The big four accounting firms will this year take on more graduates from a non-accounting background than ever before as they seek to bolster their knowledge and skills base in areas of increasing global importance such as sustainability, water accounting and climate change. Between them, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG will find space for a total of more than 2000 graduates nationally, which must be good news for those just finished or close to finishing university, including those with science and engineering degrees.
The largest number of graduates will join Deloitte, which will hire more than 600 of them in addition to offering more than 500 vacationer and trainee placements in 2008. Graduates join Deloitte over the months of January, February and July. All Deloitte business areas are increasing their graduate intake significantly with especially strong demand for IT graduates.
"This is because of the consistently strong growth in the Eclipse e-business, technology consulting and risk management businesses," Deloitte said.
A vacationer is a summer internship for students in their penultimate year of university.
KPMG Australia has offered 571 graduates a start in 2008. Some of them joined before Christmas and the last of them will come on board in March.
KPMG's new head, Geoff Wilson, told The Australian Financial Review during a recent briefing that his firm was particularly interested in students who have experience in the water industry, especially in formulating ideas on water accounting.
Mr Wilson said KPMG was developing programs to reduce its carbon emissions footprint by looking at how staff used paper, energy and electricity. It was also looking at the travel habits of staff and working on enhancing its video conferencing facility to reduce the amount of travelling done. "Carbon accounting will move at quite a pace once the trading market evolves and pricing becomes clearer," he added.
Ernst & Young expects to hire 490 graduates nationally this year. It will also take on up to 480 vacationers and 88 trainees across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The majority of its graduates start between February and April, and the rest join in July. Its audit area, which included the assurance and advisory business services division, will take on the largest proportion.
E & Y said: "Our risk advisory, sustainability and human capital areas recruit grads from a broad range of disciplines including law, IT, engineering, the sciences, economics and actuarial studies. We've also opened up the engineering and science disciplines for other areas of the business such as tax research and development.
"Additionally, we recruit non-accounting graduates for our audit area who then complete the Deakin University program graduate certificate course. This provides direct entry into the CA program for candidates with non-accounting degrees."
More than 500 graduates and trainees will start with PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008. Graduates will make up about 80 per cent of this total. Three-quarters of the 500 total will have joined the firm by March 2008.
The firm said it would make no less than 600 offers to trainees and graduates from all degree disciplines including those from non-accounting backgrounds for a 2009 start. Again, graduates will account for about 80 per cent of this total.
"We are increasing our climate change and sustainability areas within PwC, which means we are reviewing our staffing needs in this area across all levels," the firm said. "We are increasing our numbers of graduates from a non-accounting background to ensure that we continue to recruit the highest quality graduates from diverse backgrounds.
"We look to attract undergraduates and graduates from all degree disciplines including engineering and the sciences."
CLUED UP ON CARBON NEUTRALITY
KPMG says the move to reduce its carbon emissions footprint taught it valuable lessons that other organisations should bear in mind. They include:
1. Establish a program working group with a broad knowledge base.
2. Gain a firm, broad commitment across the organisation to the project.
3. Define the scope of what will be designated carbon neutral.
4. Treat it as both an opportunity and a cost in the short and long term.
5. Start gathering relevant data early because refining data takes time.
6. Involve certified third-party expertise to ensure an unbiased outcome.
7. Keep abreast of developments in the carbon abatement market.
Fairfax Business Media
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