid to late 20’s. Unfortunately I chose a major which I despised (political science) and therefore my GPA suffered. Because of this, law school is out of the question, and MBA programs just don’t have the same cache that they used to.

    I could spend another 2 years in undergrad boosting my GPA, possibly picking up another major, or I could try this.

    The DAP at UBC is the quickest way to complete all of the credit hours for the chartered accountant designation. I meet the entry requirements, and I’d love to spend some time on the west coast.

    It’s to late for me to pick up a commerce undergrad, so I figured this would be a way around.

    • GG says:

      Wonderful and truthful insight from KPMG Staff Accountant. I knew a few people that did the DAP program and they told me that a lot of the people in the DAP program already have a Commerce degree in finance, marketing or something else within business. There are even some people with MBAs. So if you have a non business degree, you would need to have very exceptional grades and experience to be considered.

      • KPMG Staff Accountant says:

        Dear GG:

        Thanks. That’s correct. At KPMG, we have only hired one DAP student last year for the upcoming September 2010 season. We received approximately 200 applications from DAP students and most of these students were actually not bad. But as you would imagine, we could only interview 140 or so students. Truthfully, based on previous year statistics, the odds for a DAP student to be admitted into KPMG alone would be 1 to 200. And that does not even include other factors such as your CACEE form, your application, the quality of the competition, and MOST IMPORTANTLY YOUR **LUCK**.

        I am 100% positive that all the DAP students applicants can handle the tasks assigned to them by a Big 4 firm without much problems, but we can only hire 55 new staff each year.

        With the abundance of accounting students that are graduating from UBC Commerce and SFU Business Programs each year, why should we hire students from the DAP program?

  15. Ralph Smith says:

    Good to have you back. Keep on blogging!

    Ralph

  16. Scared Accounting Student says:

    Hey Guys,
    I’m an accounting major at the University of Southern California (highly recruited by the Big 4) and after reading many of the comments on this site I’ve before VERY hesitant to pursue any career at the big 4. I was originally only planning to stay for 2 yrs and then try to run off to a top MBA program, but now it sounds so miserable I’m wondering if I could even last that long! I have a high GPA, and was excited at the prospect as working at one of these firms- now I’m shitting my pants. I knew it was bad, but many of the comments on your other posts talk about people wanting to quit after only 3 months!! I’m a fun-loving guy and want to live my life… is the 2 years of torture worth really worth it? (Hoping that I don’t get sucked in for 3,4, or even 6 yrs…) At what point is the quality of life more important than the job? Should I pursue something else…perhaps law school or investment banking? (even though that has horrible hours as well) I’m fine with working hard and pushing myself, but what I want to know is that if you could do it all over again, would you take a different path?

  17. confused says:

    I am currently a student at kwantlen university. After my undergrad BA in accouting I plan to go to university of sakatchewan for my masters in accouting. Do you suggest I apply to the big 4 after my master of accounting. I wouldnt particularly call myself pretty Im average short too I am chubby and people say (so Ive heard) that i come off as someone whose silently strong(dont know what that means) Im brown and know how to dress well *have a diploma in makeup artistry from blanche mcdonald) what do you think my chances are ?

  18. Drew Backley says:

    I am thinking about going into accounting. Today, many businesses rely on technology to do a significant amount of calculating and decision making. As quoted by Albert Einstein, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”(wikipedia). If Einstein’s prediction comes true, then the world will start back at level one, with absolutely no technology. In this case, those who were fortunate enough to learn about how a business is run and what decisions need to be made to ensure a successful economy will be greatly appreciated.

    Those who choose to study accounting also will find that there are tons of scholarships for accounting students (www.studentscholarships.org). In addition, accounting will be very useful in the near future due to the rapid expansion of technology. With new technology come new requirements of knowledge in which to use it. If people choose not to learn alongside this advancing technology, the economy will become unstable and will not be able to withstand a collapse. I believe the knowledge that is attained by studying accounting and business/management will allow new advances in technology to be put to use in order to help the economy. This will allow customer’s trust within the economy which then leads to a prosperous cycle.

  19. Jon says:

    Good to have you back..

    This is a really interesting discussion going on by the way…

  20. Entering Accounting says:

    Well, I’m chinese with some accent so Big 4 is out of the window automatically lol.

