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industry experience

I am CPA - equivalent in rather small regional audit practice in a country in Middle Europe. Locally, big four companies are considered top experts in audit, excelling in larger companies audits. But they also do smaller and mid size companies. They do it charging much more in fees than mid tier companies not to mention smaller regional auditing firms like the one I work for. Once or twice our paths crossed. Me a CPA doing a statutory audit and audit teams of 2-3 people at their 20s doing an audit of a consolidation package of the same client. I sometimes audited the same client the next year after it was audited by a Big four. Well, the clients' comments apart (young clueless people stressed to do the job they don't understand), I was not really impressed. One client had to go through major fundamental error adjustments. I can't believe the partner or manager at Big 4 was unaware of the omission or maybe he didn't care to understand. It could be this type of reckless approach that led to big accounting scandals. Some companies cooked their books for years while they were being audited even though it was very easy to see how they did it. I think that there is too much time being spent on procedures, "planning" and creating volumes of files, doing stuff complicated beyond understanding and too little in trying to understand how a client is trying to fool you knowing the young blokes just don't get the sh#$$#. Don't you think young associates should first gain some industry experience before they join audit firms? 



That's an interesting idea, and I'm sure industry experience will help, but once you start in the industry, it is really hard to switch to public accounting. And to be honest, the model works best for young kids out of college who still have the energy to work long hours. And to be honest, as a staff accountant in the industry, you usually don't get to see enough to have that valuable knowledge to add to the audit practice. The same applies for banking and consulting - they need young and hungry, not old and experienced and content unfortunately.
Certainly an interesting idea though, maybe having certain controllers serve in an advisory role to the Firms while they develop their audit programs would help.


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