Big 4 Audit - Big City vs. Small City

Hey Everyone,

Recently went to several summer leadership programs and looking to decide where to start my career. First off, I want to specialize in financial services (have worked in consumer banking and interning in Asset Management)

- What are the differences between starting in a big city vs. a small city?
- What are experiences gained and exit opps differences?
- Currently live in Midwest, looking to start to in SF/NYC/Chicago. - Would I actually be able to enjoy the city working the insane amount of hours?
- Understand that travel may vary depending on client, but typically is there a difference in travel between large city vs. small city?
- If working in audit, how does car situation work? Have a car but looking to sell if I go to a large city (absolutely hate finding parking.)

Any other advice greatly appreciated.


Comments (5)

Art.Vandelay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In for answers, having to make a similar decision soon

Angus Macgyver, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Audit hours aren't too bad, outside of peak season. When you're in the middle of a full audit you're gonna be working banking hours, but during your lull periods you'll be leaving before dinner. Certainly enough time to enjoy the city.

Not sure about travel situation in big vs small cities, but I would imagine that auditors in big cities do a little less travelling on account of auditing more stuff that's actually within the city...?

Best Response
CMBCPA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm currently in Big 4 audit. Hours are very dependent on the client's assigned. January and February (assuming 12/31 fiscal year end) are generally 70-ish hour weeks, though I've seen 100+ a time or two. The remainder of the year, you'll work about 40-55 hours. Some weeks you'll luck out and have less than 30. The main thing that causes hours to spike is finding something the client messed up. The more organized the client, the better your hours will be. Travel is more a function of the office you're in. I'm in a small city, but the client I'm on is a Fortune 20 client. It's a large enough engagement that we work on them year-round, so I never travel for clients. I'll spend a week here and there going on site visits to their BUs and for training, but that's it. I have friends in larger cities that travel significantly more. I know during busy season we always pick up a few interns from Dallas for a couple of months. Throughout the year we also pull staff that are unassigned in larger offices to fill in for us for weeks/months at a time. Basically, larger offices are going to have more travel because they have a lot of people and not enough work for them. You'll be unassigned and sent to who knows where for who knows how long. As far as exit ops, I highly recommend staying until you make it to the manager level, everyone tends to bail as a senior (and you should for the right opportunity), but staying to manager opens a lot more doors. As a senior, most people leave for an internal audit or mid-level external reporting type of position. I've seen a lot of managers go into supervisory roles in the FP&A and Controller's groups at F500s.

  • 3
Ezreal, what's your opinion? Comment below:


Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it. In fact, I have officially made the switch from a small local market with a goal for the NYC due to partly your advice

What's the best way to get into the NYC? should I go through my local recruiter first? I was able to place into several summer leadership programs in a very small market which I deem to be competitive given the large number of accounting programs in the state in comparison to position. Would it be easier or harder to place into NYC if I am not from the area?

Any other tips would be great and thanks again so much for your time!!

Asatar, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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