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helping your senior

"Do you have any advice to share on asking your senior for more work? I always find that I run out of work, but I'm not sure if I'll be HELPING destress them by getting some more work, or just making them more stressed out because they have to find something for me to do! "

Props on wanting to be more helpful. If you run out of work, please let your seniors know. They really do not want to bug you every few minutes to see where you stand, and at the same time you do not want them to keep bugging you if you're trying hard.
If they get stressed that they have to find something for you to do, they should do one of the following -
a) Give you some of what they're responsible for
b) ask you to sit back and surf the web if they're waiting on something from the client
c) let you take off and not waste away surfing the web.

So definitely put the onus on them. If they're the type of people who are concerned they don't have anything for you to do, and for some inane reason, don't want you to leave either, just let them know you're willing to help out on anything, or you can offer to do some learning modules online, or just do other stuff until he or she comes up with work for you to do.


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"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.
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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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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…