  21. E&Y says:

    Sorry but I doubt KPMG Staff Accountant actually works for one of the Big 4.

    He sounds like a bitter DAP student who didn’t make it.

    I am aware of 3 offers made by KPMG to DAP students in 2009 (to start Sep 2010).

    He is obviously lieing.

  22. If anyone has questions on accounting http://www.judydriscollcpa.com is answering business accounting questions sent through the contact form for free all answers will be put in blog.

  23. Dan John says:

    No more updates? Say it ain’t so!

  24. wyatt says:

    Keep at your blog posting, even if only a little bit! Every accountant, new or old, needs to have a platform on the internet. Ideal is to have an accounting website, but a blog like the one you have does well also.

  25. Will says:

    Great article. Keep up the good work. You might also find helpful our company’s article on audit precautions:
    http://www.solvingtaxes.com/Audit.html

  26. Kwantlen says:

    Im a Kwantlen student – and I have to disagree about some of the information on the message board.
    I’m not here to mock anyone, but I’d like to share some of my experiences about this lesser known school – Kwantlen.
    We have had a 4 year BBA Accounting Degree, this is not some 12 course pre-requisite fast track to earn your CASB credits. This is the list of accounting courses for SFU accounting concentration:
    1. BUS 251-3 Financial Accounting I
    2. BUS 254-3 Managerial Accounting I
    3. BUS 320-3 Financial Accounting: Assets
    4. BUS 321-3 Financial Accounting: Equities
    5. BUS 322-3 Intermediate Managerial Accounting
    6. BUS 329-4 Income Tax for Business Decision-Making
    7. BUS 420-3 Advanced Accounting
    8. BUS 421-3 Accounting Theory
    9. BUS 424-3 Advanced Managerial Accounting
    10. BUS 426-3 Auditing and Assurance: Concepts and Methods
    This is Kwantlen’s required courses:
    1. ACCT 3310 Intermediate Financial Accounting I
    2. ACCT 3320 Introductory Management Accounting
    3. ACCT 3335 Taxation
    4. ACCT 3380 Managerial Finance
    5. ACCT 3410 Intermediate Accounting II
    6. ACCT 3420 Advanced Management Accounting
    7. ACCT 3444 Auditing
    8. ACCT 4360 Computer Modeling for Managers
    9. ACCT 4455 Advanced Financial Accounting
    10. ACCT 4650 Not for Profit Financial Management
    11. ACCT 4120 Financial Statement Presentation and Analysis
    12. ACCT 4720 Advanced Managerial Accounting
    13. ACCT 4780 Advanced Managerial Finance

    In addition, we have to take 3 more accounting electives. This puts to total to 16 required courses. So in short, I hate to disagree with the poster above that thinks Kwantlens BBA accounting program is some cookie cutter approach like DAP.

  27. I have aloes enjoyed your writing You are very good writer and nice thoughts of you. Thanks and hope to read more from you.

  28. dot says:

    I am enjoying this blog a great deal and gleaning tons of info! I am also in Kwantlen’s BBA accounting program as a mature student which I consider to be thorough and excellent. I have made some good inroads into PwC and am working on my CACEE with fingers crossed. The research I’m doing to prepare is insane but kind of exhilarating too. We’ll see what happens…I have one mid size firm say they will be watching for my CACEE form so that’s comforting.

    I wish The Anonymous Accountant would return…:wistful:

  29. Beenthere says:

    You do not have to join a CA Firm to earn a CA designation. Large companies (Telus, for example) now qualify. There are now more employers but the bottom line is that a poor economy drives many to return to school and the DAP program looks inviting. So the universities make their money and churn out accounting grads while at the same time the CA firms are reducing costs and their own CA graduates are staying because they cannot get employment elsewhere.

    The Anonymous Accountant maybe preparing for the UFE next week. If you were to visit a centre where the students were writing the UFE you would know that they range from recent grads to people working on their second, maybe third career. Yeah, there are unattractive ones there too. My guess is that 300 or more are writing in Vancouver. There are also people in Burnaby, the Fraser Valley, and other centres in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba writing the same CASB exam. These are people that have passed 5 modules and a simulated mod 6 (gives you the right to write the UFE) The UFE is 3 days and a total of 13 hours. If you fail along the way your CA company will not pay for your retake and/or they may lose confidence in your abilities and let you go. Not sure what the failure rate is but those people may end up pursuing a CGA or CMA.

