Skip to main content

does it get better?

"I've only been working for 3 months at a Big 4 accounting firm, and I'm just finding that I'm not liking the work and already can't wait to leave. Is this just a phase that I'll get over or is this a sign that I shouldn't be in this line of work or this particular firm? How did you feel after 3 months? "

Really good question. Obviously, it can be on a case by case basis, but I can tell you how my mindset changed, and what the mindset in general seems to be.
When I started off, I absolutely hated this job. Within two months, I wanted out. But I persisted, and the 2nd year didn't get any better. There were quite a few moments when I updated my resume, ready to get out. The next 2-3 years, it gets better. Sure, you work longer, and you get more responsibility, but you actually use your brains more. The mundane tasks can be pushed downwards, and it does get better. By then, you'll have this thing down pat. You delegate more downward, you get more delegated to you from the powers..the difference being that the work is much more interesting than the ridiculous first-second year work we have to do. Right now, I actually don't mind it. Don't get me wrong..I don't like it, and I don't know if I ever will. I'm just going to have to wait and find out.
Sure, a lot of it might have to do with the economy. With the current economy in tatters, and layoffs being the norm, it's hard to complain. Pyschologically, we're glad we have a job. So that kinda drowns some of our complaints.

I mentioned this in an earlier blog but - the beauty of the auditing model is that the firms rely on people to leave so they can keep hiring and not have issues with layoffs. So they know that people don't like this job.

So..when you initially hate it..is it just a phase? There are a lot of factors that need to be considered...your future clients, your future teams and more importantly...your future goals.
If you know what you want to do, and you can do it now, go for it. If you just don't like it and would rather do something else, hang around until you figure out what you'd like to do.

At some point soon..I'll blog about things you can do to make your audit-life easier.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I have been an auditor for 3 years. Got my title, my hours everything. Might be promoted to manager in the next months. But I'm leaving. I got other job offers, I picked one (the government). Partners are not happy about it and gave me the big lecture. But, I do feel so relieved now.
I've done a good job at auditing, but I'm so tired of it. I'm sick of it and can't take it anymore.
I could wait a couple of months, 6 months, a year, be promoted. I realized that since I've been auditing, my only hope comes from the future, future team, future client, future tasks. I want to LIVE now. So I'm out.
Anonymous said…
after three years in public accounting what kind of job offers can you expect from the government?
Anonymous said…
I tried to subscribe to your blog and got an error. I tried it a couple different ways and it was a no-go. It could be on my end, but possibly not. Thought you should know.
notfordisplay said…
I can't seem to figure it out either. Others have brought it up in the past. Not sure why there's an error. I'll have to send an email to the blogger helpdesk at some point.
notfordisplay said…
Has the subscription link worked for anyone?
Anonymous said…
I now understand that why experienced big4 employees are more preferred.. In my point of view, they can endure, bear, and handle one of the most stressful biz works. They complete works in deadline whatever partners told to do.. Conversely, I know big4 works are very tough... but people, who employed as a full-time, quit after only a few months or a year... in my point of view..I don't think they can work in any place..they look like unreliable to employers...
Anonymous said…
Is any work at Big 4 outsourced internationally?
Anonymous said…
Brosif...sounds like you have Stockholm Syndrome. Stay away from the Kool-aid.

Anonymous on outsourced work...Deloitte created Deloitte India to do a lot of the data interrogation and analysis that I'm sure has cost a few first and second years j-o-bees.
Anonymous said…
Mmmmm, I have three CPA exam sections scheduled for the next month. Needed a break from studying, went on the web and then I read this..... Oops, is this the field I am getting into??? I already had no interest in the big4 before and this only confirms it. My question to you is what you expect to do in the future? Obviously you can only be worked to death for a limited number of years in a job that you hate. I am always curious why people want to have that big4 on their resume and how that will help you.
Anonymous said…
Checking your website once in a while for more hilarious updates. Nothing new - what is up - busy season killing you?
Kelkel said…
As someone who's just starting out, this is a bit depressing. I had already made up my mind that this is a good profession to be in to get all kinds of experience, but it is very easy to become very negative about the job. If I'm going to commit to working in audit for years, I'm going to work hard at not hating it, or I'll just be miserable.

As for government jobs, one of the options I'm considering is that the FBI hires CPAs as special agents. But you have to do the test, 2 years audit experience, etc first to get that.
Anonymous said…
I just started reading this blog, but I think its great. A real inside scoop into the psychology of being and auditor. For those of you reading this blog and getting all freaked out about working for a big4, many of you must be new grads without prior work experience. I'm about 4 years out of school and have tried a couple jobs and guess what? They all sucked!!! I'm currently trying to figure out how to get hired by a big4 even though I studied economics, not accounting. Besides, would you rather be an attorney??
notfordisplay said…
It seems like people who've worked in other jobs before coming into auditing seem to appreciate it even more. Which means it's not in the bottom rung.

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 …