Skip to main content

book-keeping to audit

I have been working as a bookkeeper for 4.5 years in both public and private accounting. I'm young, ambitious and confident in my accounting (not just bookkeeping) knowledge. I have recently completed the CPA exam. I graduated 2.5 years ago.I would like to become an auditor, especially for a Big Four. I have had difficulty finding an entry level auditor/staff accountant job. I am living in the Bay Area, CA. What would be your advise for finding an auditor job? Should I go back to school for Masters just so that I can get an internship? How difficult is it to get audit experience when somebody is no longer in school?

You'd want to seriously reconsider trying to jump into audit in your mid to late 20s. The audit culture, especially at the staff associate level, is usually not conducive to people at that age. Not trying to age discriminate here, but do you really want to be taking orders from 24-25 year olds? The relaxed environment that you worked at in the past will be nothing like the audit hours and lack of flexibility at that level, especially during busy season. This is probably why many recruiters are unfortunately not following up with you.

My advice, if you really want to be an auditor, is to apply to small regional firms. If you already have your CPA, there is no point getting a masters, save that $$$. If that doesn't work, befriend somebody who works for an audit firm, and get them to send your resume to the recruiters. This could help.


Anonymous said…
I think when I have kids I am going to scare them by telling them about busy season, one of the most feared things in this world... :-)

Thanks for keep posting Notfordisplay, you are really kind taking time to answer to reader´s questions.

Regards from Spain.

Anonymous said…
Hello Notfordisplay,

I really appreciate the time that you took to answer my question. Thanks a bunch!

Anonymous said…
I'm entering my junior year of undergrad (acc major) and about to experience my first recruitment season. I'm not extremely optimistic about scoring a public accounting internship for next winter or summer ( at least with the big4), since I've no previous accounting work experience and am just beginning upper level ACC courses, but I figure its worth a shot and will at least give me a leg up next year... I was hoping you could give some advice as far as pre recruiting mixers, office visits, and interviews go. What do you think makes a student stand out/look good, and what are some mistakes to avoid, etc during the recruiting process?
Anonymous said…
Along with this, I am wondering how difficult it would be to obtain the required work experience for CPA licensing, while working at a Fortune 500 company? Obviously it is easier to get the work experience working for a firm but what if you work for a Fortune it all that more difficult?
Yx Chua said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yx Chua said…
You're doing something i've always wanted to do (but never end up doing) - writing the life of an auditor. Keep up the interesting blog posts!
Anonymous said…
Out of curiosity have you seen any companies make deals with well-off parents to hire their children. In an unusual twist to unpaid internships, firms could theoretically profit from parental support and provide internships/foot in door/paychecks . My college student is a mediocre accountant and capable, but unable to beat out other interview candidates on merit alone. Are companies or firms willing to earn a bit of revenue to pass over the top ten for a middle-of-the-road student, who in turn can leapfrog to a coveted opportunity, get a fast track start with a future obviously based on performance.
notfordisplay said…
Not sure about whether working at the Fortune 500 helps with getting the work experience, but I'm assuming so. Should be on the AICPA website.
Anonymous said…
"Out of curiosity have you seen any companies make deals with well-off parents to hire their children. In an unusual twist to unpaid internships, firms could theoretically profit from parental support and provide internships/foot in door/paychecks."

What?! Are you suggesting paretns are paying big 4 recruiters to hire their kids? Very very unlikely.

"My college student is a mediocre accountant and capable, but unable to beat out other interview candidates on merit alone."

A mediocre student is always going to have trouble, even if the economy was good.

I'm not sure what you were trying to say at the end of your post - but the point is jobs are competitive period.
So luck to come across your excellent blog. Your blog brings me a great deal of fun.. Good luck with the site.
Anonymous said…
I love reading ur blog. Great Job!!
I am satisfied with your blog. Your post is dear. Thanks for sharing your precious comprehension with me.
Cristina said…
I am undergrad senior for accounting. I am 27. I have been told many times that the best thing to do after college is to land a job in a big-4 company. I am not sure if I am willing to put in 60+ hours a week for this “dream job”. If I don’t want to take the “ideal” path, what other options I have?
Lynn Webb said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynn Webb said…
Thanks! Academics is overvalued sometimes. What is really needed is skill. That is something you don't take in stride, since that is what ensures that your finances are all in order. Irregardless of age.

Lynn @ OnCore Book Keeping
Tina Morris said…
Auditing is a much-sought after profession and a large number of business grads and finance students are picking up auditing as their work area. Today, a good auditing firm is the one which offers combination of services like tax management, bookkeeping and of course auditing. Firms like Fusion Partners excel in this.

Popular posts from this blog

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…

should you choose to audit financial services?

I'm trying to decide whether to audit financial services companies or non-financial services companies. What would you say are the pros and cons of either industries? Do individuals who choose non-FS have less career mobility within the firm or if they decide not to stay with the B4 after a few years?
Really depends on what you'd like to do after (unless you really love auditing). If you want to a controller,etc. at a p/e firm or a hedge fund down the road, you'd want to go into financial services. The pay won't be too bad, especially if you get a share of the insane bonuses they dole out. If you want to audit industries with tangible products and want to get a better understanding of the operations of such businesses, then other industries are the way to go.In terms of mobility outside the firm, auditing other industries is the way to go since you have plenty of options when you exit the audit world. For example, in 2008, after Lehman collapsed, it was incredibly hard …

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…