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Old 08-15-2012, 04:55 PM
 
3 posts, read 17,907 times
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I am currently interviewing with the big 4 accounting firms. Was trying to choose whether to go to San Fran or Phoenix. What are the sizes of the offices there? What are the perks/negatives of each area or offices? I have never lived on the west coast and would love some input! I am in audit and am definitely going big 4.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Avondale and Tempe, Arizona
2,852 posts, read 4,209,491 times
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I know Ernst and Young and KPMG have offices in Phoenix and Tempe but I'm not sure how large they are.

Might be best to just go with the better of the four companies, size might not matter in this case, as I write this with a grin on my face.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
18,358 posts, read 24,593,244 times
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If you select a Big 4 accounting firm in Phoenix, be aware that you will do A LOT of travel. They may not tell you the truth about that (in fact, I'd bet they won't), but it IS the truth.

Think about it logically. The clients of Big 4 firms are BIG corporations. Phoenix is not the place where most BIG corporations have their headquarters. In fact, only four companies on the S&P 500 are headquartered in Phoenix.

The last auditor I knew who worked with KPMG traveled AT LEAST 3 out of four weeks every month, and she was a second year auditor. This was definitely NOT what they told her during interviews. She got a lot of mileage points on Southwest and USAir, and hotel points with La Quinta, Comfort Inn and Quality Inns. And quit after two years.

The other thing to consider is where do you want to work when/if you leave public accounting? If you are leaning towards a large, public corporation career, again, Phoenix will limit your connections and networking.

OTOH, your cost of living will be FAR lower in Phoenix, giving you a much better lifestyle from actually have some disposable income.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
603 posts, read 891,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Java Jolt View Post
I know Ernst and Young and KPMG have offices in Phoenix and Tempe but I'm not sure how large they are.
I know Deloitte has an office here too, but like Java, I have no idea how large they are. Most of the auditors we've dealt with from either Deloitte or E&Y live in California.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,610 posts, read 22,286,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamulv View Post
I am currently interviewing with the big 4 accounting firms. Was trying to choose whether to go to San Fran or Phoenix. What are the sizes of the offices there? What are the perks/negatives of each area or offices? I have never lived on the west coast and would love some input! I am in audit and am definitely going big 4.
Even though on all of their official campus recruiting literature the Big 4 make it out like you can choose which office location you want to work in, in reality, you don't. Prior to the economy crashing in 2008 this was possible (during the mid 2000's, all you needed was an accounting degree and a pulse to get hired by the Big 4 firms, your office of choice), but since 2008, the recruiting world, not just with Big 4, but in the business world in general, has become more geographically dependent than ever. The recruiters that come to your campus are recruiting for their local office only. The only exceptions are sometimes they will send students to interview in New York City (typically the biggest office in the USA), if NYC happens to have additional staffing needs at the time. For just about anywhere else, you can forget it. In fact, what will probably happen is if they think you are dead set on relocating to another city, they will toss your resume. Been there, done that. I wish someone would have told me this when I was interviewing for jobs at USC 4 years ago and I told the recruiters I wanted to work in either PHX or DEN, not LA.

And PS, if you want the true "west coast" experience, don't move to Phoenix. Phoenix is the desert southwest. Phoenix has a lot of west coast influences, but it's still a world of difference compared to actually living in either SoCal or NorCal.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:47 PM
 
1,628 posts, read 6,543,696 times
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I was going to say much the same thing - you saved me some typing. Phoenix is unfortunately quite weak in terms of big corporate HQs, especially in comparison to places like San Francisco and San Jose. The Phoenix area will probably lose US Airways before long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
If you select a Big 4 accounting firm in Phoenix, be aware that you will do A LOT of travel. They may not tell you the truth about that (in fact, I'd bet they won't), but it IS the truth.

Think about it logically. The clients of Big 4 firms are BIG corporations. Phoenix is not the place where most BIG corporations have their headquarters. In fact, only four companies on the S&P 500 are headquartered in Phoenix.

The last auditor I knew who worked with KPMG traveled AT LEAST 3 out of four weeks every month, and she was a second year auditor. This was definitely NOT what they told her during interviews. She got a lot of mileage points on Southwest and USAir, and hotel points with La Quinta, Comfort Inn and Quality Inns. And quit after two years.

The other thing to consider is where do you want to work when/if you leave public accounting? If you are leaning towards a large, public corporation career, again, Phoenix will limit your connections and networking.

OTOH, your cost of living will be FAR lower in Phoenix, giving you a much better lifestyle from actually have some disposable income.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Phoenix
1,798 posts, read 2,794,559 times
Reputation: 1604
I'm an accounting major with about a year left if I really bust butt. Shoot, give me a staff accountant/bookkeeping position in a nice new office building on Camelback with the mirror windows making about 35-40K a year and I'd be one happy man. Oprah said to visualize.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:53 AM
 
188 posts, read 499,016 times
Reputation: 114
I had a friend that worked for Deloitte... transferred to Sacramento, then Boston, and then to NYC. At every office he traveled a TON. He was part of the accounting software development management teams. I know that isn't your job description but he traveled a TON.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
603 posts, read 891,468 times
Reputation: 568
Quote:
Originally Posted by New Horizons View Post
I'm an accounting major with about a year left if I really bust butt. Shoot, give me a staff accountant/bookkeeping position in a nice new office building on Camelback with the mirror windows making about 35-40K a year and I'd be one happy man. Oprah said to visualize.
You're getting an accounting degree to make $40k a year? Truck drivers make more than that.

Oprah also had no qualms with cashing her hefty paychecks.

I started as a staff accountant and you can, and should, make more than that. Unless you want to work for a charity or non-profit anyway.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,610 posts, read 22,286,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen431 View Post
You're getting an accounting degree to make $40k a year? Truck drivers make more than that.

Oprah also had no qualms with cashing her hefty paychecks.

I started as a staff accountant and you can, and should, make more than that. Unless you want to work for a charity or non-profit anyway.
From what I've seen/heard/personally experienced, for brand new, out of college, entry level hires, in a non-coastal city like Phoenix,
~$50k is what you can expect from a Big 4 firm.
~$40-45k is what you can expect from a smaller local/regional firm.
~$35k-$40k is what you can expect from a local government agency or small corporate in-house accounting department.

These are just starting salaries-- salaries increase pretty quickly after you get some experience and hopefully a CPA.

Salaries could be potentially 20-40% bigger in a place like New York City, but then cost of living is over 200% more. And in some parts of the salaries, salaries could be 20-30% less than Phoenix.
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