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Positives and Negatives of Working at a Big 4 Accounting Firm
If you’re majoring in accounting, you probably talk a lot with friends about getting a job at a Big 4 accounting firm. How do you aspire to get a job at PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, or EY. Still, you might be wondering which path is best for you. Is it better to do an internship in a small accounting firm or be employed as an auditor/tax consultant for an organization? Sometimes it can be hard to choose. Having worked for several years in a large accounting firm, I thought I would give you the positives and negatives regarding working in these firms. Hope this helps you decide which route is right for you.
Good points :
Work with the best audit and tax accountants. These companies will employ only the best talent, which means you’ll be working with the best. As a result, you are pushed every day and master a lot.
The majority of your colleagues will be close in age. It helps build group chemistry since you and your team have a lot in common. You like the team members you see regularly in the workplace. If you work for a company, you may not have many people your own age as co-workers.
PTO time is important. Depending on the large company you work for, you may have up to 25 PTO days per year by the time you start. This is very rare in other companies.
Leading a team early on. Once you’ve spent two years working as a staff, you’ll begin leading audit and tax teams as a senior. It’s a great opportunity that can’t be found outside of the Big 4.
Training Annually. If you want to become an excellent tax auditor/adviser, you need to attend regular training. The Big 4 organizations hold annual trainings for employees and offer online courses to help keep them up to date with today’s accounting profession.
Savings. Since the Big 4 accounting firms are multinational organizations, they usually have many agreements with various other organizations. This leads to many discounted prices on things like cell phones, flower arrangements, clothing, and event tickets.
Points. As a consultant or in a team that has to travel, it is possible to compile a large amount of airline and hotel rewards. Use the company credit card, then use the rewards on your personal PTO.
Celebrations. Large accounting firms realize how to organize multiple meetings for office workers. The party at Christmas and after April 15 is always a good time.
Many hours of work. From the first day of the year to April 15, you’ll likely be spending many hours at the office each week. 55 hours minimum to 80-90 hours maximum. The rest of the months, the work schedule changes depending on the engagement you are participating in. For those in auditing, your hours will increase for each quarter. Tax time also increases again after August. It is often rare to obtain a consecutive period of forty hours per week for more than several weeks during the year. In small businesses, your working hours will be much fewer during the year.
No PTO period. From 01/01 to 15/04 you are not allowed to use your vacation time. It can be very irritating when your family and friends go on vacation.
Specials. When you are high is basically tied to your experience level. It is only possible to become a senior after two years as a staff member, five years as a manager, etc. Performing artists who may be able to get promoted sooner based on their worth will find this frustrating. Yet, that will never happen.
Self evaluation. For each project you do for more than 40 hours, you are required to produce a personal assessment. These are not fun to produce.
Politics in the office. This is hard to avoid in any business and of course the Big 4 accounting firms are not immune to it.
Time in front of a computer. It’s probably not healthy to stare at a laptop screen for more than 10 hours a day, but that’s precisely what happens from 1/1 to 4/15.
Travel to the Client. Trips are rarely less than 35-50 minutes per direction. It will likely wear you out if you find yourself working past 11 p.m. every night during peak season. Those who have a mission close to home are the luckiest.
Ultimately, the benefit of being employed by a Big 4 accounting firm far outweighs the negatives. Getting EY, Deloitte, KPMG or PwC on your resume is a great start to your accounting career. However, being employed in these companies is not for everyone. You should go through this list and think about what you want for your personal future. See if you can include another element in it. Being an accountant no matter what is a very good option.
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