  30. DoucheAnchovy says:

    Interesting posts, however, I wouldn’t write off DAP students completely. A requirement to get into DAP is having a bachelors degree, so once a student completes DAP, they would actually hold more post secondary credits than someone who just has one degree. Since having good communication, writing and research skills is important, a background in a social science/communications/humanities PLUS holding all the CASB requirements is favourable.
    Being a former employee of one of the Big 4 (I worked in HR) we had quite a few articling students/new hires who had humanities and non-business/accounting majors…..

  31. accountant says:

    so many peoples are commenting here ,its looking like a comment spam.
    welcome back

  32. accountant says:

    For many people, ‘going to work’ is all they know. Work trends dictate they get up in the morning, put on their work clothes, pile out the door and go make a living. It’s the way things are done. But the times have changed.

  33. Win Nguyen says:

    I’m having fun reading all these comments.

    I especially like how your website (no, not even. Your wordpress blog 🙂 is updated once every year, and yet it’s still one of the top results on Google. Who needs SEO eh?

    How much can you sell it for? 😀

  34. You said you’re back but you’ve dissapeared again? What a shame! Obviously getting worked to hard by the big 4 boys, you need to push back a bit and tell them you’ve got a blog to update!

  35. Mark says:

    I would take a lot of what KPMG Staff Accountant is saying with a grain of salt. Yes, a B.Comm in Accounting is the standard route and a lot of new hires come from there, but to say that DAP students are completely inferior is patently untrue.

    While there are a lot of DAP students that are clearly just in the program as they don’t really know what they want to do, there are many who have several years of relevant work experience and extensive practice building customer. That is something a 3rd or 4th year undergrad student simply cannot have due to their younger age and limited exposure to the work force. Additionally the serious DAP students bring a clear sense of commitment as they have made a choice to become a CA after years in the workforce. This shows their seriousness vs an undergrad student who has no proven track record yet and may or may not break down during their first few years.

    No, DAP students are not the majority of hires at the big 4, but they are also a much smaller percentage of applications than B.Comms. Take away the half or so of DAP students who probably should not be in the program (some are there just to be doing something) and DAP students actually fair reasonably well represented( again those with relevant work experience and practiced people skills).

    I know many DAP students that now work at the big 4 (and in their year they were one of many DAP hires), some who’s grades were barely above 70% but their extensive work history got them the job. Again that is something that could not happen with a 3rd year student.

    Some of what KPMG Staff Accountant says is true, but to be blunt it seems badly tempered by a snobbishness of a B.Comm graduate against people coming to accounting later in life.

    Getting hired is very competitive no matter where you are coming from, and it is your social skills and proven history (grades and work) that will either make you stand out from the crowd or not.

  36. We do accounting on Long Island for many people and businesses. One of the biggest challenges is finding good qualified help.

    Thanks for the post.

    Ed

  37. student says:

    To KPMG staff accountant:

    I’m not sure where you’re from, but your comment regarding DAP or other non-business bachelor route seems not so accurate.

    Business career center in UBC(which is for commerce student) said hiring ratio between commerce and DAP is approximately 5:5. Commerce students may have edge on big 4, but your information doesn’t sound convincing. (it’s bit extreme)I have friend working for E&Y and she (she’s from DAP) says things quite different from you. (perhaps E&Y and KPMG different system)

    I can’t really say commerce and DAP have equal opportunity in big 4. But even DAP has some odds that, that means more of DAP are going to mid-sized firms. I have a friend in Cinnamon Jang and she says this firm does prefer DAP over commerce. (don’t know why)

    So I advise you to review your comment and revise it accordingly.

  38. Insomniac says:

    I may be wrong, but I get the impression that KPMG Staff Accountant is a Commerce degree holder who is having a difficult time finding a job with a CA firm. His bitterness may come from the fact that the Big 4 firms have no qualms with hiring students from UBC’s DAP program or similar ones.

  39. Arno says:

    Welcome back and keep up!

