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public to private

Been a couple months,sorry for the delay.On to the questions...

I currently work for the a department of the US Government doing some auditing and analyzing of government-sponsored and government-assisted programs. I will be completing my master's degree in accounting next spring and have begun all of the big 4 interviews this fall. My question is, how common or "normal" is it for people to move from the public secotr to the private sector, or vice versa? I have been told that it would be a good idea to stick with the federal job for a few years and then attempt to move to a big firm, but not to stay for too long because I wouldn't want to get "stuck" working for the government due to its percieved laziness. And on the other hand, I have been told that it would make no sense to work in the private sector and then return to the government stuff later...Anyways, I am currently more in favor of taking an associate audit position at the big 4 if I was to be offered though I am still having feelings of uncertainty.

Most people from auditing firms go to the private sector once they've been through the painful training ground that is public accounting. I'd go as far as saying 80% of alumni head to the private sector after. KPMG has a chokehold on the US government and related agencies, so it'll be a great place to join if you see yourself joining the government later on. It's very rare that people come in from private to public, and if you do, you have  to  start at the bottom unfortunately. So I'd definitely recommend doing a 3-4 year stint in the big 4 if you're in your 20s.


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career progression

"What can you tell me about the different possible tracks a person would take at the Big 4 in regards to tax vs. audit? Is there a difference in career progression among the two specialties? How about career potential? Workload?"

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.
In terms of career progression, it's the same as audit...start off as a staff associate...move to senior..manager..snr mgr..partner.
In terms of workload, my friends in the tax department seem to work two busy the fall and in the spring. So I think they work more than i…


As a big four employee, lately, I've been hearing a lot about "boomerang" employees. Those who, for some reason or another, decide that leaving work when the sun is still out is not for them and alas, return back to the firm. Yes, the grass is not always greener on the other side, however, is this trending upward or about the same as it always has been? I think, also, that the firms really do a good job in highlighting those that do choose to return to make it appear more common than reality. Can you please speak about how you've seen the trend of "boomerangs" amongst the big 4? 

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.
I have seen a few return this past summer, but didn't really notice a trend until you mentioned it. It's definitely been higher than past years, but not enough to s…

auditing vs consulting

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.
In the long run though, choosing audit vs consulting really depends on what you want t…