Feeling down about post-Big 4 options

Art.Vandelay's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 730

I'm a Big 4 audit intern, just finishing up for the summer. Going into this, I was really pumped about my career prospects post-Big 4 (I know its kinda soon to be thinking of an exit strategy, but I'm playing the odds here). At my school, Big 4 audit is just about the best thing you can do, as we're a complete non-target for just about anything. My internship/FT offer was in a different part of the country (major metro). There are much more respectable target schools in this area for things like consulting, banking, etc. A lot of my fellow interns are either trying to switch to advisory (Man. consulting), or have no intention of taking the audit offers, and basically shit on anything accounting related (mindless grunt work, exiting to "bookkeeping"), comparing it people going into banking, consulting, corp fin with "better" work and more money.

I know a crack at IB at a BB is rare, but that's not something I want due to the hours. Consulting does intrigue me, but even that isn't necessary. I just want to be in a position with more of a forward looking role, that I can move up in a company in some sort of senior leadership capacity.

I don't hate accounting, and honestly believe your career satisfaction comes more from other factors than the actual work, but I don't want to feel like all I'm doing is looking back. I want to help the company move forward.

Honestly, starting/buying into a small tax & accounting practice sounds appealing too, but if I don't go entrepreneurial, I don't want to just be a controller in F500. I'd love to get to a point that I can work around 50 hours a week in a VP/Director type role (striking a balance between optimistic and realistic) in a non-strictly accounting role.

I guess my question is how doable is this path, and what is the best time to leave public accounting? The firm I'm at promotes to senior after 3 years rather than 2, if that means anything. Like I said, I have no problem putting in my time. I know I'm not owed anything and have to stay hungry and earn it, which I intend to do, but I want to make sure I'm doing the best thing I can for my career, both in terms of advancement and opportunity. I really have no desires for an MBA, due to lost income and the high cost of any program that's worth it. I do believe that I'm in control of my career and always have, but lately I'm feeling a little discouraged and just want to make sure I'm giving myself all the tools and knowledge I can to help with the next step.

Any thoughts, opinions, and tips are greatly appreciated!

When Can I Leave the Big Four and What Can I Do After the Big 4?

Regardless of what your classmates and fellow interns may say, there are a good number of options that you can pursue after working in the big 4 - you simply need to be aggressive and persistent. Our users shared their thoughts below.

CorpFinanceGuy - Corporate Finance Analyst:

Put in your 2 years and then find some tech entrepreneur and convince him that you can handle all of the financials. Equity + experience actually managing a real company's financials = valuable. Assume some roles other than just finance, which is typical in a small company, and then hope the company takes off. If that happens, your career trajectory is significantly better off than doing regular FPA or other auditing bullshit.

Misterbudget:

Wish I had done the big 4 internship first then jumped into this role as Big 4 + MBA will get you into more interviews than not. My advice: deal with auditing as it gives you credibility and always be looking out for better opportunities.

You can learn more about quitting the Big 4 in a video below.

Read More About Leaving the Big 4 on WSO

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Comments (96)

Aug 3, 2014

It sounds like your fellow interns are deluded. Stay open minded to getting that MBA, it may be expensive but in a few years if you remain unhappy about your current trajectory or work it is probably worth the cost.

Best Response
Aug 4, 2014

Yeah, keep your head up - and realize there is a skewed perspective of the world and careers among a lot of college students (esp. people on this website, and funnily enough especially people who've never done banking - the kind of people who will say GS or bust, I'd never work at a place like UBS kind of thing).

While I'm heading into IB (albeit in a major non-US country), most of my best friends from HS/college are going into big 4 or F500 corporate finance. If you don't mind the work (I have to admit that I, and most of my friends in audit, think audit is pretty boring) big 4 can be a great career. You work ok hours that get better over time, and can make a lot of money down the line (both in my country and the US - where I have spent a couple of years).

I am fortunate to know a bunch of senior bankers, portfolio managers at large funds etc., and it amazes me at how different they sound when compared to the college kids you see at school and on this website. I have had multiple people (older, very established in finance) urge me (vehemently!) to pick a smaller, growing bank over a larger (top-tier) BB for a number of reasons - a no brainer in the other direction on this website - that's just one example of many. Another is the fact that portfolio managers I know think it's ludicrous that banking is a beaten path to investing now - another point of blasphemy on this site, where banking is the path to the end of the rainbow (even though once in it, most people here complain about it).

I am forever shocked by the number of people on this site who knowingly belittle and complain about banking, yet at the same time do everything they can to get a job they anticipate hating - all to move to something like PE to make the big bucks - for some reason, most don't seem to realize that people in college now have largely missed the big bucks in PE (for most, not all). A career lasts a long time, and is rarely linear - just because you don't see it (often) on WSO, don't think you won't have (or can't create) relevant exit opportunities (or a great career staying right in the field where you start). To answer your question, stay in public accounting as little or as long as you feel is right - but if you know you want to move on, keep an eye out for options 1-2 years in onwards, and start planning even earlier. As said above, don't discount the MBA yet as the right MBA might do wonders for your career and will result in your earning more than enough to justify the cost (real and opportunity) down the line. Pick something you like and become as good at it as you can - that's the most important thing, and the best way to get to where you want to be.

Sorry for the rant, it just amazes me at how narrow minded a lot of (most?) college kids are.

TL;DR: you'll be fine, do what you want when you want.

    • 17
Aug 5, 2014

@notthehospitalER - kudos to one of the best posts I've read on this site, especially the last long paragraph.

Aug 5, 2014

Cheers bud, glad you liked it.

Aug 6, 2014

SB for you, cookie cutter approaches are for the birds. hustle and make your own path, those are the stories everyone wants to hear about.

Aug 4, 2014

In the same boat. Audit is, by definition, a rear-view mirror role. That being said, I knew that coming in, and I assume you did as well. I still think a solid foundation in accounting is a great skill to have, so don't get bogged down by what these other kids (with jack shit for actual experience) say. Ultimately, it is your career, and it is your responsibility to take it in the direction you want. Instead of worrying over what your fellow interns think/say, use that energy to reach out to individuals who've been where you want to go. I'm in the process of doing this myself, and people are often very willing to help and offer advice..... To those who ask for it. And as others have said, don't discount an MBA just yet, it could be beneficial to you. Best of luck.

