Big 4 - Audit - Industry Selection

I am a new graduate who majored in economics & accounting and starting my big4 audit role in 2022 (Toronto, Canada). I was hoping someone could provide an explanation of the various audit industries available at Big 4 Audit and their respective exit opportunities.

As with many accounting majors, I too would like to eventually move out of audit into advisory or valuation and from there into front office roles in IB and from there hopefully into PE (At the moment, I am interested in either Software or Infrastructure PE)

Knowing my interests is it logical to request financial institutions as my preference for the industry to audit or does it not matter? Also how long should I stay in audit knowing the longer I am in the field, the more likely my exit opps become fortune 500 financial reporting roles?

Lastly, I understand there are many highly educated individuals on this site, and so I apologize if I sound stupid in the extreme leaps I am making from Audit - -> Advisory --> IB --> PE


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Comments (9)

Most Helpful
Oct 23, 2021 - 9:13am

The move from audit to IB is certainly doable. I started out my career in financial institutions audit at a big 4 in Toronto. I moved into my firm's valuation practice after about 2.5 years of audit experience. I subsequently lateraled to IB at one of the big 5 Canadian banks in Toronto with less than a year of experience in valuations.

To answer your question regarding industry selection, I really don't think it matters at all. I would try to pick an industry you're actually most interested in. It would be logical to try and lateral to the corresponding industry coverage group at a bank (TMT audit > TMT coverage group).

The big 4 brand carries quite a significant value in Toronto. I got looks and interviews at every bank, but be prepared to do lots of networking. I would recommend to reach out to people who have made a similar career transition.

IB - Coverage
  • 3
Oct 23, 2021 - 4:25pm

I see, that's good to know! Just curious why you stayed in audit for 2.5 years if you wanted to switch to an advisory role? Thanks for tip, I've read from Reddit posts as well that the industry you audit typically is easiest to switch into for advisory. Do you think I should think about getting my CFA as well considering IB, PE, Hedges would all seem to value CFA very highly when making the transition from Audit (and by this time hopefully I'd have 1-2yrs of audit experience, 1yr of advisory and a CPA) 

Oct 23, 2021 - 4:33pm

I wasn't entirely sure that I wanted to get into banking until after about 1 year in into my audit career. Therefore, after finishing my second busy season I started the internal lateral process. Given I was too bucket, it was pretty easy to get interviews with several different deal advisory groups at my firm. However it took about 5 months to actually get the internal transfer approved. There is a lot of internal politics and audit was putting up a strong fight to keep my for another busy season…Therefore, I would honestly just recommend transferring to deal advisory at another big 4 once you are ready to make the switch. There will be no internal politics bull shit and you'll get paid more. Keep in mind that many people try to switch from audit to deal advisory teams do make sure you achieve high ratings during your time in audit, otherwise you will be significantly lowering your odds

In regards to the CFA, I think it's a waste of time. CFA isn't very relevant to traditional investment banking. Also, the CPA is much more highly regarded in Canada vs US. However, it obviously wouldnt hurt to get a level 1/2 CFA

IB - Coverage
  • 3
Oct 25, 2021 - 2:13am

ohh i see, i didn't realize its easier to switch service lines by moving firms than switching internally. sorry but I'm new to wall st. oasis and you're the first persons to respond so i hope the amount of questions is okay!

As Deloitte is viewed as the 2nd most prestigious, is it because their consulting arm is much stronger than KPMG's consulting arm?

In terms of KPMG audit vs Deloitte Audit, is there a difference from the perspective of all the firms? Or does the Deloitte name just carry because of their consulting arm so regardless Deloitte will be better?
What is the perspective of the big 5 bank's IB division for the big 4? Do they rank a person based on 1. pwc 2. deloitte 3. kpmg 4. ey assuming these are all consulting roles as it's more likely to move from consulting to IB?  

In terms of the big 5 banks, can you rank each of their industry coverage they're known for ? For example, is RBC Capital market known for its strong FIG coverage group? (Healthcare, Technology, Media, Telecom (TMT), Financial Institutions Group (FIG), Natural Resources, Consumer & Retail (C&R), Industrials, Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging, and Financial Sponsors) 

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Oct 25, 2021 - 2:29pm

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