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big 4 rivalry

is there a huge rivalry among the big 4 firms?

Great Question. They obviously compete in order to get new clients and retain clients. They also compete when it comes to recruiting at colleges, that's for sure. I'd consider it a healthy rivalry. The firms strive to match each other's salaries and benefits every year, in different forms of remuneration.
Amongst the non-partners, there's no real sense of the other firms being our "enemy'. It's definitely not a pepsi-coke style rivalry. As long as there's enough to go around, I don't think it'll reach that level.
All 4 firms play a big role in helping the FASB set accounting rules. They meet frequently on helping set standards, etc. etc. etc.
So many of us have friends at the rest of the firms, mostly from our graduating college class. So from what we hear, it seems to be pretty much the same sense at all firmns.
I might be wrong though. Thoughts?

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hello, I'm not sure where to leave direct questions for you, but I assume you'll get this message. Great blog. But I'm wondering, if you could be anything other than an accountant, what would it be?
CPA_Candidate said…
notfordisplay,

You have a wonderful blog here. I have a few questions for you.

How likely am I to get a job with a Big 4 if I have already passed the CPA exam? I have an accounting and bookkeeping background that goes back about 7 years. Plus, I run my own bookkeeping business. I would hope this would show that I have leadership abilities and I love working with people, hence my profession. I heard that you will be asked about working in teams too. Honestly, I have not worked in teams much if not at all during my accounting career. College is really the only place that I've worked in a team and I barely remember that. I wasn't even that long ago.

I have been doing some research online and I'm seeing people talk about how hard the interview process is and the assessment tests you have to take for them to weed you out. I am almost 30 years old but I have always wanted to do auditing for many years now at a Big 4.

What's your take on my inquiries. Thanks for your help. :)

I posted a message before similar to this one but it was anonymous.
CPA_Candidate said…
I just read some of McKenna's articles and I'm left wondering what I should do about firms. Big 4s are laying off and the mid-tier firms seem to be in trouble just like the Big 4. What's a girl to do?

Any recommendations on which firms I should apply to? Thanks for your help.
notfordisplay said…
CPA Candidate, i blogged on your questions a few months ago, so I'll post the link here for you, hopefully it'll help:

http://lifeofanauditor.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html#4051140967133107219
notfordisplay said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
notfordisplay said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
CPA_Candidate said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
notfordisplay said…
Sorry about that, it was posted wednesday december 10th..hopefully that will help
CPA_Candidate said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
CPA_Candidate said…
Thanks. The link didn't work but I did previously see the post regarding a question that was asked about applying to the Big 4 after passing the exam.

I'm glad you would be impressed by someone who already has already passed the CPA exam but the question is, will most interviewers feel like you? I live in the Orlando area and I'm not sure how much you know about Orlando. The job market is not very good down here.

Thanks for your response.
notfordisplay said…
I'm pretty sure most interviewers will be impressed, but most of all, HR will be very impressed and it will give you a leg up over other candidates. I can see why Orlando's not doing well in this economy. But I really want you to think twice about going into auditing, given your age. If you're okay with getting orders from people in their mid 20s your first few years at the firm, and you're okay with doing btchwork, then consider it.
CPA_Candidate said…
I will take the age thing into consideration. I will also consider the grunt work of the entry level position. I have done grunt work before and it's not too appetizing. Then again, that could be because I am a very ambitious person and I always craved more responsibility and I hated having down time. But I was raised to believe that if you want something bad enough, you have to do what is necessary to make it happen but don't break the law...lol.

If the young ones do work on my nerves I'll just think to myself, "Whatever...you snot-nosed little runt." LOL

My ultimate goal is to just transition into forensic accounting since I have studied this in the past as an undergraduate and that's why I wanted to get the auditing experience.

I'm not really too fascinated by Corporate America. The money is great but I like variety and a lot of times, corporate jobs are pretty routine from month to month.

Here's a question for you though. As a first year associate, will I do things like audit bank accounts and things like that. I've heard that this can happen during the first year. Is that true?

Thank you for the conversation. You are helping to widen my perspective of what I want my next move to be. :)
notfordisplay said…
"will I do things like audit bank accounts and things like that."

Honestly, this will be a huge part of what you do during your first year. If you're at a huge client, it takes up a lot of of your time. You'll be king of cash by the time you're done with your first year.

Since you have an interest in forensic accounting, why don't you go into a firm's fraud services group instead of auditing altogether. Unless they make you get auditing experience, study for the CFE (certified fraud examiner) and apply to a firm's fraud services division
CPA_Candidate said…
Auditing bank accounts is not too shabby at all and I won't mind it. I thought I would spend all day footing spreadsheets or something like that. I have done that before working with Florida Auditor General but it didn't take all day though. That would drive me insane...lol.

After reading job descriptions for working in the Forensic Services and Litigation Support divisions, they require at least 2 years of audit experience. This makes sense because you have to find a paper trail.

After the CPA exam, I do plan to jump right into studying for the CFE. The ACFE has a work experience requirement which includes auditing for fraud or its equivalent. So whatever firm I work for, maybe I will be able to transfer or rotate to their Advisory Services. I believe PWC has a well-known fraud division. Not sure if I heard that right.

Thanks again! :)
krupo said…
"The money is great but I like variety and a lot of times, corporate jobs are pretty routine from month to month."

That's the biggest advantage of going into audit.

The jobs are rarely routine. Being tossed about violently from one new insane challenge to another is something look forward to in this line of work. :)
CPA_Candidate said…
Hi krupo. I agree that audit is some thing to look forward to. I've worked in corporations before and I find the accounting rather boring.

I crave a challenge and when I'm challenged, I have a tendency to stay awake. :)
APB said…
CPA_Candidate,

I am in a similar boat. I am 32 and have already passed the CPA exam. The only difference is that I have been working in audit for the past three years in Latin America. I am a gringo who just wanted something different. I am licensed in Florida and am looking to return to Miami and get experience with a Big 4 firm. I am with an International firm now, but we are small (50 staff) so the experience I have accumulated is probably not up to par. I know I will probably have to start near the bottom again to work my way up. Hopefully my International experience, my CPA, and the fact that I speak spanish will help (probably not in Miami, everyone speaks Spanish in Miami lol!!)

Good luck with your transition and keep us posted!

APB
APB said…
BTW, as a follow-up to my comment above. I have also started a blog and would appreciate any feedback.

http://expat-cpa.blogspot.com

Thanks!
Diane Siriani said…
Very interesting to think about that!

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