Aug 4, 2014

Put in your 2 years and then find some tech entrepreneur and convince him that you can handle all of the financials. Equity + experience actually managing a real company's financials = valuable. Assume some roles other than just finance, which is typical in a small company, and then hope the company takes off. If that happens, your career trajectory is significantly better off than doing regular FPA or other auditing bullshit.

Aug 9, 2014
CorpFinanceGuy:

Put in your 2 years and then find some tech entrepreneur and convince him that you can handle all of the financials. Equity + experience actually managing a real company's financials = valuable. Assume some roles other than just finance, which is typical in a small company, and then hope the company takes off. If that happens, your career trajectory is significantly better off than doing regular FPA or other auditing bullshit.

Best piece of advice I've heard. I was in a similar position as the B school I attended herds all accounting majors into their Master of Accountancy program, which is really just a feeder into Big 4 auditing. I turned down an internship though as I was presented with the opportunity to form the accounting department with a tech startup. I've learned volumes, but wish I had done the big 4 internship first then jumped into this role as Big 4 + MBA will get you into more interviews than not. My advice: deal with auditing as it gives you credibility and always be looking out for better opportunities.

Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left from those who hustle.

Aug 4, 2014

I'm in a similar boat in that I'll be at a Big 4 but am looking to eventually get into FP&A-type of stuff. There seems to be a mix of opinions on this matter. If you look on the corporate corral page for the thread, "Big4Bound taking questions" or something along those lines, he says that FP&A is doable, but of course, most people on WSO pretty much think that you're stuck in bookkeeping/reconciliation work. What this tells me is that the answer is probably somewhere in the middle; it's not an "easy" switch per se, but it's not impossible either.

For whatever it's worth, most of the people I've spoken to IRL who are CPAs make it seem like the switch to finance-esque roles is doable. An example: someone I spoke to who is a partner at a Big 4 in advisory said that what some people do is take a financial analyst/accounting position at a smaller company. Smaller companies will demand more responsibility across multiple areas and as a result, you'll get exposure to other parts of the company as well. Once you get some experience doing that, it's not impossible to then move into a finance-oriented role at a larger company. So while you might not get the FP&A gig at a F500 company right away, I don't think it's necessarily that much of a reach to get in compared to banking/consulting. corporate finance is glorified accounting after all, so if you can demonstrate you can add value to that function, I bet people will give you a chance.

Aug 4, 2014

Is this a fucking joke? The way you make it sound is that Big 4 are for losers and suckers and that there is no future other than just doing data entry.

Wrong.

All I have to do is take one look around me. Virtually all the top guys at the company I am working at right now (low multi-billion company) have Big 4 experience. Manager of CorpDev, Big4. Director of CorpDev, regional public accounting. Chief Administrative Officer and Integration lead, Big 4 (got this at around 45 years old). CFO of a billion dollar business unit/Corporate VP treasurer, Big 4. Interim CFO and Chief Accounting Officer, Big 4. Our New CFO, Big 4. Director of FP&A, Big 4. Directors and Managers of Tax, Big 4. Virtually anything that is accounting and finance related, there is a Big 4 alum there, why are you getting all this shit in your head?

Auditing may not be as fast a track to riches as IB, but it sure is still a lucrative track.

    • 7
Aug 4, 2014
InvertedMooning:

Is this a fucking joke? The way you make it sound is that Big 4 are for losers and suckers and that there is no future other than just doing data entry.

Wrong.

All I have to do is take one look around me. Virtually all the top guys at the company I am working at right now (low multi-billion company) have Big 4 experience. Manager of CorpDev, Big4. Director of CorpDev, regional public accounting. Chief Administrative Officer and Integration lead, Big 4 (got this at around 45 years old). CFO of a billion dollar business unit/Corporate VP treasurer, Big 4. Interim CFO and Chief Accounting Officer, Big 4. Our New CFO, Big 4. Director of FP&A, Big 4. Directors and Managers of Tax, Big 4. Virtually anything that is accounting and finance related, there is a Big 4 alum there, why are you getting all this shit in your head?

Auditing may not be as fast a track to riches as IB, but it sure is still a lucrative track.

This.....

Aug 5, 2014

Honestly Big4 gets horrible rep on this site but its unjustified, mainly a bunch of college kids with no experience using bioscience and repeating what they heard elsewhere. Its true that the nature of the work in audit may not be as "interesting" as other jobs but most jobs are boring, people work because they have to.

First off Big4 is very highly regarded by F500s and many people there come from such a background (not just the internal audit folks). You also get a pay bump and come into a higher position at F500 than you normally would if you stayed at the firm.

I would aim to stay in this role for 2 years and then move into a finance role at a company in an industry that you like.

Bankers actually respect big4 as well believe it or not, I have seen instances first hand of people making the jump very early on in their big 4 career as bankers value the accounting technical knowledge you pick up. The funny thing I remember when I was in school is that everyone that wanted to do banking/finance always majored in finance over accounting whereas I picked up a lot of accounting classes and couldn't be more thankful as they have been the most important skill I use day to day in my finance career (corp banking).

In short: big 4 2 years --> f500 --> MBA (full or part time depending on goals). This will offer a lucrative and secure path but you have many more options than you think, just do good work, expand your network, and have a positive attitude.

Aug 5, 2014

I'm working at a consulting company, and trust me, the work is just as much 'grunt work' as Big 4 audit. Secondly, a career at a Big 4 in a major city will open up a lot of doors for you as you progress. I wouldn't be concerned if I were you.

Aug 5, 2014

Worked in big 4 audit NYC and currently in PE in an emerging market. Worked for a year in ER beforehand.

Audit does absolutely suck, but you need to get your head out of that mind set. It gets a bit better/interesting as you move up. There are vast opportunities in a big 4 which you will not appreciate until you leave. You will engage in activities with people from other units (consulting, advisory etc) through networking events, community days, or even some engagements. Also, you will get the opportunity to network with clients, which by the way, are companies you want to exit to. I know on a first name basis and acquaintances with, the son a popular multi billionaire hedge fund guy, whose fund we were once auditing.

A few people from my class are in finance or doing something in corporate unrelated to FPA/internal audit etc. Others, contrary to what people say on this site, are in top MBAs. The vast majority of these people, including I, knew from day 1, that audit was a stepping stone to better exits but kept a good attitude and ensured we utilised all resources of the firm. In two instances, I was placed on a consulting engagement (implementation) over the summer, working with consulting folks and on another, worked with advisory guys on 2 acquisitions over a 6 month period.

