Skip to main content

fired from public accounting?

This is to address a posted question here..."do people ever get fired or let go from Big 4and for what reasons?"

Fired -
Yes, people do get fired, and this is pretty much for the same reasons anyone gets fired from a company. Wrongdoings, Extended unexplained absences, etc. I know of a person who got fired for being "caught in the act" at work. If I were to go into it in detail, this would turn into an adult entertainment blog. Another kid got fired for complete disrespect of authority. And there are quite a few other instances that led to different firings at the big 4.

Layoffs -
Now this is where it gets interesting. For my firm for example, it really depends on the region. In some regions, there are a decent amount of clients and the firms are desperate for people, like in the east coast of the US. In some regions, like the southern states, layoffs have occured due to a lack of enough clientele to keep them busy through the year. The new term that hr uses nowadays is "counseled out", wherein our counselors, or mentors within the firm (each individual gets mentors within the firm when they start) call them in and essentially tell them why they're being laid off. One kid got counseled out for a lack of quality effort on his part. They essentially had to weed out a few personnel to get their revenues and expenses to balance out on the profit side.
I don't want to jinx it, but in my case for example, I could go up to the partner and punch him in the face, and i'd probably get taken off his clients, but I won't get fired since they need me. And believe me, I'm not saying this because I might be good at what I do, any fool who's in a senior position or higher will probably be treated the same as me. Firms are going out and hiring extremely aggressively these days even though the economy is in doldrums.

That's probably one of the best things about this field. If job security is your highest priority when looking for a job, this is it. I'd highly recommend public accounting. Why? Because unlike investment banking, it is not deal-oriented. We get a steady stream of income from existing clients and clients do not drop us that often. For a company to drop a big 4 accounting firm, it must have a valid reason. Investors will be suspicious if companies switch auditors. So as startups and other growth companies need "name-brand" auditors to get bigger loans, the big 4 get more clients and thus more revenue. As much as people whine about this job, job security is usually at the bottom of the list of complaints.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hi

What are the dumbest things your co-workers have ever done whilst on the job?

Thanks
Anonymous said…
i hate auditing so much. i am counting down the days until i am qualified and then I can leave!!!
Krupo said…
Agreed on job sec, especially in 'pure' audit.

If you're in the 'advisory'/consulting side of any of these companies, though, watch out, as the market there is especially more cyclical.

Most firms rely on people quitting like anonymous #2, keeping the 'pyramid' of staff triangular enough.
Anonymous said…
I just discovered your blog after Googling "Peter Olinto" out of curiosity to see what other people thought of him. I realize that post was from last year, but I've been reading all your other entries since, and had to comment on this one. (btw, the reason I kept reading was because I was screaming "hear! hear!" reading your opinions on Olinto and Gearty. If Gearty said "Notice" one more time I was going to hunt him down and shoot him.)

I also completely agree with you on the job security. I recently quit my job at a Big 4 because I was so miserable, and my co-worker summed it up best: "There are the people who stay because they're either really enjoying it or they are being groomed. Then there's everyone else. Of everyone else, it's those who just can't stand all the bullshit who will always make room for those who can. So what you end up with at the upper end of the pyramid isn't necessarily the best and the brightest, just the ones with the highest tolerance for bullshit."

My firm rarely fired, though they did "counsel out" one 2nd year staff while I was there. They just couldn't afford to fire, because they never know how many are going to quit.
They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity's work. despacho de contadores publicos

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

should you choose to audit financial services?

I'm trying to decide whether to audit financial services companies or non-financial services companies. What would you say are the pros and cons of either industries? Do individuals who choose non-FS have less career mobility within the firm or if they decide not to stay with the B4 after a few years?
Really depends on what you'd like to do after (unless you really love auditing). If you want to a controller,etc. at a p/e firm or a hedge fund down the road, you'd want to go into financial services. The pay won't be too bad, especially if you get a share of the insane bonuses they dole out. If you want to audit industries with tangible products and want to get a better understanding of the operations of such businesses, then other industries are the way to go.In terms of mobility outside the firm, auditing other industries is the way to go since you have plenty of options when you exit the audit world. For example, in 2008, after Lehman collapsed, it was incredibly hard …