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audit supplies

When we first walk into our hallowed offices, we are given an orientation of the office setup and certain relevant areas that might be helpful to us as we proceed along on the partner-track. I remember getting introduced to the supply closet, which is like a Bertie Botts gift shop for auditors. Swipe your badge, and you have access to a vast array of supplies that will enhance your arsenal while you audit a myriad of companies. Red pencils, blue pencils, green pencils, pencils, erasers, post-its, mini post-its, staplers, mini staplers, staple removers, rulers, erasers...and the list goes on. Apparently in other companies, people steal supplies from supply cabinets for their personal use at home. I'd honestly rather not. Dealing with these familiar supplies the whole day is enough, but if i see another colored pencil at home, i'm more likely to break it into half and throw it away. Tell you what though, you know there are some brilliant marketers when they can make auditing attractive - check out this PriceWaterHouse Coopers commercial.

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career progression

"What can you tell me about the different possible tracks a person would take at the Big 4 in regards to tax vs. audit? Is there a difference in career progression among the two specialties? How about career potential? Workload?"

Loaded question. In terms of career potential, they're both pretty potent. Audit leads you to controller/accounting manager/ VP - accounting positions at companies if you choose to quit. Tax can lead to tax manager positions at various companies/firms..to help them minimize taxes and exploit tax loopholes. It's a pretty important position in many companies...I'm not an expert on tax careers though, so you might want to ask somebody in a tax related position.
In terms of career progression, it's the same as audit...start off as a staff associate...move to senior..manager..snr mgr..partner.
In terms of workload, my friends in the tax department seem to work two busy seasons...in the fall and in the spring. So I think they work more than i…

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As a big four employee, lately, I've been hearing a lot about "boomerang" employees. Those who, for some reason or another, decide that leaving work when the sun is still out is not for them and alas, return back to the firm. Yes, the grass is not always greener on the other side, however, is this trending upward or about the same as it always has been? I think, also, that the firms really do a good job in highlighting those that do choose to return to make it appear more common than reality. Can you please speak about how you've seen the trend of "boomerangs" amongst the big 4? 

Good question. A boomerang, as the commenter pointed, is one who quits a big 4 Firm and then decides to return (or boomerang) back to the Firm after getting a taste of work life in the non-public accounting world.
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auditing vs consulting

I was wondering if you could break down the career opportunities in auditing and consulting (in a big 4). I know that consulting pays more in a big 4 and has more interesting work, but it seems that auditing has extremely good exit opportunities (Financial controller, CFO etc). Any thoughts on which is better in the long run?

Well there's different consulting services offered by public accounting companies - the most popular being IT consulting and risk consulting. There are also other consulting services offered, but these two hire the most. Do they pay more? Yes, but not by much. Not enough for you to say: Shoot, the $$ is a huge reason for me to move over. Is the work more interesting than audit? Yes. You're actually looking over a company's processes and telling them what to do instead of what not to do (audit). Everyone I know who's made the switch likes it waay better than audit.
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