Keep a good attitude, network well and absolutely get out before 3 years!!!!

Aug 5, 2014
alreadyrich:

Others, contrary to what people say on this site, are in top MBAs.

OP, this is a solid point - I wouldn't say it's easy by any stretch, but getting into a top MBA program can actually be relatively easier to do from big 4 than from IB/PE - (I have heard) you are placed in a different admissions bucket, so you're not directly competing with the (pretty much dime a dozen in adcom eyes) bankers and buyside guys (or girls). Additionally, you're working fewer hours so you have more spare time to get involved in side projects, community service, and all that other stuff that adcoms love (and that makes day to day life more enjoyable).

640 with no prep is a solid attempt - with some concerted effort you could definitely get a top MBA program score.

Aug 5, 2014

Awesome replies from everyone! Thanks for the information and support. Will definitely keep the MBA options open. I got a 640 GMAT for my MSA program without so much as a practice test, so I think if I really worked at it I could do pretty decent.

But either way, feeling better about my career prospects. I kinda figured they were primarily spewing bullshit, but if you've ever been in a situation where you're in a one against many debate, you start to wonder if they're actually right.

Right on, WSO!

Aug 5, 2014

WSO is a helpful resource for sure, but it's definitely a double edged sword and you have to take a lot of what you see with a grain of salt - the same goes for what you hear when talking to people who espouse the same views like they're gospel.

Groupthink is dangerous.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2014

I am in the same boat as you in a lot of ways. I finished my internship this past winter/spring (Jan. - Mar.) in big4 audit and got a FT offer. I think we might even be at the same firm (senior after 3 years). I also go to a small non-target school where only Big4 recruits accounting.

As far as exit opportunities go, I worked with a few people who went in to nat. gas or crude scheduling at midstream companies. A lot of times scheduling can lead into trading in the energy industry. I also know some alumni from my school who went into FP&A at oil and gas companies after 3 years with the firm. I spoke with a few of them and they said jumping ship after 2 to 3 years allows you to go almost any direction with your career. They also said staying 5+ years has great exit opps however they are limited to more accounting specific roles. So it is not unreasonable to think you can make those transitions.

Personally I want to break into banking which is the reason I am on WSO. I hope this info helped a bit.

Aug 5, 2014

you'll be fine man, audit/accounting is actually a great background to have, seeing as accounting plays a big role in finance. My dad went the big 6 (big 4 before the PwC merger and arthur anderson collapse) route out of college, moved on to F500 finance role, then got his MBA. Now he is in a c-suite at age 46, which by is pretty successful in my book. Accounting is certainly not a bad route to go, and is looked upon very highly. Just keep your head up and keep doing what you're doing. Accounting opens a lot of doors.

Aug 5, 2014

Didn't you make a thread like this a week or two ago?

It's important to keep perspective. The average household income in the U.S. is under $50k, take a look at the cleaning lady in your office and ask her what she'd do to have an income of $50k.

Staying Big 4 for 2-3 years them hopping ship to a Financial Analyst role in FP&A isn't anything unusual, and in a lot of cases FP&A is more classified as Accounting than it is Finance. The work may be boring, but so is changing trash bags. Working Big 4 for 2-3 years and then jumping to a $75k salary at the age of 25 isn't anything to be afraid of.

Big 4 is a decent foundation for a good MBA program too.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2014
Anarchyz11:

Didn't you make a thread like this a week or two ago?

Nope, must be another Art Vandelay on WSO. But anyway, thanks for the input! You're right, my parents didn't make much more than my starting salary when I was growing up, and we had a pretty damn good life! Not luxurious, but I rarely found myself wanting for things. But I also know my parents sacrificed a lot for my sibling and I.

Aug 5, 2014
Art.Vandelay:
Anarchyz11:

Didn't you make a thread like this a week or two ago?

Nope, must be another Art Vandelay on WSO. But anyway, thanks for the input! You're right, my parents didn't make much more than my starting salary when I was growing up, and we had a pretty damn good life! Not luxurious, but I rarely found myself wanting for things. But I also know my parents sacrificed a lot for my sibling and I.

Nope, it's right here:
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/a-big-4-audi...

You seem really unsure about what you want to do. You've got a general idea, and some ideas, but nothing specific.

That being said, sticking to Big 4 Audit is probably your best course of action for any of the scenarios you've mentioned while you spend some time and experience figuring out where you want to go. You'll be able to take any of the paths you've mentioned after 2-3 years in audit (FP&A, Tax, MBA).

And yes, one can live very comfortably on $50k in 90% of the U.S. My father made good money, enough that I never had to need for anything in my life but I still didn't get much from any disposable income. I learned through my first internship, even that amount is enough for a single person to have a nice ass car, eat well, and live in a solid apartment/small house. (This isn't talking about New York/LA) And even then you'll be in the $70k's/$80k's really soon with this path, so really why your co-workers are complaining about poor pay when at 22 they make more than 65% of the working country is most likely just a result of how butthurt they are that they didn't make IBD, Consulting, or w/e.

Honestly I've seen multiple posts from you, and this is obviously the path you've wanted to take, so don't let 3-4 pricks who think they're too good ruin it. For every 10 asshats like that, 9 of them end up working as a part-time bookeeper or managing the local Applebees, and 1 actually gets a chance at consulting/IBD, and even IF they got into one of the BBs, they probably wash out anyway.

Aug 5, 2014

Big 4 is pretty freaking great start towards corp finance jobs, I'm not sure what your fellow interns are on...

Aug 5, 2014

Allow me to chip in. I have noticed there are a lot of people here who look down to big 4/audit, which is understandable as this is a forum dedicated to another field.

But, big 4 leads opens many doors. Firstly, you get a global accounting firm on your resume. People who know accounting know that a person coming from the big 4 has put in his/her hours and is capable of grinding it out. Secondly, you'll gain exposure a variety of clients across many industries. Thirdly, a CPA designation can open many doors. As you go through the exams, you learn a lot about accounting, tax, and audit regulations and financial statements. Should you decide to pursue a career in banking/finance later, a strong foundation in accounting is an asset. Fourthly, as you pursue your CPA designation, (at least in Canada), juniors can complete rotations in various areas as a part of the practical experience requirement, so you have the chance to see what area you may like.

If money and prestige is what you're after, perhaps re-evaluate your priorities. If you really like finance, start networking and build some contacts before applying to full time positions, or apply to advisory positions in the big 4.The big 4 is structured so that you'll be moving up every few years until you get near the top, where it gets harder to move up.