  40. Tom says:

    I just found this blog today (Nov 19 2010) and have been reading through the archives. I hope you’ll come back and post more – it is a great read. I’m thinking about starting the process to get a CMA designation. Any thoughts on the various (CMA, CGA, CA) designations on offer in Ontario/Canad?

  41. DAP100 says:

    Hi Tom
    If you already have a job in a large company take the CMA because it is relatively quick. If you don’t have a job then the CA or CGA route would provide you with better opportunity to be employed. All three designations require job experience. I haven’t seen too many firms looking for students without work experience lately. You need to be working in the CA program.

  42. Brother Pang says:

    I really hope you start blogging again. This blog is so goddamn insightful.

  43. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me that KPMG Staff Accountant is disenchanted with the job and is having a tough time coping with the demands of being in a big 4 firm.

    I know tons of people from DAP who have landed big 4 jobs and for anyone who is from DAP reading this post, do not listen to KPMG Staff Accountant and do not be discouraged. Just put your best foot forward and be confident and you will get a job. Of course, you have to have those extracurriculars down and be able to present yourself well. That has nothing to do with how you look and what your race is.

    Also, if you really want a career in accounting and audit, go for it and don’t let people on these forums make you change your mind. Remember, the people who love the job are not going to waste time ranting on a website because they are actually happy and have better things to do. The people who are bitching about how bad working at a big 4 is are likely unable to handle the stress that comes with being a hard worker, responsible and being a high achiever. If you think you can do it, go for it and it will make you very happy when you do accomplish all the things the firms say they can help you accomplish (because they can).

  44. Peter says:

    I have a friend that work at E&Y and they say that the company prefers to hire people from the DAP over the typical Commerce and BBA grad who majored in accounting. E&Y like there new hires to be more mature and have some accounting work experience.

    Yes they probably do also like Commerce and BBA grads who have done Co-ops for accounting firms.

    My friend also says that E&Y does not generally take very many grads from Qwantlen or Bcit. But this is just what I hear out of one of the big 4.

    You don’t have to only go to the big 4 to become a CA. The BC CA website shows you all the accounting firms in the province that are approved training centers. Any of these will get you on the path to becoming a CA.

  45. anonymous says:

    That begs the question though, why go into accounting? As opposed to other fields related to the business world with larger upside like law or finance? Just curious about peoples decision making process here.

  46. Mark Tiernan says:

    Which is better – Accountancy or Legal?

  47. Kate R says:

    Hmmmm……that’s funny because one of my friends does recruitment at KPMG. She told me that they love interviewing DAP students because they are older, more mature, have more experience and are usually well rounded. She told me they hire numerous DAP students every year and she prefers them over Undergrads. One thing that most DAP students have is PROFESSIONAL work experience, which is something that many BComm students lack. As a result, she said that DAP students tend to interview much better than undergrads. So the comment about only one DAP student getting hired at a Big4 firm is total BS.

  48. It’s great to see you back Anonymous Accountant. Keep updating your blog. I do find it an interesting read.

  49. accamania says:

    HI guys,
    I have recently completed my ACCA [ Association of Chartered Certified Accounting ] . In Canada ACCA has a mutual recognition agreement with CGA that helps ACCA members to become CGA.
    But however to gain CGA I need 3 years of job experience. I am currently residing out of Canada and is planning to do the DAP program from UBC to enter Canada.
    Will it be a good idea to enroll in DAP after already being a Chartered Accountant ?
    Can anyone suggest a suitable course for me to enter Canada…

  50. Rick Hart says:

    I don’t work for a big accounting firm… but my brother does. Apart from hearing some of the horror stories from him about all of the education he had to get (he’s a certified financial planner too as well as a CPA) it’s clear that accountants earn every bit of what they make. In a challenging economy like today, I’m sure all accountants are being asked to solve problems and answer questions that there are no easy answers for. God bless you all for keeping up to date with all the tax law changes, investment options, and just plain scary advice you must be asked for.

  51. Rick Hart says:

    Sorry I had the wrong contact information on my post above… sorry.

    I don’t work for a big accounting firm… but my brother does. Apart from hearing some of the horror stories from him about all of the education he had to get (he’s a certified financial planner too as well as a CPA) it’s clear that accountants earn every bit of what they make. In a challenging economy like today, I’m sure all accountants are being asked to solve problems and answer questions that there are no easy answers for. God bless you all for keeping up to date with all the tax law changes, investment options, and just plain scary advice you must be asked for.

