Friday, October 30, 2009

No Regrets: My Experience with the Big 4


For my last three posts, I know they sound so…well, so negative. Reading through it myself, I can honestly understand why some folks out there think it’s not worth it to go to the Big 4 (or for any auditing firms for that matter). If this is the case, I would like to apologize. Scaring you was not my purpose; I just wanted to tell it as it is so that you’re better aware of what you are entering into when you go inside any of the Big 4 or the other accounting firms.

With that behind me, I just want to write some (okay a lot of) positive things about my experience with the Big 4. When I started out here in iwanttobeaca, I mentioned staying in one of the big auditing firms for more than 8 years. Truth be told, if circumstances did not turn out the way they did, I would still be there until today.

Staying for 8 years was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m not exactly the type of person who knows what she wants and goes for it. I’m more of wherever-the-wind-blows-me-I’ll-be-there type of person but I’m sure glad I was blown over that auditing firm. Suffice it to say that I have absolutely no regrets in working for that firm and given the chance to do things all over again, I would have gladly worked for that firm again.

Why did I say I have no regrets? Well, there are a couple of reasons. Let me just go through them:

First of all, I learned how to handle or deal with different people (with different personalities) during those 8 years. I’ve been assigned under partners and managers who had the temper to match a raging volcano (figuratively, of course) and who can quell their staff with a single glance. I have also been assigned under partners and managers who are the opposite of the previous ones. And I count myself fortunate I was able to survive the first and thrive with the second.

What about clients? I have handled some that are really in the extremes. I have a client whose Controller is really somebody avoided by everybody, even our partners and managers! In fact, when I was about to leave, my partner and the other partners met several times just to discuss who will replace me as the manager of that client! I also have clients that are well-sought out by the other managers because they know the clients are kind and accommodating to their auditors. Extremes? You bet.

Second, I got a lot of invaluable and extensive trainings. I attended trainings from basic auditing skills to managerial skills to audit updates to tax updates to accounting updates and (the last) to the IFRS. To top it all, they were all free! When you go out, you will spend your hard-earned money just to attend these types of seminars or trainings (unless you go to another company offering the same kind of training, lucky you). 

Do you know how much these trainings cost outside? You can literally hear your wallet or purse screaming as you pay the fees. So if you’re with a Big 4 right now or any other accounting firm offering free trainings, treasure the times when you get to attend those trainings (and your manager or partner leaves you in peace because of this) because these are part of the benefits you will receive from the firm.

Third of all, I was exposed to different industries or kinds of businesses. To name a few: hotels / resorts / restaurants, supermarkets / hypermarkets, service companies, export companies, transportation, newspapers, manufacturing, construction, real estate, parent companies, and even, to some extent, banks. Now how many other companies can offer this type of experience to the accountants out there? 

Staying with the auditing firm helped me become more aware of these types of businesses and their issues in auditing and accounting. And if you’re going to set up your own firm after your stint with the Big 4, you will surely see the value of what you have learned while you are still with that big auditing firm.

Fourth, financial analysis and financial statement understanding is a lot easier for me since I worked for the auditing firm. Because I was exposed with different financial statements, different reporting structures and different financial information (including disclosures), I became used to analyzing and understanding the financial statements. The more financial statements I get to read, the more knowledge I got and the more ‘trained’ my eyes and mind were in reading (and understanding) these financial reports.

Fifth, the networking. When you’re a junior, you get to deal with the client’s staff, managers and even the controller. But when you’re already a senior or a manager, you start dealing with the CFO, the VPs and even, the Presidents of your clients. So this is your chance to establish your networks. When you go out, don’t lose touch. Who knows? You might get a job or some business with that former clients of yours.

And these are just some of the things why I don’t regret working for a big auditing firm. Sure, I also got the late nights (even the overnights!), no-rest week-ends, low pay, cr@ppy boss, hardheaded staff and scary clients, but in the end, they were just all part of the experience. 


So if you are already working for a Big 4 and you have the chance to stay for a longer period (like 3 or more years), then do so. I can assure you, you will really learn something from your experience there. And no, I’m not giving you an empty promise on this one. Trust me, your experience will be well worth it. And that’s a promise.