Put in your three years, get your CPA, then move to industry or MBA. In three years, having a CPA > no CPA.

    • 1
Aug 5, 2014

There is a great post by Big4bound. See http://big4bound.com/accounting-vs-finance-career/

If your aim is to get into FP&A it is definitely possible.

Myself a big 4 in Asia, I have seen FP&A roles as one of the most common roles my colleagues who left take on.

However, if you are gunning for something finance related. Its best not to stay too long in Big 4. I stayed abit too long and currently have problems getting a finance related role cause recruiters automatically brand you as an accountant.

All the best!

Aug 5, 2014

You should really consider doing a few years in audit and transfering to TS practice, this should be available internally and would support a future move to IB ; would be easier to do 2 years in audit, 2 years in TS and then MBA to reach IB but anything is possible.

Aug 5, 2014
antmavel:

You should really consider doing a few years in audit and transfering to TS practice, this should be available internally and would support a future move to IB ; would be easier to do 2 years in audit, 2 years in TS and then MBA to reach IB but anything is possible.

Honestly, I'm not really interested in IB. Maybe if I was able to get into it from college I would be, but after, say, 2 years audit, 2 years TS, and 2 years of an MBA, I'd be at the point in my life that I wouldn't want to work 80+ hours on a consistent basis. I'm very interested in success/money, but there's a cut off point for me as far as hours I'd want to work for a long time.

Aug 5, 2014
Art.Vandelay:
antmavel:

You should really consider doing a few years in audit and transfering to TS practice, this should be available internally and would support a future move to IB ; would be easier to do 2 years in audit, 2 years in TS and then MBA to reach IB but anything is possible.

Honestly, I'm not really interested in IB. Maybe if I was able to get into it from college I would be, but after, say, 2 years audit, 2 years TS, and 2 years of an MBA, I'd be at the point in my life that I wouldn't want to work 80+ hours on a consistent basis. I'm very interested in success/money, but there's a cut off point for me as far as hours I'd want to work for a long time.

Sure, I guess my point was just that after 2 years of audit you are likely to have internal opportunities to transfer which would help your exit options. I will be really honest with you : most of audit professionals want to transfer after a few years but the more you stay there the harder it becomes...FYI - I am a SM in TS practice so I see this everyday.

Aug 5, 2014

Don't let your peers change your mindset. For the first few years out of school, you're always going to have people at your current job talking down on it and saying how they want to transition to some greener pastures. Big 4 auditors talk about their desire to do IB or Consulting. IB people talk about wanting to do PE, etc.

Do what you want to do and don't listen to them, and see who is more successful by 30. Hint: it'll probably be you. Your mindset is unique at your age and you should embrace it, your future managers will love you for it. Reading your post makes me wish you were one of my analysts.

Aug 6, 2014
cvsdjs:

Your mindset is unique at your age and you should embrace it, your future managers will love you for it. Reading your post makes me wish you were one of my analysts.

This.

Aug 7, 2014
cvsdjs:

Your mindset is unique at your age and you should embrace it, your future managers will love you for it. Reading your post makes me wish you were one of my analysts.

Thanks man. That means a lot, despite being from a random person on the Internet lol.

Thanks a lot to everyone else too for the advice and encouragement. Awesome responses. I'll keep the MBA in mind. The thought of that kinda expense + lost income scares me. But it wouldn't be the first time I've changed my outlook or opinion on something.

Aug 7, 2014

Cross that bridge when you get to it. Kick some but for a few years before you look at B-schools, you may find you don't even need one.

Aug 5, 2014

I can tell you first hand that there are opportunities within Big 4 audit. My VERY close friend is currently transitioning into an advisory role and he has been working in audit for the same company for just about 3 years. Keep you head up, network and never stop looking for the opportunity you want. Take what's yours.

Aug 5, 2014

Havn't read through all the posts here but very doable for a FP&A role. Plenty of people move from Big 4 to Financial Analyst/Senior Analyst roles in F500. I would also recommend going into an internal audit program at F500 after your big 4. Its a pretty good path to move up

Aug 5, 2014

Do you mind explaining why you think Internal Audit is good for moving up? I'm not contesting what you're saying (I assume you know more than a kid about to start working FT), but I thought that people generally say to avoid jumping to IA/staff accounting positions because those are the most likely to pigeon-hole you, even early on in your career.

Aug 6, 2014
Lester Freamon:

Do you mind explaining why you think Internal Audit is good for moving up? I'm not contesting what you're saying (I assume you know more than a kid about to start working FT), but I thought that people generally say to avoid jumping to IA/staff accounting positions because those are the most likely to pigeon-hole you, even early on in your career.

Internal audit and accounting are very different. You will be exposed to a lot of senior management in IA which will give you opportunities for those fp&a jobs when they come up. You will be working with VPs and Directors who can hire you straight into their group if you do a good job. Internal transfers are very much relationship based and how strong your network is, thats what IA gives you. It also can be prestigious in some companies such as GE or other large Fortunes, ofcourse depends which company you are looking at. I would say almost all "finance" positions at these companies have atleast some sort of accounting (journal entries or reconciliations) involved in it so you'll never truly escape.

Aug 5, 2014

Prior comments are pretty accurate. I started in Big4 audit almost a year ago, and was extremely down on my situation (read: "HELP- pissed in big 4 audit"). The biggest thing is not to let the prestige whores get to you. For the short term, just focus on putting your time in, getting the CPA, and absolutely crushing it your first year. By the end of year 1 you should have a better idea of who you are and what you really want, and you can start networking within the firm.

These are the exit opportunities I think will be interesting to you, numbered based on the most common exit points I've heard of via networking (which I've done quite a bit of).

1) FP&A after a few years. This is VERY possible, but make sure you look into the job description and understand what your daily responsibilities are. Some FP&A is very finance-related (which are often given to bankers), some are straight accounting (AVOID AVOID AVOID), and some are hybrid roles... which could be a feasible option for you.

2) Internal transfer to another service line. The Big4 has a lot of "boomerangs", aka people who leave the firm and come back. The truth is, the Big4 is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be, ESPECIALLY on WSO. A fairly common path you can take is to work in audit for 2-3 years, then transfer to a different service line such as TAS or advisory. An important point though: definitely explore other options and interview elsewhere during this process, even if your #1 goal is to transfer internally. Your Big4 firm will tell you to "be patient," aka try to keep you in audit as long as possible. But if you have other offers or at least other interviews and you're a high performer they will have more of an incentive to give you what you want. Another great perk of this option: you can work overseas.

