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Understaffed and overwhelmed

Still in the questions from September,backed up...

Was hoping you could help me out. Due to the staffing issues that I've heard are plaguing all of the Big 4 many teams are severely understaffed. What advice would you give to a first year who's starting on a team where there are no Seniors and has to work directly with the manager. 

The Big 4 are just getting destroyed by staffing issues, it is really bad. I understand that the fat had to be trimmed in  2008, and I have no issues with that move. But they really need to do a better strategizing hiring. Given the amount of inactivity in the markets from 2008-early 2010, many knew the M&A,IPO activity was bound to shoot up. So they should have anticipated this and hired more. Now the Firms are trying their best to poach from other Firms, and offering all sorts of incentives and bonuses to jump ship, which was previously a no-no. Looks like all bets are off at this point. People who are sitting pretty at this point are the seniors and managers in the non big 4 Firms who want to jump to a Big 4 Firm. I've heard some absolute horror stories on staffing this year, with a lot of people taking  on a lot of roles.
On to the actual question above, that's a tough situation.  The manager will expect that you know more that you actually do, and since he or she is a little removed from teaching you the nuances of auditing (which is what a senior should do), you'll struggle a little to meet  his or her expectations. I would do the following - a) Keep reminding the manager subtly that you're only a staff associate b) reach out to seniors on other teams, explain your situation, and call/email them whenever you encounter situations where you're not sure what the next step is, or if you  want validation of your thoughts. c) If you have experienced staff associates on your team, treat them as if they were your senior. There's not much else you can do, but these three points will help you immensely while on this team.


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