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Transition to banking

How easy/difficult is it to go from working in Audit at a big 4 firm to working for a P/E firm or to get into trading. Is this even possible? Would the easiest way to accomplish this be going into a fund accounting position and eventually leading into a different role?

Don't know much about the p/e field or trading, but I can go off of what I hear from my co-workers. It's very difficult to get into a P/E firm unless you went to a top 10/ivy league school or you have ibanking experience. Trading is much easier. Anyone can get into trading, as long as you know the right people. Ibanking is harder, not as hard as getting into P/E firms, but you can get into ibanking through public accounting, as long as you work towards other certifications (CFA,etc.) The key to get into ibanking is contacts, plain and simple. Fund accounting wouldn't really get you there unless you really differentiate yourself and make everyone aware that you're a superstar who needs to be put into their revenue center. So bottomline, it's hard. Once you get into public accounting and stay for a few years, you're pigeonholed in the accounting world.


Anonymous said…
Do you think that working in transaction services makes the transition any easier?
notfordisplay said…
Absolutely. But transaction services would need you to get some audit experience first. If you have to go down the accounting route, i'd recommend doing 3 years in audit, and then transferring into transaction services. While in transaction services, try and get on projects involving private equity clients.
Anonymous said…
That's what I have heard. I started working at PwC this past August in Audit, but I really want to transition into transaction services. I'm just not sure the best way to go about it.
notfordisplay said…
It is extremely cyclical. PWC (depending on the region you're working in) is being the most aggressive of the big 4 when it comes to recruiting for the transaction group. You can't control the economy, but what you can control is doing the following - a) Making sure your reviews are top-notch. This is your resume of sorts when interviewing with that group b) Finish your CPA asap. You will not get in without getting your certification c) Shooting an email to transaction's HR now to make them aware of your interest. Send them your annual reviews every year.Then when the time is right, maybe as early as fall 2013, go all out to get into the group.
All depends on the economy though.
d) Try and steer clear of financial service clients and get on commercial clients - manufacturing, software,etc.These are the primary types of companies that private equity firms buy, so auditing them wouldn't eliminate you from contention, as opposed to people auditing hedge funds,etc.
Anonymous said…
what should i do if i want to make the transition into asset management(ie mutual fund)
should i audit financial industries or regular
Anonymous said…
I am a senior auditor with 4 year of experience who has been trying to leave the accounting realm for a while now working with recruiters. Unless you know someone, it is almost impossible to go to another field. The only offers, of which there are many, are corporate accounting, internal audit, or financial reporting. Everyone else says go into internal audit for 2 years with the goal of transitioning to another department within the company but having done a stint of internal audit, I cannot imagine doing two years of it just for the off chance that I can transition into an FP&A role.
notfordisplay said…
You'd want to audit financial service clients if you want to end up being the controller of a mutual fund. If you want to get into asset management, but where you get to pick the assets, pick non-financial clients.
Anonymous said…
how would you suggest me making the switch to asset management from big 4( not controller, actually picking assets? I was thinking getting an MBA after becoming a manager.
notfordisplay said…
There are three ways for you to become a portfolio manager -
a) Rich contacts who will fund you a few million so you can form your own company and begin investing
b) Key contacts in the portfolio mgmt business who will give you a shot as an analyst researching stocks, and proving your worth.
c) Can happen, if you put your mind to it. Apply for equity research jobs, as an industry analyst. I do know a few who got in from public accounting. Work your way up the ladder while studying for the CFA. Get the CFA. And then, if things go really well, they might give you a chance to become a portfolio mgr. Hope this helps.
From a public accounting standpoint, ask to audit industries you'll be interested in researching as a research analyst, so you can build your resume prior to applying for a job in this field.
Anonymous said…
Don't let anybody fool you - I work at in investment bank and stumbled upon this thread...let me share my insight with you as it has been covered many times in my office.

I work for a Bulge Bracket IB (Think JPM, GS, MS) in their ER department. There is virtually 0 chance that as a CPA you are going to make the transition to trading. Trading is recruited almost solely from undergrad at TARGET schools. Most big desks don't even take MBAs anymore. Trading, as many of you know, is becoming very automated and classes are getting smaller every year. I suppose you could find a prop trading firm to work for where you'd be putting up your own capital to start...but who wants that?

The transition into IB is more feasible, yet still very rare. I agree, they should recruit more out of Big4 because the accounting skills are very necessary. However, the stigma of being a "bean-counter" is difficult to break, and banks don't like taking CPAs for entry level analyst spots. Transaction Services gives you a little more of an opportunity, but in TAS you are doing no modeling whatsoever and the skillset is much different from that of an I-Banker.

Stick to accounting, if you want to go into "finance," try Fortune 500.
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