3) Transfer to IB. Contrary to popular belief, this happens. And the odds are probably greater than you think. Most people leave the Big4 because they're tired of getting shit on and they want a nice pay bump with better work/life balance. Why would they go to IB where they would get shit on even more? I understand your rationale as to why you don't want to do it, but I've seen people land the gig after 1 year... give it some thought.

If none of this works, at the absolute minimum you can just stay in audit, grind it out for 5-6 years, and attend a top 15-20 MBA program. Then you can go from there. Just DO NOT go to corporate accounting, which 99% of the time is a career-ender and not something you're interested in anyways.

Just crush your work, ignore the haters, and things will work out for you. Find some friends you can bullshit with, mentors you can look up to, and appreciate the spot you are in.

    • 2
Aug 8, 2014

[quote=breezy44]

If none of this works, at the absolute minimum you can just stay in audit, grind it out for 5-6 years, and attend a top 15-20 MBA program. Then you can go from there. Just DO NOT go to corporate accounting, which 99% of the time is a career-ender and not something you're interested in anyways.

[quote=breezy44]

I'd like to echo this and use myself as a cautionary tale...I was unceremoniously let go from my Big 4 after 3.5 years. I networked my rear end off and got a transaction services role within a couple of months. Ended up listening to a recruiter who told me that a "business unit finance" accounting role would be a better segue into FP&A (my end goal) and that transaction services would pigeon hole me. Work-life balance played a huge role for me (I am a pretty serious amateur athlete), but quite frankly it isn't even that good at month-end. I worked hard in HS to get into a decently highly-ranked university (top recruiting school for Big 4)...and the entire accounting/finance department at my company is filled with state schoolers.

Long story short: I'm now 27 and not a CPA. I need to get my CPA to get OUT of accounting and try for FP&A/financial analyst roles (how's THAT for a mind-f***?!). On top of this, I've pretty much ruined my branding for a potential top MBA - top 10-15 was a reasonable goal 5 years ago...now I'm looking at a second tier, maybe top 25 if I get lucky. No bueno...

TL;DR - pass your damn CPA in the first year and GTFO.

Aug 6, 2014

have lots of friends in B4 audit, range of transfers is pretty wide - starting from internal audit departments of large companies to CFOs depending on the exit point.

exit point among people I know is usually 4-5 years after they get their relevant certification

Aug 6, 2014

I am in the exact same boat as you. I just finished audit in a Canadian bank, now I have my CA and it's been difficult trying to transition into a FO job because a lot of people already have a typeset about you. I just say keep your head up and network and talk to as many people as I can.. we come from different backgrounds but it doesn't mean that will help us in the long run. Good luck!

Aug 9, 2014

So just to give you an idea of how things can work out from big 4 audit. First off, I worked at PwC same as OP. I managed to get promoted to senior in 2 years vs 3 year standard and than immediately transfered to transaction services. A little over a year and I landed a manager level (3 years exp at the time) revenue forecasting and modeling job in a finance decision support group (zero accounting, lots of analysis and valuation of strategic options and Revenue risk ect). Job is actually very strategic for a finance job, most of what my group does is help translate strategy and tactics into financial numbers. 1.5 years I that role and i recently interviewed for an internal role in the strategy group doing strategic analytics. Job is senior manager level and revolves around helping to quantify the companies strategies as well as help w other general team projects. I think movement into corp development side of strategy wpuld be veryvfeasible and I'm also considering going for T-5 MBA and possible entry into equity research or stray/mgmt consulting. Anyway, point being, I haven't really done an amazing job or anything. I'd attribute my moves more so to simple desire, networking, self education and luck, but I've seen several other w the same mindset follow similar paths. Most big 4 audit folks don't even have a conception of what else they can do, do they naturally never attempt to move out of accounting. Also, FP&A is still a finance accounting hybrid, and I believe if you try hard enough you can get something which avoids accounting entirely. Just my .02

Aug 9, 2014
GoodBread:

Cross that bridge when you get to it. Kick some but for a few years before you look at B-schools, you may find you don't even need one.

One of the personal issues I have with an MBA is that I always wanted to go the "business" career route because of the lack of long-term schooling/student debt. An MBA, though not really long term, at a top program will definitely rack up a large mountain of debt. I've been lucky enough that due to scholarships, grants, and working part time, I've avoided debt to this point, although I'll have some next year from my accounting master's (about 1/3 of the way done), which brings me to the point of being hesitant to do a SECOND graduate degree, even though an MAcc is really basically just a CPA-acquiring tool.

marine13910:

Most big 4 audit folks don't even have a conception of what else they can do, do they naturally never attempt to move out of accounting.

Honestly this is kinda was I was hoping/thinking was the case as far as reasons for most people taking traditional exit routes. That most people take the first senior accountant role that comes along without much of a second thought (not due to laziness, just because they don't necessarily want anything else). I didn't want to be so bold as to think I was in the minority as far as constantly thinking about career options after this and what to do to make it happen, but I guess its fair to say I probably am.

Also, to your point of industry groups, this is something I'm having a tough time deciding. Any advice on that? My office has FS (heard this is very prone to pigeon-holing), private companies (kinda seems like a bad idea just due to the fact that they're typically smaller companies), manufacturing/"typical" consumer companies, and regulated industries like utilities/energy, media, telecom, tech, pharma/healthcare, universities/non-profits. The first four of that final group interest me a lot, but the others don't at all. They also all seem unique, almost too unique. I'm wondering if the "typical" companies group is best.

Aug 10, 2014

I did an Msc. in Finance in Europe after a few years of working in the US. I'm realising there were programs that better fit my current goals that I could easily have gone to, or that I could have kept working and manoeuvred to where I want to be. At this point doing another degree is a no-no given my debt situation (which is pretty tame by US standards).

But I also learned to speak another language in a country with a lot of really hot girls. You win some you lose some.

Aug 9, 2014

op, i dont believe a word u said

Aug 9, 2014

Also, when I left TS the job I took is in industry, the one which most of my audit time was spent on. Be careful what industry group you choose in audit. This can be one of the most critical decisions you can make. Picking the wrong one will severely limit your opportunities to exit into the right industry job if that's the direction you select. Finally, the people in FP&A at my company almost all come from accounting of finance rotational programs which are also a lot of accounting at junior levels. And they regularly come direct from big 4. So in some cases that move can actually be easy, but of course it also speaks to the nature if the work they do which clearly has an accounting aspect.