  52. Pagallarka says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into KPMG Staff Accountant, don’t get discouraged. I graduated from U of T with a very shitty GPA (around 3) and obviously did not get recruited, rejected by all the firms, not even mid size.

    However, I did manage a CA Articling position in Alberta with a small CA firm (10 people) . I worked there for about 1 year doing NTR’s, Reviews, and small Audits, completed 3 modules and then applied to a Big 4 in Calgary under a so called experienced staff accountant position (they wanted 1 – 2 year experience), they hired me. This position was posted around May, so well before recruiting season.

    So if you don’t get recruited by Big 4, don’t be in despair, lots of people don’t. Just get some experience and apply again.

    I can tell you for a fact that my position for this so called experienced staff accountant is the same as an entry level staff accountant from University. Staff accountant 1, it’s nothing special. Further during the interview they didn’t ask me one question about GPA nor did they ask for transcripts. Just proof that I had completed up to module 3 and a reference from my old small CA firm.

    So it all worked out, the job is also a joke. I could train a high school student how to do this, its nothing special or glamorous. I feel like an idiot, my brother is a doctor and another in an Engineer with Shell, they make way more and actually have a real job.

    This is just bull shit work, some days you don’t even have work and just sit around doing shit, ie in July. Also often all you do is review bank confirmations for spelling mistakes and editing and such, photocopy stuff, really wtf is this?? LOL.

    The small firm work was actually more engaging and challenging, I actually got to do a T2, and prepare adjusting entries and such, fill out a GST form etc.. Though still boring as fuck. I don’t know why so many people are going into accounting nowadays, esp brown people. We should stick to what our parents tell us, ie be a doctor or engineer, those are real jobs, this is just bullshit.

    I laugh now thinking back when I was in Toronto, feeling like the Big 4 was so impossible and beyond me, I felt I was not good enough for them etc..It’s all shit.

    I don’t agree with the “good looking people” part. A lot of the girls are just nerdy Indian or Chinese chicks, and same with the dudes, good chunk of the guys are already balding/receding.

    Whatever.
    Fuck the BIG 4 for acting all glamours and making people perceive them to be what their not, and Fuck accounting. Really its just glorified book keeping, nothing special you need to go to school for years for, their just making money of stupid and gullible students.

    • MM says:

      Quick question, did you attend DAP then get an Articling position at a CA firm? I say this because I’m considering going to DAP for May 2012.

      Like many others, I have a Science degree that I have no use for so I’ve been shadowing a CA for awhile now and I’ve found that I’m actually interested in pursuing a career in accounting (despite how boring people say accounting is).

      Moreover, I’ve noticed that a lot of people suggest doing extracurricular activities, what might this include?

      Any comments would be much appreciated.

    • Sick and Tired says:

      I love your Post!!! Absolutely love it.

  53. I do hope that this site is brought back to its old glory. I miss the quality site that this once was.

  54. Lina Kim says:

    Is it true that DAP program has 800 people graduated in 2010 and only 3 got job offered? If it is so why are they admitting so many DAP students and let them all be unemployed? It is strange!

    • Dave10 says:

      This is way off. I personally know a whack of people that got hired to the Big 4 from DAP.

      They only hire the really good looking people though, So I definitely recommend hitting the gym, getting a tan, and fixing all of your snaggle teeth (if you have them) before going through recruiting.

      • Avi says:

        This is a rlelay good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

  55. Haseeb says:

    Guys,
    i have worked 2 years in KPMG, Pakistan and got Bsc in accounting from U.K, i am interested for DAP at UBC.
    Is it sounds good?

  56. kkk says:

    ESL for what?
    i got 7 in IELTS. u meant that i should apply for ESL jobs in Canada?

