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transfers to other groups

"I wanted to know if it is possible to join a different business stream if you don't like audit after a year or so. For example are there opportunities to move into Consulting or Financial Advisory? Also how closely do you work with other business streams, and do you end up having good working knowledge of what exactly they do?"

Good questions.
Question 1 - If you don't like audit after a year or so, you'll just join many of the disgruntled associates who end up staying in audit for some more time. The way it's set up, you can only really transfer into other non-audit groups after 4-5 years in audit. As far as consulting goes, consider Deloitte, since the other 3 firms spun off their consulting groups after the whole Enron scandal. The other groups have an implicit understanding with their audit brethren so they don't steal employees within a year or two after they join. Put the time in and you have a better shot. There are exceptions, and they'll try to sell you on it, but this is the general reality.
Question 2 - We do have a working knowledge of what they do, and we only really work with groups that independently verify certain valuations made by the Company. Private companies, for example, value their common stock every year or two. Since these stock valuations affect stock compensation expense, we obtain their valuations and provide it to our valuations specialist to independently verify the assumptions and calculations. Other groups we usually use are real estate valuation specialists, derivatives specialists and intangibles specialists.


Anonymous said…
Any opportunities for auditors who pass all 3 levels of the CFA? I'm planning to have Level 1 done during school, and Lvl 2 done after graduation. I also have an internship with a big 4 next Spring, and was wondering if the CFA is any use there at all.
notfordisplay said…
I have a feeling you're going to hate audit if you've already focusing on the CFA, since you'll have a more finance-oriented mind. That being sad, the CFA officially will only have use in the valuations group of the big 4, not the audit group. It might help w/ due diligence, but doesn't set you apart. For the actual audit groups themselves, it will not help you officially. One thing's for sure, it will definitely give you a different perspective in the audit world, since you will understand certain areas much better than your superiors - derivatives, equity, etc.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the quick response. I was initially excited to get the internship, but I'm not so sure now. I'll probably try to audit the investment/financial services industry and see what happens. Too bad the finance market is crap compared to accounting right now.

Know of people moving out of Big 4 as a Financial Analyst with the CFA designation?
James Leo said…
First of all, I love your blog. I have read at least 1/2 of the postings as part of my research about tax vs. audit. I am currently in a MAC program and that decision deadline is looming. I'm currently leaning tax. However, I am concerned about the relative lack of exit opportunities in tax, whereas there seems to be more in audit.

With that said, what do you know about the Transaction Advisory Services group in a public accounting firm? It seems to me that may be a more direct path towards corporate finance, controller, CFO, etc. Thank you.
notfordisplay said…
"Know of people moving out of Big 4 as a Financial Analyst with the CFA designation?" - Very few from the audit group, more from the valuation groups i'm sure.

"With that said, what do you know about the Transaction Advisory Services group in a public accounting firm? It seems to me that may be a more direct path towards corporate finance, controller, CFO, etc." - Wouldn't say so. The better path for the positions you mentioned would be audit. Transaction advisory would push you towards companies' m&a and analyst groups.
Anonymous said…
Good to see you are back. Our firm is starting to see decent turnover, thought you made your move. -
Anonymous said…
The simple answer to the first question is that, at KPMG at least, you can transfer to other areas within the firm quite early in your career, but you have to be aggressive to get it. Patiently waiting will leave you stranded in audit land. Make some contacts, work them, get your sorry ass seconded, then if it works out ask for a transfer.

Second question; is CFA useful? Hell yeah. But not really at a Big 4 firm, except in Corporate Finance or Financial Management Advisory. It is pretty useful to allow you to quit and go work for a bank though...

If you want some more real life experiences from big 4 firms, there's a site here in the UK that has a bunch of reviews written by recent graduate hires Some pretty funny stories, and decent advice in places.
Mary Gooven said…
Very interesting article. I agree with all said in the article.

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