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Prospective Bankers Say Yes to Accounting

With jobs on Wall Street drying up, finance-minded students are rushing to the safer, albeit sleepier world of accounting. This year has seen the highest number of enrollments in undergraduate and graduate accounting programs on record. And the better news: people are getting hired.

Nearly 41,000 accounting graduates were hired by public accounting firms in 2012, according to a study commissioned by the American Institute of CPAs. Nearly 90% of those firms plan to hire more aggressively this year.

“It’s the job security,” said one graduate who just picked a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers over one on Wall Street fearing layoffs. “Plus, there’s less financial upside in banking than there used to be.”

The only possible drawback, other than the bean-counting work-life, is that you may be outshined by your competition if you only hold a bachelor’s degree. The number of accounting students graduating with a master's degree has more than doubled in the last 10 years. A shocking 41% of accounting graduates hired by public firms in 2012 held a master’s degree.

As for where you want to head with your degree, well that all depends on what you want to get out of your career. The Big Four – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young – are known for offering great training, high salaries and prestige, but tend to fall short when it comes to quality of life. In fact, only one of the Big Four – PricewaterhouseCoopers – ranked in the top 20 accounting firms in terms of work/life balance, and PwC barely made the list.

Smaller firms often don’t pay as well, and your resume may not be looked at in the same light, but you’ll have a better chance of getting home before dinner.

Rough Quarter (eFinancialCareers)

Profit at U.S. investment bank Jefferies plummeted 34% year-on-year in the second quarter. The firm also has gone from hiring to firing: 56 jobs were cut in the last quarter, and pay per head in the quarter fell 11%, to $99k.

You Better Dig It (Business Insider)

The key to making it at Goldman Sachs: “Find a job match that you’re going to enjoy, because any of these jobs—particularly those at Goldman Sachs or Wall Street—require a lot,” says Edith Hunt, Chief Diversity Officer and former Head of Talent Management at Goldman Sachs.

This is Legal? (WSJ)

Authorities are looking into a rather simple yet wily scheme reportedly being employed by oil traders looking to gain an edge. A trader offers to sell a small amount of oil at a loss, driving down prices below market value, only to then buy shiploads at the lower price.

Admitting Guilt (BBW)

When banks and individuals settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they almost never admit to any wrongdoing – they just pay a fine. Those days may soon be over, says SEC Chairman Mary Jo White.

Blacklisted (WSJ)

Leon Black, founder of private equity group Apollo Global Management, is reportedly the mystery buyer of the $47.9 million Raphael drawing “Head of a Young Apostle.” The problem is he can’t get the artwork home. British authorities, apparently upset the artwork is no longer part of the Duke of Devonshire's collection, have blocked his attempts to export the piece.

Sunny Q2 (Bloomberg)

Trading and investment-banking revenue could jump as much as 13% and 17%, respectively, during the second quarter, compared to the same period a year ago.

You Can Cash that in 2023 (BBC)

The U.K.’s Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards has a devious idea: make some senior bankers wait as long as ten years to collect their bonuses. The committee also recommended making “reckless” management of banks an actual crime.

What Slump? (Bloomberg)

SAC Capital Advisors, the Connecticut hedge-fund manager besieged with insider trading allegations and asset redemptions, just hired former Soros Fund Management exec Adam Odorczuk to co-head Asia trading.

Buzz Around the Office

Cap’n Liar (FoodBeast)

He’s been living a lie for a half-century. Cap’n Crunch, perhaps the most iconic cereal mascot behind only Tony the Tiger, is not even a real Captain. He’s but a humble Commander.

List of the Day: Rookie Advice

If you just started your first job, avoid doing this.

  1. Involving yourself in office politics.
  2. Not asking enough questions.
  3. Not appreciating the opportunity, no matter how small.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor
  • ki
    20 June 2013

    I don't know where Big 4 pays more?? They usually pay less because they can get away with it, and employees don't mind as much because they just want to work at a Big 4.

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