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How do we look for jobs?

I always wondered how people at the Big 4 leave. Do you just call up recruiters? Or do you reach out to your alumni buddies and/or clients? Good question. We average 1-2 recruiter voicemails/emails a week, some list out available jobs at unnamed public and private companies, and some just tell you to call them since they have opportunities they think you'll be interested in. Assuming they get these "leads" through the AICPA directory or the state CPA society directory. Then they bombard you with phone calls and voicemails, hoping that somebody will bite. Most people who seriously consider leaving will either call one of these recruiters back or hear from ex co-workers who left, and use their recruiters instead. References are huge in this world, so if an alum who left had a good experience with a recruiter, the word spreads, and you tend to gravitate towards that recruiter. I usually ignore these calls, but, not going to lie, I did end up calling a few back over the course of my career. They usually fish to see how much you're making and will try and promise you offers with salaries at least 10% above what you're making. As you go higher though, a few end up going to clients. Senior managers who realize they won't make partner are prime targets. Partners are the ones who usually spread the word amongst their clients who are looking, and end up connecting senior managers with these companies. A select few actually succeed by applying through Company websites, etc. Although companies always tell people to apply online, it doesn't seem to work that well.


Anonymous said…
Since we're on the subject of leaving the Big 4, can you talk about how people you know feel about going to industry to work in an accounting department, internal audit, regulatory, etc?

Are they generally happier and satisfied? Or do they miss the people from public accounting?
Kevin H said…
I'd imagine there would be a mix and depends on your situation. If you have kids and a family that would be different from being single. I've seen people come back to public accounting after a couple years.

Generally speaking, I think they are more happy with the hours.
Anonymous said…
How long do you stay at the big 4 before you start getting calls from recruitment agencies and is it an US thing? I'm currently working in the consulting department in a big 4 and I haven't seen anyone that receives calls from headhunters, at least that I know of.
Kevin H said…
A year in for assurance and you start getting spammed.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for starting this blog! It has been so informative.

I have a question....How much does your GPA affect your ability to land a job post Big4?

I have a liberal arts undergrad with a decent GPA (3.4) and was able to get into a top Masters of Accounting program. However, my Macc GPA is less than stellar (3.0-3.2ish). I was able to land a job at big 4 starting in the fall, but I'm concerned that I won't be able to break into a fortune 500 company after I leave. What are your thoughts? Is there a minimum GPA that these recruiters look for?
Anonymous said…
I think it would be interesting if you did a post concerning favoritism in an accounting firm and how to get past it.

As a staff at my mid-size public accounting firm, it's particularly annoying when another staff gets work the day he gets back into the office (lets say Wednesday), while I've been unassigned since Monday.

Anonymous said…
Can you please make a blog post about the turnover rates at Big4? I think it's one of those things that get a lot of attention but never discussed enough. Please talk about how bad it is, how many stay/leave, about those who stay/leave, worth it? etc, thanks!!
Anonymous said…
Could you talk about favoritism shown in a big 4 or other smaller sized accounting firm?
Anonymous said…
This is my first comment on here. Just wanted to say I've read your entire blog and appreciate the time you take. Lots of helpful info. Please keep them coming!
notfordisplay said…
To the last commenter, thanks.
Anonymous said…
I'm an IT auditor from South East Asia and would like to say thanks for the write-ups. The pictures you have painted about Big 4 generally applies to this region, based on my personal experience and encounters with financial auditors.

Just wondering if you can offer any further insights on the job prospects for the IT counterparts?
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Thanks again

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