06Jun

And the award for the “Most Prestigious Accounting Firm” goes to… wait for it… PwC.

It’s the 12th straight year the US branch of the international accounting and business services firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers International has placed first on the annual list of the top 50 prestigious firms.

Produced annually by careers site Vault, the rankings are based on some 10,000 surveys completed by accounting professionals. Among the questions, participants give a prestige ranking to firms other than their own.

From year to year, the firms making the top of the list haven’t varied much. This year’s rankings (for some reason Vault dates the list as 2021) are largely a repeat of last year’s with the big four accounting firms taking the top four places: 1-PwC; 2-Deloitte; 3- EY; and, 4-KPMG.

In fact, most of the firms on the list were there last year. Joining the list this year are Frazier & Deeter in 45th place; Warren Averett 47; and, Squar Milner 50.

What’s particularly striking about PwC is how it dominates Vault’s other lists:

  • #1 on the 2021 Vault Accounting 50
  • #2 on the 2021 Best Accounting Firms for Diversity
  • #1 in each of the three categories on the Best Practice Areas list.
  • Multiple rankings among the top 5 and 10 in the various categories on Vault’s 2021 Best Accounting Firms

So often rated so highly on these Vault lists that in reporting on the list released last week, the irreverent accounting blog GoingConcern suggested, “Vault might as well call it the PwC Most Prestigious Accounting Firm Award at this point.”

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Investment Banks May Start Hiring in Q3

Investment banks are having a strong year.

After taking belt-tightening steps last year and announcing cost reduction plans this year, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent business shutdowns worried the industry that more draconian action might be coming.

That prospect now is much less likely. Most investment banks had a strong 1st quarter and are on track for an equally good Q2.

Reporting on positive financial news from three of the largest global banks, eFinancialCareers predicted that as long as conditions continue to improve “banks may indeed put their heads above the parapet and start tentatively implementing hiring plans later this summer.”

Writer Sarah Butcher’s optimistic prediction follows reports last month at Bernstein’s 36th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference and Deutsche Bank’s Global Financial Services Conference that banks are seeing good, even strong earnings performance.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase said the firm’s Q2 trading returns are as strong as they were in the first quarter when they were up 32% over Q1 last year.

The eFinancialCareers report also said Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing said sales and trading revenues were continuing to show the same strength in April and May as in Q1 when they were up 13%.

Goldman Sachs, which saw its Q1 net earnings up 89%, said it was meeting the expectations set out in January and had no plans to do more belt-tightening than it originally announced.

“Despite everything,” said eFinancialCareers, “ 2020 is turning out to be an OK year for investment banks.”

Photo by MayoFi on Unsplash

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Jun 6, 2023

Advice for New Accountants Just Starting Out

Starting your first job is stressful enough. Now add in the challenge of beginning your accounting career remotely, meeting colleagues and maybe your boss virtually, in an economic environment roiled by a pandemic and wild market gyrations.

In the understated words of Wes Bricker, PwC vice chair and assurance leader for the U.S. and Mexico, “an already milestone-level experience becomes inherently more complicated.”

While no accountant – or, for that matter, anyone just beginning their career – has ever faced a world like ours today, Bricker says in an article for Accounting Today that there are opportunities to make a difference.

“As a new accountant, setting yourself up for success amid uncertainty may seem like an uphill battle, but it’s really a pivotal opportunity,” he counsels.

Drawing on his own experiences, Bricker offers four “key guidelines” to help new accountants navigate today’s uncharted waters.

  1. Adopt a people-first mindset – Accounting, says Bricker, is a people-focused profession. “The importance of investing in the people around you and building strong relationships cannot be overlooked,” he writes. “Building strong relationships with all your stakeholders is paramount. Practice mutual respect with everyone at all times.”
  2. Seek out learning opportunities – Continue to learn, especially by being open to the help from senior accountants. “On-the-job counsel from others can teach you things you won’t be able to learn elsewhere.”
  3. Use technology to your advantage – Acknowledging that developing relationships remotely is not easy, Bricker says new accountants must use technology to do virtually what predecessors did in person. He counsels embracing technology to “make once time-consuming tasks faster and easier. Become an advocate for efficiency and lead by example.”
  4. Hold true to your purpose – “Respect the privilege and power of accounting. Honor commitments and deadlines. Have integrity. Be ethical. Tell the truth always. Practice objectivity and professional skepticism. Be a steward of accountability. Remember that trust is foundational to quality financial reporting; it underpins the entire financial ecosystem.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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