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salaries

It amazes me that the big 4 get away with such a ridiculous salary structure. Props to the accounting firms for perfecting such a structure. It makes sense though, they hire so many graduates now that replacing entry level employees is not much of a problem. Where it hits them is when seniors/senior associates and above start quitting. They can't be replaced immediately. The stress and number of hours they put in is not reflected in their salaries. That is why, sometimes, we are curious by and do not mind those myriad calls by recruiters with offers from "financial service companies" with offers 30% above our salaries and way less hours. That's when a work-life balance and higher salary requirements really kick in for us. I'm okay with the salaries offered to the staff associates for the first two years. But after that, the salary levels are absolutely dismal. By that time, most would have had or in pursuit of their CPAs, and thus are highly lucrative targets for both companies and recruiters alike. In order to compete against this, the big 4 should increase salary levels. Then again, if the salaries of employees increase, earnings of partners decrease, which means they can't by that condo on the beachfront. Sorry employees, but you're not as important as that condo.

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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?"

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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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