Getting into public accounting

Dec 13, 2013
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I am an accounting and business management student and I am considering trying to get into public accounting in the recruiting period after I graduate rather than via the one in my last year of school. The reason for this is because I will have more semesters of solid GPA at that point and I know grades are very important for getting into public accounting. By the time I graduate, my accounting GPA will be about a 3.5 and my overall GPA will be about a 2.9.

My questions and concerns are:

Will going about trying to get into public accounting that way reduce/eliminate my chances?

Will firms be wondering why I didn't get a job in my normal recruiting period?

Is this different when it is a firm that only hires their interns? Not all students are willing to take a semester off during busy season, so a firm that only hires their interns would be limited to people graduating in December, people willing to take a semester off, and people that have already graduated.

I plan on taking both parts of the CMA exam before the recruiting period I am referring to. Only part 1 before my normal recruiting period. Will passing these speak something of my capabilities, or will they not care?

I am not interested in big 4 firms. I wouldn't have the grades to get a job there during my normal recruiting period and I know their recruiting methods are so structured that if you miss one of their requirements, you chances are severely reduced. I also want my public accounting experience to be a learning experience, and I know that in the big 4 you generally specialize in one thing, receivables for example, and don't gain much experience in other areas. I want variety so I can learn.

I may want to take one part of the CPA exam after graduation before I apply for jobs, but wouldn't mind waiting either because some firms help pay for the exam fees and study materials.

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The Finance Writer

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Aug 23, 2013
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Firms do have a preference for hiring their past interns -- whether the organizations are in the Big 4 or large regional firms.

The campus recruiting system is crucial to landing a job. Hence, the recruiting period is typically utilized by students. One option is using campus recruiting resources while taking graduate courses after you've obtained the higher GPA from completing your undergrad degree.

Forget the CMA for now. This is generally a career booster later. Instead, focus on the CPA exam. Completing one or two sections prior to starting a job is very beneficial. You can see how prepared you are for the exam by looking over the free test bank of sample questions at

Remember that new accountants can't be too choosey about job duties. Still, you have the right idea that firms outside the Big 4 tend to offer more work variety. Nevertheless, your initial tasks do not control or limit your eventual choice of a specialty.

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