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External hires

have heard a few rumors that I was hoping you could clarify for me.
1) Big 4 firms do not hire on outside senior associates because they only recruit from their pool of staff associates.
2) Staff associates are only hired on straight of out college. So if you cant get an intern/job with a big 4 while you are in school, its too late to apply.
I am soon to have my CPA and CFE and also have 2+ years of audit experience with a small CPA firm. I have not applied to the Big 4 because of these rumors I've heard.

1) Big 4 firms definitely do hire people with prior experience in audit firms. But they obviously have not since the recession because they've laid off so many personnel internally. It really depends on the essence of economics, supply and demand. If the firms need more seniors because the turnover has been high, they will accept external applications. So it's definitely not too late to apply, especially around this time because the turnover rate is slowly going back to normal. Don't get me wrong, it's still tough, since the firms will fill up their slots internally first, and they still hire a good amount of people right out of college, so if these kids stay for 2-3 years (depending on the firm), they will get promoted to senior.
2) I've seen a few older people begin as a staff. They've worked in different industries, or started off in private, and are okay with starting at the bottom of the barrel again. It's hard if you're 25-30 and join as a staff associate, because you have 23 year olds telling you what to do, and you've already had experience in the workforce. So to your question, it's never too late to apply, it's just a question of whether you want to put yourself through the hellish staff associate years.


DanielNg said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanielNg said…
Hi there,wish u could give a piece of advice.I'm an ACCA student taking my final 2 papers (advance audit & finance) graduating in 3 months time, I'm also doing my degree project from OBU(Oxford Brookes University), results for both ACCA and OBU will be out only in march 2011. I've 7 months part-time audit experience in a small size audit firm. My question is i wish to start sending resume now and start working in january 2011, do the Big 4 hire people like me who haven't got the certs yet? Is it possible to avoid for internship since it pays so little?
FYI i passed the ACCA papers all in first attempt so i assume it'll be the same this round..
Thanks in advance!and thanks so much for this blog!
Sharon said…
Hi there. I have spent a few years in corporate and graduated from college 5 years ago. I have passed the FAR section of the CPA exam so far. My question is, what are the chances of me at 30 years old, getting into public accounting? I don't expect to get into the Big4 unless I was a recent graduate but will the public firms still look at my GPA? I suffered chronic illness and worked my way through college so my GPA is horrendous. What do you think?
josephine2137 said…
I'm currently working for PwC and we are constantly getting emails about them raising the "finders" bonus for outside hiring. I don't know about the other big 4 but ever since the recession and the fact that they cut down hiring and people are leaving, we are now desperate for people! I would recommend applying ASAP. I'm in the Pittsburgh office but I know that from talking with our PwC people all offices are looking to hire external or from anywhere for that matter.
Anonymous said…
What is your average length of overnight travel for audit? Also how is this compared to consulting? What would you say is the percentage of time you are at 'out of town' clients?
Anonymous said…
My big 4 firm has recently launched a referral program whereby staff can earn 1k if they referred people to join as seniors and above.. Hence I believe whether or not u can get a job in a big 4 firm really depends on the turnover rate that year and if staff are needed at that time..
notfordisplay said…
Not sure how the firms are in London, but in the US, people usually get their certification two years after beginning to work. So you don't have to worry bout that.

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