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.