  57. o offense, but I’d suggest taking some ESL classes first…

  58. Any comments would be much appreciated.

  59. D says:

    Big 4 firms love chinese and spanish speakers as it assists them with mining audits and emerging markets; especially in Vancouver. I worked in the big 4 and the idea that an accent will hurt you is BS. If you’re ugly though, good luck getting hired unless you are a phenom. As for moving up, appearance is best. Look competent. Trash the people below you; if you have to, get them fired. If that is what it takes to get the heat off, then that’s the recipe for success. And never, ever hesitate or say stupid things that make you look anything less than totally professional. Fail upwards, because failing is all that happens in audit. You just have to do it with some style and veneer of arrogance. Good Luck 🙂

  60. Some who don’t have a strong accounting background feel all accountants as being equal, but that is not the case. A well qualified accountant is furnished with the knowledge and experience to effect a critical difference in many parts of your business including Tax Planning, Business Consulting, Personal Finance Advice, and Networking.

  61. Please update the site and the great stories and insights, all of which are greatly missed.

  62. After looking over a few of the blog posts on your website, I seriously like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website too and let me know what you think.

  63. It’s hard to find experienced people for this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  64. vedesign says:

    I do hope that this site is brought back to its old glory.It’s hard to find experienced people for this topic.It’s great to see you back Anonymous Accountant.

  65. BCIT student says:

    My friend doesn’t work for the Big4. He completed the acct. diploma at BCIT and now he works as a financial manager of the Volkswagen-Audi dealerhip and making almost 3 times more than “the KPMG worker”

  66. accamania says:

    Which is better ? UBC DAP or diploma in Accounting from Mcgill ???? Can anyone please suggest

  67. Chantal says:

    Hello there I am so excited I found your blog page, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Anyways I am here now
    and would just like to say thanks a lot for a fantastic post and a all
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  68. K says:

    To The Great KPMG Staff Accountant:
    As a economics major/commerce minor student at ubc, i was thinking about doing the DAP program in the past few days. (My current GPA is about 87%) First, i want to thank the KPMG Staff Accountant to share all the insights about being an accountant and the hard grinding part of getting the CA designation. Second, i want to share some of the information i was able to gather from resources available on campus either through alumni or professors.

    For people who consider about the DAP program now, here are some tips i obtained through my professors.First, an understanding of the job market is really essential; the key is the fact that there are approximately 70-80 accounting job openings in Vancouver every year. Having exceptional grade is only one of the requirements, and if you do have exceptional grades, networking will be your next step.

    In addition I have a number of friends who completed the DAP program with an exceptional GDP (approximately 90% +) at UBC in the past few years. They have sent out more than 100 application to get responses on average.

    Given all these information, i believe the DAP program is not a worth-while investment.
    Here are some other personal thought regarding the program after completing two accounting classes who are regular instructors for the DAP program. First, Financial accounting is absolutely waste of time. (for me personally) The more interesting part is cost accounting, the cost-benefit analysis was similar to the principles in cost-benefit analysis of economics. However managerial decision really requires a good understanding of the economics, not just the numbers. The way they are teaching Accounting is not trying to teach people the logics and analytical skills but rather to test how fast you are able to process information and categorize them.

    Personally, i think, (likely be biased), for people who have a very good math background should pursue furthering studying in finance or financial economics. (The field of study is perhaps quite quantitive but it does teach you some essential techniques and computer formulations)

    Possession of these skills will give you a chance to get into one of the listed industry below.
    Investment banking, Fund Manager, Private Equity, Business Consulting.

    People in finance are not the ones that prepare the financial data but rather using the data to provide insights.
    Hope this helps
    Again thank you KPMG staff accountant, (CPA is clearly a longer routine for people who try to get into finance if people want to get into finance.)

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  72. Alex says:

    I started at one of the big 4’s six months ago. Going into the job all I wanted was to learn and do a great job. Now six months later, I’m freaking. I work 10 to 12hrs a day 6 to 7 days a week – like an animal. I’m expected to complete files on understaffed mandates within unrealistic time frames. Worst, nobody appreciates the work I do. I consistentently get the feeling from seniors and managers that I haven’t done enough, a good enough job, and that I’m not meeting expectations. I mean it’s crazy – it’s like a third world country sweatshop. My wife tells me that I don’t talk to her anymore, that she has nobody to talk to…. Top it off school – I went from being a consistant A+ student to getting B-‘s. I have no time to study and must somehow pass a board exam at the end of all this. I love accounting but this crap is killing my life.

    • Hi
      I’m relatively a new immigrant (landed in Feb. 2014) and received offers from KPU and BCIT in Accounting program. Really wondering which one to choose. Please advice with pros and cons. Thanks!

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