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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 to find a job in financial services. By essentially placing your bets in one industry, you're limiting yourself. It also depends on the city you're in. It's way easier finding jobs in financial services in the 3-4 financial hubs of the country than anywhere else. For example, if you're in Milwaukee, odds are your options for hedge funds and mutual funds in Milwaukee aren't exactly overflowing. In terms of mobility within the firm, it is way easier switching to financial services from other groups since the learning curve is much quicker, i.e. it is much harder to jump into auditing revenue recognition for a software company as a senior associate than jumping on a mutual fund cycle.
Regardless, auditing financial services is relatively easier (less accounting issues) and not as time-consuming as auditing other industries, unless you're in New York. Clients also pay you more since they're raking in more $$, and our fees are higher. This means more team events and less budget issues, relatively speaking.
I might be generalizing too much though. I understand that it is a hard decision. But just think about the type of industries you want to understand better, and take it from there.


Hmmm said…
Hey there, thanks for the seriously cool blog :-) I've always wondered why there aren't more like yours (that tell the truth about the daily grind). Anyways, I was wondering about work hours. If I refuse to play the overtime game and eat hours while working until midnight, will I be facing an early dismissal? That is, if I go home at 6pm EVERY night regardless of busy season, will that be grounds for getting myself fired? I just feel that the firms are seriously overworking people and I want to stand up to them and not give in to their silly mind games.
Anonymous said…
Hey, from experience there is generally one person in most firms who will do that sort of thing, ie leave earlier than anybody else regardless of the workload. I agree in general that they are right to leave, you aren't gettin paid past 5 but that frequently only marks the halfway point in the day.

However, you are only shafting your co-workers. Managers will not accept picking up a file that is half finished and so the rest of your team will have to pick up the slack and will then resent you for leaving. You will most likely alienate yourself from your yeargroup. This would be a huge loss as the people in your year are by far the vest part of the job Additionally you will get a poor rating which will substantially affect you pay in your 3year. That's the situation in the UK anyway. I'd imagine the US is similar.

Basically, you can leave at 6 as a protest but it may actually make your job harder.
Anonymous said…
Hmmmm....if you left at 6 everyday, you would first be told it isn't an option and then if you continued it, you'd get fired. Working past 6 isn't optional. That is from my experience in the Big 4 in LA.
Anonymous said…
Many thanks for your your time and advice in answering my question! I've learned a lot through your blog and thoughts!
Anonymous said…
"Regardless, auditing financial services is relatively easier (less accounting issues)"

-Sorry but what exactly does this mean? Are you saying an audit of a major financial insitution has less accounting issues, than say a manufacturing company? I have been on both audits, and if anything, the amount of accounting issues is equal. Just wanted to tell you about my experience, since i do not think its entirely true that financial insitution audits have less accounting issues than others.

Nice blog by the way, and keep up the good work.
Anonymous said…
I will be working full-time as a staff auditor in the Fall for a mid-size firm in New York. I've interned at another mid-size firm, and I've seen all the auditors staying pretty late. But exactly what is late? (As an intern, I got to leave by 5-6pm). How late do they expect you to stay? Do you leave when the managers/partners leave?

Also, are there penalties if you fall behind? Let's say you're just honestly confused about something, and are messing up. But you tried to figure it out at least. How does this affect your reviews job keeping abilities?

- Worried Soon To be Auditor
notfordisplay said…
For the question on potentially leaving at 6, that's not an option during busy season. Firms expect you to work a certain number of hours, i.e. more than a regular 40 hour week and will schedule you that way. The other commenters are right in that it will affect your team significantly, more than the firm itself since deadlines will not be pushed. If it's not during busy season, you can work with your team to leave at 6 as long as you finish your work. But even that's on a case by case basis. If you cannot acquiesce to the hours expectations, it won't be worth joining the accounting firms, since you won't win the fight.
notfordisplay said…
To the comment on my statement that auditing financial services is relatively easier, I was trying my best not to generalize. Of course, auditing a Goldman is way tougher than auditing a TV manufacturer. But asset management and mutual funds are relatively easier. So apologies if I was being too broad.
Anonymous said…
Hey Notfordisplay

thanks for clearing the financial services thing up. I was the one who made the comment.

great blog
Richie said…
Indianapolis accountants are hired by our company to do the audits, and I haven't thought about if they're having a hard time on that. I think it just depends on the preference of the companies.

Good luck, though.
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mil said…
Hi I'm currently an intern at PwC in the financial
Services industry group thinking of transferring to PCS when I start fulltime.Because of family matters may move to new york after 3-4 years. Im in the SF office so the clientelle here are pretty diverse in the PCS group. I was wondering if the same opportunities would be present in PCS in New York. Any thoughts?
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