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post big 4 life

Back w/ a new post, sorry for the delay, work's been crazy busy lately. Thanks for all the comments.
I've reached a point where I've flushed out everything I wanted to vent about, which is why I started this blog in the first place. So the only reason I'd post anything at this point is to answer good questions from the readers. There are quite a few questions that I flagged, and I'll get to them whenever I find time.

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?

I cannot tell you how happy every big 4 alum is to not work in public accounting anymore. I'm talking CFOs all the way down to senior accountants. Recent alums have the biggest smile on their faces, smiles I had rarely seen before. Then they start talking about how much they love their job. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure half the people lie. Hell, I'd lie too if i quit a big 4 job and hated my new accounting job. There are things people miss though - the flexibility, working with people your age, getting to boss people around while in your mid 20s, the lack of monotony, etc. This one person came back to the big 4 because he couldn't deal with the lack of motivation of people in his group. You get so used to people working their tail off that it's tough to transition to a job where people in your team work to live, and just stare at the clock until it hits 5 so they can bolt. One girl I know hates the cubicle culture, which is the staple in corporate accounting departments. Then again, they actually have whole weekends off in the winter, which is a rarity in the audit world. So they love it.

At the end of the day, there's things in public accounting you'll always miss, but there's things that you'll never miss, and you start to weigh this as you progress within the Firms. The funny thing that happens though, is that you start over-valuing your own public accounting experience, even if it's 1-2 years, and think you know more than the auditors. Alas, instead of saying "Dude, you spent 2 years in public accounting, a) accounting rules have changed quite a lot since you left, and b) all you did was tick and tie and test certain accounts. You didn't even manage an engagement and now you think you know why auditors do what they do?", all we can do is bite our lips and nod. Client service.


Anonymous said…
I left big4 as an investigator and join MNC...

But, while work life is balance now... there is sth missing...

Should I join back the crazy auditor life?

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Loaded question. In terms of career potential, they're both pretty potent. Audit leads you to controller/accounting manager/ VP - accounting positions at companies if you choose to quit. Tax can lead to tax manager positions at various companies/ help them minimize taxes and exploit tax loopholes. It's a pretty important position in many companies...I'm not an expert on tax careers though, so you might want to ask somebody in a tax related position.
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Good question. A boomerang, as the commenter pointed, is one who quits a big 4 Firm and then decides to return (or boomerang) back to the Firm after getting a taste of work life in the non-public accounting world.
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I was wondering if you could break down the career opportunities in auditing and consulting (in a big 4). I know that consulting pays more in a big 4 and has more interesting work, but it seems that auditing has extremely good exit opportunities (Financial controller, CFO etc). Any thoughts on which is better in the long run?

Well there's different consulting services offered by public accounting companies - the most popular being IT consulting and risk consulting. There are also other consulting services offered, but these two hire the most. Do they pay more? Yes, but not by much. Not enough for you to say: Shoot, the $$ is a huge reason for me to move over. Is the work more interesting than audit? Yes. You're actually looking over a company's processes and telling them what to do instead of what not to do (audit). Everyone I know who's made the switch likes it waay better than audit.
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