Aug 10, 2014

this is a very good point. A very common misconception (which my naive college self believed when choosing industries) is that if you want to do something finance-related later in your career you should audit financial firms. I can tell you first-hand that this is not true. Sure there are training sessions and ways to learn about different types of securities, how PE/HF firms are structured, etc... but most of the actual auditing you're doing is looking at the (mostly sloppy) back office work of financial reporting employees. Granted, you will be auditing back office work in any industry you end up choosing, but you are much better off auditing something interesting/complex that you could potentially enter into an FPA/research role later on (pharma/tech/o&g). I wish I had known this... granted 99% of auditing is doing the same crap regardless of the industry, but auditing something like pharma should give you a better understanding of how the business works, footnotes, etc. that you can use later.

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Aug 9, 2014

I did pharma and it's been great. Pharma and tech are the interesting industries which pay the a lot more than other industries and offer many more strategic type options than more commodity type industries. Also they tend to have complicated finance work to be done.

Aug 10, 2014

Breezy, I couldn't have said it better. Spot on, I have told people for a few years to avoid FS auditing at all costs. Even when it comes to transferring into something like M&A Advisory, folks comoing from FS backgrounds lack in depth understanding of how normal companies operate and how their financial statements relfect the underlying business activities. I can't tell you how many audit people in FS think they are "finance" people, but I always chime in an explain that they are auditing the backoffice garbage work of an organization which has so many true high finance groups, that the backoffice work done there is really frowned upon.

An industry like Pharma for example has accounting functions which are also backoficce, but still closer to the business than in FS. And then true finace jobs in a pharma company are actually viewed as very respected throughout the organization.

In a nutshell, an equity research analyst covering pharma or tech works in many of the same capacities as internal finance groups. Pharma M&A, is the same, focusing on company fundementals. You can gain some level of exposure to those as an auditor in those industries. FS experience (especially in the first 2-3 years) will be taking a stock price per the company, comparing it to bloomburgh price for the same security, comparing the difference, aggregating, and than calculating whether the difference is "material". I touched this a tiny bit working on a VC client, thought most of the work was focused on level 3 investments & auditing a DCF vauation for each VS portfolio company. So FS work over VS or PE (where no public fair market value is available) can be interesting an valuable experience, most FS or Insurance company auditing won't transfel to FP&A or anything of the like.

Aug 10, 2014
marine13910:

Breezy, I couldn't have said it better.

breezy44:

this is a very good point.

Yeah, I for sure won't be doing FS. I've pretty much narrowed it down to either the consumer/manufacturing companies group, or the regulated industries group. Tech sounds great but I don't think there's many tech clients where I am geographically. But if my firm has them, they'll be in that group. I know tech and pharma are good, but my concern in that group is non-profits don't interest me at all, and I'm not exactly sure how good the exits are for utilities/energy (mostly utilities), telecom/media, and healthcare (similar to pharma?).

Aug 11, 2014

That's the problem with choosing Healthcare. It's a complete crapshoot, you could randomly be assigned to mostly not-for-profit hospitals "dumpy NFPs" was the term we had for them when I worked in healthcare. Worse still if you get assigned to hospitals early on, chances are it'll happen more and more in the future as you now have "industry expertise." On the flit side, if you get luck and end up on a F100 Pharma, you will spend all your time in audit as what the consider a more elite team (sounds like a joke but really not). Pharma industry experience is extremely valuable and since the mix between NFP and Pharma was proly 2/3 NFP, 1/3 pharma, not many people het the pharma side. Those who did got great exit ops, those who stuck w NFP's got exit ops like Staf accountant 2 at a NFP they used to audit. Some didn't mind it, those teams worked what felt like half as many hours. You can always push for Pharma, I specificually asked to be on the largest Pharma client in our office which many people avoided due to more extreme hours. But afterwords, no one really ever bothered me for a hospital engagements and I ended up going on some pharma audits as somewhat of an advisor, giving me even more experience on 7+ Public Pharma companys.

Anyway, as I said before, you can push hard and make almost anything happen if your aggressive enough and are a top performer.

Aug 17, 2014

Yeah this makes the industry choice tough for me. I'm not quite sure which to go with but I may go with the regulated industries group

Aug 11, 2014

I'm with ya OP. I am just about to start at one of the big 4's. The best of the business majors at my small state school went big 4, we had no recruiting / knowledge of high finance. I already have the feeling that accounting is not the long term option I want to pursue. I've started to really like value investing / finding discrepancies in the market. I am planning on shooting for equity research positions as soon as I get in. I think big 4 is a great opportunity to get a real understanding of how businesses run, and also gives one the ability to read/understand annual/quarterly reports and able to pick out differences and disclosures between years. With that said, I chose consumer and Industrials as my 2 industries. I believe these 2 industries are most relevant to value investing because of their strong long term balance sheets,etc (not FS's because of the above comments, not healthcare because too dependent on FDA approvals / hype of new drugs, no tech because dependent on projections, etc) I haven't heard many people take the big 4 - ER - HF route, but I think its completely possible. The ability to have an expertise in accounting (the language of business) coupled with a finance mindset could be valuable to ER/HF funds (IMO). After I'm done taking the CPA, I plan on continuing my learning of investing by reading many books (Klarman, Marks, Greenblatt, Buffett, etc) and putting this knowledge to work in my personal account.

They won't know how hard you worked until you get "lucky"

Aug 17, 2014

Picking industries is tougher than I thought it would be. I was always positive I wouldn't do FS or PCS, but from there, choosing "regular" companies vs regulated industries is much harder. But I'm exciting about breaking from the accounting mold as it seems like you are too

Aug 18, 2014

I was in your position a number of years ago (I barely have a 2 handle on my age these days). I even made a last ditch effort with a full-time Big 4 offer in my hand to land a finance or banking gig at a couple smaller firms, but to no avail. As it turns out I'm doing just fine. After 4 years in audit I made the jump to F100 corpfin to work alongside mostly newly minted MBAs. With my background I kept up with them just fine and actually the diversity of my experience in Big 4 has been looked at very favorably vs. traditional MBA route and I have a number of internal opportunities at my company should I choose to pursue any. Externally I might have an opportunity to move into ER in the near future for my industry. Just goes to show you there will be a ton of opportunities for you down the road after working in Big 4 even if you don't get the MBA. That being said, you have to actively seek the "alternative path". Network frequently and let people know what your long-term plans are. I can't tell you how many Big 4 auditors I worked with are now stuck in financial reporting or internal audit roles, thinking about which gave me cold sweats at night when I was in audit, because they jumped at the first 20% raise and/or Director-level title that was thrown their way. Be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come along.

