Big 4 audit v tiny no name corporate finance


Have an interview coming up for the corporate finance with a tiny accountancy firm (three partners).

Currently working in Big 4 audit.

Would I be mad to leave big 4 for this position? At least I would have some corp fin experience but I imagine the deals are small and nobody will have heard of the firm.

I also intend to work abroad someday (Im in a smaller european country) and think this could affect chances of getting a position.

Im going to go to the interview to see what the guy has to say but Im still not sure whether to accept if I was offered????

Any help?

Comments (12)

Feb 18, 2011 - 7:47am

Intersting position you're in.

The question first is how long have you been doing audit at the big 4 now. If you have a reasonable amount of time under your belt there, you can always go back to it if this doesnt work out, so risk is minimised.

Also, it could be an interesting opportunity, with the possibility for you to grow the practice and start bringing in some larger deals and yourself larger paychecks.

Those are possible reasons to do it anyway.

Big 4 Accounting Guide to Getting Hired Contains interview questions, exactly how to answer, resume guide, how to make an impact and a guide to the firms and service lines.
Feb 18, 2011 - 8:37am

i left big 4 audit after knowing it was a terrible fit for me and havent looked back since. If you've qualified then its not as big a thing. If you haven't then its more of a decision. (i left before qualifying). Do what you want to do and you will be better at it and have a better cv rather than doing what other people want you to do.

Feb 18, 2011 - 8:53am

On the other hand, if you are set on working overseas, as I am sure you know Big 4 firms offer employees the opportunity to do stints overseas. That might be your best bet, assuming you would qualify for their overseas program.

Mar 4, 2011 - 10:37am

Okay guys offer looking more likely and still pretty lost.

Ill stress this is Corporate Finance for an accountancy firm thats much smaller than the Big 4.

I will have two years experience with Big 4 and have passed all my exams (hopefully) when I start.

So my choice is either

A) Three years with big 4 audit->move abroad and try and get work in CF/something related

B) Two years with Big 4 audit->one year no name corporate finance->move abroad and try and get work in CF/something related

I will come out of both (hopefully) as a qualified accountant...any further opinions/input?

Really lost on this one.

Mar 4, 2011 - 12:16pm

1) Do you a) hate audit or b) really want to work in Finance? (or both)
2) If 1 is "b", which is more important to you, working in finance or working abroad?
3) What exactly does the "corp fin" at the small accounting firm entail? It can cover a lot of ground and accounting firms (especially the Big 4) are notorious for trying to make their groups sound sexy to candidates.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.
Mar 7, 2011 - 4:37am

Hi Kenny Powers (great username)

to answer your questions:

1) Absolutely despise audit...really hate it and I also really really want to work in finance
2)Well the country I am in has a very very limited CF market so working in finance and working abroad go hand in hand for me. Would say working abroad is more important to me.
3)It would mostly be advisory work..advising small companies on small deals with some basic financial modelling...not sexy but its something you can spin as relevant.

Mar 8, 2011 - 4:59pm

It depends a bit on which small European country you are referring to. If we're talking Switzerland or Luxemburg then you could potentially consider switching as financial centers automatically give you some extra credibility (yeah, I know, it's unfair). That's probably not the case though, since you mentioned the country has a limited CF market. If you're in CEE then I would strongly advice you to stay in Big 4. Nobody will care how you spin your experience, those places are known to be very random and unverifiable and a "small no-name firm" will not impress anyone. Again, unfair but you can't do anything about it. If it's Ireland (your username sounds a bit like an Irish surname :) ) I'm a bit in two minds about it but you should probably be ok. For anything else in continental Europe I would say stay at Big 4.

Mar 8, 2011 - 8:48pm

I agree with Enid-for CEE I'd stick with Big 4 because no-name will be REALLY no-name. Also, in the UK at least Big 4 and the CA designation are fairly respected unlike in the US.

There have been many great comebacks throughout history. Jesus was dead but then came back as an all-powerful God-Zombie.
Mar 24, 2011 - 11:08am

It is Ireland.

And I plan to move to the US in about two years time (other obligations mean it is not possible to move before then).

I'm leaning towards the small firm now because audit is actually driving me mental.

Thanks for advice so far....good input...anybody else have an opinion on it (I know its not the most exciting topic in the world, ha)?

Mar 24, 2011 - 12:54pm
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
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