Don’t End Your Chances By Not Knowing The Public Accounting Start Dates


I always say accounting is like a cult. I remember the first time I heard the term “public accounting”.

I said, “that doesn’t interest me. I don’t want to work for the government.”

I had a lot to learn.

Today we’re talking about the dates when you can look forward to starting your career in public accounting!

Hello Andrew,

Do you when are the general start dates for experienced hires? When do you think would be an appropriate start date?

I am looking to start as early at Jan 19. (Out of the country from dec 28-jan 14.) But because of busy season, for my cold email responses, i don’t know if putting late January/Early February would be ideal.


Great questions. Like most things in accounting there is a very specific answer to your question.

With most of the large public accounting firms, they want to train you before they throw you out into the field. Typically, training and hiring occurs at three times during the year:

Winter – January
Summer – June
Fall – September / October

With the Big 4 firms, they’re all the same. The top 10 are as well. However as you move down into top 50-100 (and beyond) there is a little bit more flexibility.

I should also note that while some people do start in the summer, 90%+ start in winter or fall.

What about experience vs. campus hires?​

Campus hires and experienced hires both follow the same general rules as above.

That being said, there are two slight differences:

  1. Campus hires typically get hired 2-3 years in advance of their start date. Experienced hires typically start right away.
  2. Experienced hires can start at other dates during the year, especially if they have public accounting experience. If you’ve already been working in public accounting, they’ll get you started right away (February, March, August or whatever) and send you to the next available training. If you don’t have public accounting experience, you can still start at any point during the year. It’s less likely, but I have seen it done on multiple occasions.

How does this affect the times of the year I should apply?

As a campus hire, keep doing what you’re doing. Go to career fairs as early as possible (freshmen year is my recommendation), join Beta Alpha Psi, etc. Meet with people and ask questions. Even if you’re not ready for an internship, building a relationship early on can make a HUGE difference.

For experienced hires, I don’t recommend you wait to apply around the specific times of the year that are important. As an experienced hire applicant, you’re hoping to find the firm that is DESPERATE for a hire. They’ll take you any time of the year and they’ll find a way to train you. As I mentioned above, it can happen in any month.

You need to get started reaching out to 15-20 accounting firms as quickly as possible.

You can’t time every firms hiring process perfectly, and you shouldn’t try.

If they tell you they are not hiring until later in the year, mark you calendar and follow up!

To my readers question about noting the date you want to start, I wouldn’t put a date on the cover letter.

I would just apply and go through the process. Once they give you an offer with the start date, if it conflicts with a personal matter, negotiate. You never want to put any hurdles there before you get that offer in writing!