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Aug 18, 2014

I think it ultimately comes down to what you enjoy more. I have friends that major in accounting because it was their passion. If you're just looking for an I-bankers perspective, then obviously they're gonna favor finance over accounting....Are you majoring in accounting?

Starting pay is around there but partners make more than 200k.

Aug 18, 2014
docka:

I think it ultimately comes down to what you enjoy more. I have friends that major in accounting because it was their passion. If you're just looking for an I-bankers perspective, then obviously they're gonna favor finance over accounting....Are you majoring in accounting?

Starting pay is around there but partners make more than 200k.

my ex-gf worked for a big four and i think partners make much more than that... she quoted a couple of million a year... a partner she met said he had offers at some of the banks (he was given an offer to join the banks after he made partner) but he chose to stay with big 4 since he made the same money so you can make the same as an MD

Aug 18, 2014

It's pretty simple. Girls work at Big 4's. Boys work at IB's. Take a look down your pants and there is your answer.

Aug 18, 2014
2226416:

It's pretty simple. Girls work at Big 4's. Boys work at IB's. Take a look down your pants and there is your answer.

Quite the oversimplification, though I can't completely blame 2226416...

Girl power is the new killing it.

Aug 18, 2014

You're in the I-banking section of the forum - what do you expect we're going to say? Big 4 is great if you're that type of person.

Aug 18, 2014

my friends working on the west coast get around 50k pre tax, and take home is around 39k. Bonus is 500 bucks.

if you like accounting, and eventually make partner, it's a great career. BW wasn't joking when they said the big 4 were one of the best places to start your career. it comes down to preferences, career goals, etc...

Aug 18, 2014

a senior partner in new york will usually clear over a million, which isnt bad at all- but MDs will always make more.

as for the big 4 being full of girls- they are usually hot,slutty, and ready to party
so, uh, i'm looking down at my pants and definitely seeing something

Aug 18, 2014
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:

as for the big 4 being full of girls- they are usually hot,slutty, and ready to party

Good one

Aug 18, 2014
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:

as for the big 4 being full of girls- they are usually hot,slutty, and ready to party
so, uh, i'm looking down at my pants and definitely seeing something

Exactly... but whose dick do you think they come running home to every week?

Aug 18, 2014

The reason I will never go into the big 4 is that they recruit widely across a huge spectrum of colleges. I could have gotten a full ride at a much easier school, partied hard, aced classes, and still end up at a big 4 firm. Because I've already invested so much time and energy on going to a target, I figured I might as well go the whole way and break into banking.

Aug 18, 2014

I'd say the starting salary's overquoted in OP's first post though. I have friends starting at various departments of Big4 in NYC and they're just sub 60k for transaction advisory if they're lucky, and hovering around 55k for audit/tax/whatever.

Aug 18, 2014

Coming from a former Big 4 employee:
Strengths:
Strong name recognition outside of finance
For accountants, it's the gold standard
Compared to finance and M/B/B consulting, the hours are ok

Weaknesses:
Finance exit opportunities-you're forever branded an accountant
Pay-lower at every level than finance or top consulting. One caveat on this: if you're in a less expensive city (say a Milwaukee), the Big 4 still pay plenty to have a nice life. Additionally, there's not a ton of variability or transparency regarding pay.
Lack of selectivity-I worked with some really smart people in the Big 4, but also a lot of serious idiots.

The person who quoted partners as making a couple of million is wrong, plus you don't make partner till you're at least 30 (The most senior partners may make seven figures but the majority don't and you're taking immense personal liability with your net worth-just ask an Andersen partner). I will bet $20 that the partner who had "offers from banks" had an accounting/back office offer.

Aug 18, 2014

$20? Whoa, whoa, whoa, look at this guy!
Sorry dude, that was a great post but a $20 bet doesn't exactly scream "I'm sure of this."

Aug 18, 2014

Haha ok, good point-I'll make it $50. Seriously though, anything is possible but anyone who thinks they'll make the same as a Big 4 partner as in front office i-banking (director level or up) is high.

Aug 18, 2014
Edomerp:

Haha ok, good point-I'll make it $50. Seriously though, anything is possible but anyone who thinks they'll make the same as a Big 4 partner as in front office i-banking (director level or up) is high.

I'll take that bet, it'll be the easiest 50 bucks I ever made. The guy is a partner at Big 4 in Houston in Risk Services. So the poster who said that he probably wasn't in tax or audit is correct.

You are correct, however, that he is older, so perhaps he made this money as part of an equity stake he is holding as a partner. But that is the point of joining Big 4 since its structured as a partnership.

By the way the guy is in his late 60's about to retire so its also probably and end of career figure. But its not a terrible lifestyle and you still have a chance to make some decent money. No, its not PE/HF good, but I'm pretty sure most Americans would be satisfied with a few million a year toward the end of your career. Not to mention risk services is not a terribly boring area compared to audit/tax so the work is less mind numbing (its a lot of systems deployment and stuff... its forward-looking as opposed to audit/tax which is backward looking)

Aug 18, 2014

You cant really put a number on partner salaries because it varies from location to location, and across service lines. The guy above whose girlfriend said that that she knows some partners who clear a million a year, is probably telling the truth, but this is during a good year and he or she probably works in the advisory practice not audit or tax. I would say the norm is probably around $500,000 but again its way different if you work in NYC vs. Rhode Island.

Secondly working you way up to partner in a Big 4 is a tough life OP, but I guess the good news is youll certainly make more than 200,000. The managers make around that in NYC Audit (probably around 150,000). For you info associate->senior->manager) It usually takes you around 5 years to make manager, and most don't stick around that long.

I do think you have a good idea becuase most regional accounting firm partners make around 200,000 maybe more and live in a place where you can raise a family, and work 40 hours a week, and have time to make it to little johnny's baseball games after work. Not a bad life it all depends what you like.

But if you have higher dreams than this then public accounting may not be the best route.

