ing long and hard when necessary, and accepting those invitations to golf outings and dinner parties more often than not. While Big Four accounting firms recruit a very diverse crowd for their entry-level posi- tions, at least in terms of race and gender, at the end of the long, hard slog to the part- ner level, it’s usually white males who are still in the race. If being a partner in a Big Four firm is your career goal, caveat emptor . The Odds: Poor As a quick look at the numbers of new employees hired by the Big Four each year ver- sus the numbers of new Big Four partners named each year will tell you, the odds of making partner are long. Partnership positions only go to those who’ve put in the hours and built the relationships necessary to stand out from their peers. Each year, seeing the writing on the wall vis-à-vis their potential of making partner, many Big Four accountants take their hard-won experience and move to greener pas- tures. The good thing is that there are usually plenty of opportunities for people who move out of accounting; these jobs are great stepping-stones. Insiders say their exposure to a wide range of companies and industries and the vast responsibility given to them allows them to develop impressive skill sets, whether they want to hang out their own accounting shingle, go into finance in industry, or go into another profession entirely. One insider says, “When I look back on my 4 years in the Big Four, what I’ve learned is unbelievable. In college, it would have taken me 10 years to learn this much.” A C C O U N T I N G F I R M P A R T N E R
15 M I L L I O N D O L L A R C A R E E R S ADDITIONAL RESOURCES American Institute of Certified Public Accountants () Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting and business fraternal organization () Careers in Accounting (WetFeet Insider Guide, available from ) CPAnet () National Association of Black Accountants () Uniform CPA Examination website () A C C O U N T I N G F I R M P A R T N E R
16 M I L L I O N D O L L A R C A R E E R S PROFILE R. Wayne Jackson, Accounting Firm Partner If R. Wayne Jackson isn’t as famous as some of the other people profiled in Million Dollar Careers , blame it on his job. Accountants typically work behind the scenes. In fact, if an accountant makes the newspapers, at least in recent years, usually it’s because he’s done something wrong—so most accountants don’t mind staying out of the public eye, thank you very much. Jackson is notable not for doing something wrong, but because in June 2004 he was promoted to the position of global leader of the Entertainment and Media Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the Big Four accounting firms. Jackson origi- nally joined PwC in 1979, after graduating from the University of Alabama. He was elected partner at the firm in 1991. In a career spanning more than 25 years, Jackson has worked on PwC’s behalf for clients such as Time Warner, BellSouth, Turner
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