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big 4 trainings

This is in response to the question about trainings that we receive...
most of what we learn about auditing comes from on-the-job training. The formal trainings, honestly, sucks. Don't get me wrong, I love the formal trainings, but the only reason I do is because it gives me a chance to catch up with my peers. During our formal trainings, I'm either on the internet, playing pc games, or, if they make us shut down our laptops, I have no choice but to zone out. And trust me, I am not alone, so is 60-75% of my class. Funnily enough, I look at our trainings as a break from auditing and so I love it. The best ones are the offsite ones...Chicago, Orlando, etc. Imagine putting a bunch of 20 somethings in a hotel for a week, it's usually a blast. Once you get your CPA though, these trainings actually count for something since they count as CPE credits and thus keep your license active.
How periodic are these trainings? Probably around 2-3 weeks a year. Since it actually costs them money to hold these trainings instead of whoring us by the hour so the partners can make more money, they try and keep these trainings at a minimum.
Do we have a choice as to what the curriculum is? Not really, at least not for the mandatory trainings. But if you are pro-active, you can seek out the nationwide trainings held (should be accessible through the company website) and sign up for them. You can also sign up for a myriad of online classes. So in a way, if you really want to learn, you can. Odds are, at my next training, I'll zone out.


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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/ 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 the fall and in the spring. So I think they work more than i…


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.
I have seen a few return this past summer, but didn't really notice a trend until you mentioned it. It's definitely been higher than past years, but not enough to s…

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.
In the long run though, choosing audit vs consulting really depends on what you want t…