Gang, Gang, Gang

Aug 18, 2014

My Dad is a derivatives taxation specialist in Chicago. It's not banker money, but it's plenty of money to have a very nice upper-middle-class life when you're 40 if you save carefully your first 5-10 years. It's also only about 40-50 hours/week outside of two months in the spring and maybe one month in September/October.

A Big Four firm is going to be a lot of work, but you'll make more there. I think $500K/year for partners might be a little high, but I think $300K-400K would be pretty doable for a partner at a Big Four in Chicago.

It's a relatively economy-neutral job, but you are always at the mercy of regulators. A lot of tax accountants got hit pretty hard back when Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1986. And if not for Sarbanes-Oxley, there would be a lot fewer accounting jobs.

Aug 18, 2014

From what I hear (from partners in the Big 4), at least in the States, once you make partner the pay is over 1 million, or at least around that range. And that makes sense. Think about it, someone in a senior position like partner making 500K? Are you kidding me? To a senior executive, thats nothing.

Aug 18, 2014
alternatives:

From what I hear (from partners in the Big 4), at least in the States, once you make partner the pay is over 1 million, or at least around that range. And that makes sense. Think about it, someone in a senior position like partner making 500K? Are you kidding me? To a senior executive, thats nothing.

I agree with my man here. I'm just saying its not getting us anywhere debating partner salaries becuase no one will ever win the argument it just varies too much. 300-400 sounds a little low. These guys (partners) work like crazy too its not an easy life style.

Gang, Gang, Gang

Aug 18, 2014

http://bigfouralumni.blogspot.com/2007/03/pricewat...
According to this the average is around 650k for partners. That's spring 2007 so the numbers are on the high side obviously.

Aug 18, 2014

I always thought of the Big 4 firms as good places to start a career rather than end one.

Is this true? Can anyone list some notable alumni?

Aug 18, 2014
evilbyaccident:

I always thought of the Big 4 firms as good places to start a career rather than end one.

Is this true? Can anyone list some notable alumni?

Yes this is the most widely accepted caveat, by those working in the big 4. Im here to get my career started, learn as much as I can from the biggest and best, then move into an industry that interests me, or a smaller firm where I can be a superstar and have more responsibility, or w.e you want. The only people who stay for extended periods of time are those that are passionate about the work they do at a big 4 and are trying to make partner. Those who arent interested in the long road to partnership are usually out in a few years, and there isnt anything wrong with that.

as for the almumni, I dont know of any of the top of my head, but Im sure there will be some pretty impressive names on the list. CFO's, CEO's etc.

Gang, Gang, Gang

Aug 18, 2014

Now now...the average figure stated above of 600k is somewhat misleading because it's pulled up by the Sr. Partner salaries. I would say the median salary for most partners is around 300~400k.

Aug 18, 2014

Most big 4's kick thier partners out at around age 60, I know this is the case at KPMG atleast. And the oppourtunities for exmployment after this (I would just retire) are premium.

Gang, Gang, Gang

Aug 18, 2014

why not work at mcdonalds? partners at mcdonalds make way more than anyone

Aug 18, 2014
iphoned:

why not work at mcdonalds? partners at mcdonalds make way more than anyone

That's actually pretty true. Good managers can make six figures and franchises can bring in half a million a year. That said, I would prefer to open a Cosi or a Potbelly's- solid menus/brands with less saturation outside New York.

Aug 18, 2014

LIBOR-interesting to hear that; do you know what kind of role the bank offered him?

Chech-very true; collecting director's fees or other cushy jobs are definitely a perk. Also you get paid out for your contributed equity and what I've heard is a pretty nice pension.

Aug 18, 2014
Edomerp:

LIBOR-interesting to hear that; do you know what kind of role the bank offered him?

Chech-very true; collecting director's fees or other cushy jobs are definitely a perk. Also you get paid out for your contributed equity and what I've heard is a pretty nice pension.

nah sorry... i'd assume it'd be front office based on the fact that his wife told him not to join since he was making the some money at Big 4... but its highly possible that it could have been a back office accounting/IT role.

I'd say a Partner at a Big 4 with a big rolodex could move into an MD role at a BB since both are, to some extent, sales positions. Anyone else know anything about this?

Aug 18, 2014

regarding partner comp, it obviously depends on location

senior partner in kansas city or other small market city- 300-500k
senior partner in nyc/chicago or other big market city- 500k-1mm+

also depends on business unit- transaction advisory partners usually make 15--25% more than their audit
counterparts

finally, it takes (usually) at least 10 years to make partner, then another 10 years to be making the big bucks- so you'll be in your 40's at earliest when you start pulling the 500k-1mm+ numbers. if you work in IB for 20 years, you'll be a senior MD making 5mm+ (probably balding and unhealthy)

Aug 18, 2014
Affirmative_Action_Walrus:

finally, it takes (usually) at least 10 years to make partner, then another 10 years to be making the big bucks- so you'll be in your 40's at earliest when you start pulling the 500k-1mm+ numbers. if you work in IB for 20 years, you'll be a senior MD making 5mm+ (probably balding and unhealthy)

The Big Four partner doesn't look much better.

Seriously, if you spend a decade working more than 55 hours/week, you'll age a lot faster than someone working less than that. Same if you have a higher stress job (IE: on the trading floor.)

Aug 18, 2014

LIBOR-very true, especially in a smaller market (compared to NYC or London). Additionally a risk management advisory partner may have more non-Big 4 experience than the typical audit partner, who (to stereotype) has never worked anywhere else and has spent their entire career as a public, SEC-registrant auditor.

Aug 18, 2014

Someone above mentioned being "forever branded as an accountant." Is that true if your coming out of transaction services too? Do people in IB, MBB, or B-schools recognize the difference between Audit and Transaction services when they see a big 4 name on your resume?

Aug 18, 2014

My god, leave it up to WSO to turn every thread comparing another profession to i-banking into a compensation bitch-fest. Again, let me re-state what I said in the first post: we already know that partners at the Big 4 make less than bankers. My main point of this post was to ask if going the big 4 route in case banking doesn't work out is that bad of an alternative. Fact of the matter is that jobs on wall street are competitive and not everyone will get in, so if you don't get in, is the big 4/public accounting in general that bad?

Also, lets introduce a new topic. Let's say that after 3-5 years, you hate your Big 4 job and leave industry. Are careers in industry pretty nice (outside of compensation...I know bankers/PE dudes make more than controllers in industry)?

Aug 18, 2014
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