Big4 Auditor to moving to corporate development/finance/strategy role in industry

Big4oolery's picture
Rank: Chimp | 2

I am currently at a Big 4 working in audit based in the UK. When in college I had an offer after an internship from a 2nd Tier IB in corporate finance. I enjoyed the work, disliked the highly unpredictable long hours and got good performance reviews. In the end I decided to get my ACA because long term I see myself in a senior finance role in industry and decided that the qualification is useful to have. Now that I am approaching the end of my training I am beginning to consider my options.

I am a strong performer with excellent academics (not quite Oxbridge but Edinburgh/St.Andrews/Warwick caliber) and good client experience but solely in audit (cannot move departments in my firm until fully qualified and out of training contract).

Ideally I would like a commercial business/finance analyst or corporate development position in industry (FTSE100/250 or similar) and then work my way up the ladder there. It would appear difficult to move straight to an analyst type role straight out of audit.

As I see it I have a few options to gain experience before jumping to the sort of role I want in industry:

1 - Move to TS (Due diligence) or CF at my firm/another Big 4 - The work seems a lot better than audit but is it useful experience to move to industry with? What are the typical exit options?

2 - Try get a role in IB corporate finance - I am aware moves from audit are uncommon in this economy and I am also not sure at what level I would be placed at (I imagine most definitely an analyst, potentially 2nd year).

3 - Get a FP&A role in industry and attempt to move from there - As I see it this runs the risk of getting stuck in FP&A for a long period of time, however had the advantage of being in industry with much better work hours than the other options

Has anyone else made a similar move from my background? What advice would you give to someone in my poistion looking to move into an industry role? What is the most useful experience to have to transition into corporate development or similar roles in industry?

I would also potentially be interested in doing a one year MBA in 2-4 years time, which option would provide the best experience for applications? Thanks for your help.

Comments (4)

Jan 13, 2013


Apr 10, 2013

Bump - I am in very much the same position as OP with similar background and credentials, except in the US. Leaving Big 4 Audit after 3.5 years...I currently have 3 offers:

1) Senior Accountant (strategy-based) at $500M firm with strong potential to lateral to FP&A
2) Transaction Services Analyst at Boutique M&A firm
3) Financial Analyst at large global firm - don't really want this one, not a great fit

Senior Accountant role offers a lot of exposure to strategy-based decisions. That said, still an accounting role. Lots of exposure to FP&A group. 40 hours/week, great work-life balance, but would never get me into a top MBA. That said, I could probably snag the FP&A role that I really want in the end.

TS group offers slightly lower initial pay as I would be coming in as an Associate. Potentially better exit opps in terms of corp dev/strategy, although it seems like I'd have to stick it out until Manager level to get something decent. Probably more interesting work too, albeit WAY more of it...

Either way- I'm concerned that if I take the SA role I'll always be thinking "what if" and dreaming about doing a top MBA. Clear difference between work/life balance between the two roles too...

Has anybody else been faced with this type of decision? Thanks!

Sep 24, 2013

Bump! These questions need to be answered.

Sep 26, 2013