19 comments:

  1. Great post! I love hearing about the benefits of being an auditor. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow. let's have a break first. i am interested in taking up accountancy to become of course, a CA and then i read this blog. im so hurt. what to do now. LOL. i have brittle hands so i cant take up masonry or mechanic. errr. actually i have an older friend who is now an management consultant, he worked before in one of those big 4 and he also said his experience did not go well. but he told me i should try to go there (big4) if the Heavens allow so that i can be a victim of a sadist and will get my a_hole kicked also! hahahaha.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL, a sadist eh? I got lucky because I did not have that kind of a boss. By all means, take up accounting, work for the Big 4 and get your CA. The experience may not go well but there are a lot of things you will learn. But just in case, at least you're warned ahead of time :).

    ReplyDelete
  4. I got this web site from my friend who informed me concerning this site and
    now this time I am browsing this web page and reading very
    informative posts at this place.

    Here is my web-site :: ava fx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Its like you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much about this, like you wrote
    the e book in it or something. I feel that you just could do
    with a few percent to force the message home a bit, however
    other than that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read.

    I will definitely be back.

    My web blog: zulutrade

    ReplyDelete
  6. Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it
    out.

    my homepage getplusfollowers.webs.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website
    loaded up as fast as yours lol

    my website - formulacompany.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hardly comment, but i did a few searching and wound up here "No Regrets: My Experience with the Big 4".
    And I do have a couple of questions for you if you usually do not mind.
    Could it be simply me or does it give the impression
    like some of the comments come across like
    they are written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at additional online social sites,
    I would like to follow everything fresh you have to
    post. Could you make a list of all of your community sites like your
    twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Review my blog; option fair

    ReplyDelete
  9. This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!

    Also visit my weblog ... stock trading online

    ReplyDelete
  10. For hottest information you have to pay a
    visit world-wide-web and on the web I found this web page as a finest website for hottest
    updates.

    Here is my web site; buy twitter followers

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you
    know a few of the images aren't loading correctly. I'm not sure
    why but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

    my weblog ava fx

    ReplyDelete
  12. This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped
    me. Thanks!

    Also visit my page zulutrade

    ReplyDelete
  13. Many customers have stated that when they have ordered these counterfeit,
    fake, imitation UGG's, they would arrive in a plain, brown box that looked battered. ì (IE: sand, chestnut, chocolate, black) UGG boots. What the majority are finding are imitation, fake UGG Boots.

    Feel free to surf to my website: プラダ バッグ

    ReplyDelete
  14. There are various online auction sites which you can check out every now and then if you wanted to have the best prices on your ugg
    boot. And recollection, they will often eventually be willful Worn tedium without
    situation, so the graduate are able to do
    their job. And utilization with the preserving
    stratum in the knock-off is sometimes a easy preventative pelage - not the actual authenticated guy that can conflict
    users; the development is her toes when her vernacular users of sea boots check inside the U.


    my web blog: louis vuitton

    ReplyDelete
  15. UGG Australia has produced some unique and fun types in boots for
    ladies - Classic Stripe UGG Boots really are a
    perfect illustration on this. The artist material moisture
    from the feet, keep it cold and dry. And utilization with the preserving stratum in the knock-off may also be a easy
    preventative pelage - not the genuine authenticated guy who are able to conflict users; the production
    is her toes when her vernacular users of sea boots check within the U.


    my web-site :: http://www.gekiyasuvitonbaggu.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. There is really a lot surprise this type of simply just released sorts
    are listed below: uggs estimates boots and shoes mayfair " booties " girls java Highkoo Microsof corporation 5450 fight-style exceptional.
    5L models with the "Iridescence" allowance box,
    in spite of well-designed counterfeit bright Jiuzun base, so that this cut apparent just appropriate bright reflects "Iridescence" the cradle of each neon,
    for your account of Hennessy cheap uggs Salon goes for the a large amount of admirable style.
    Regardless products your first choices, UGG Classic Short you can
    find in the UGG boot.

    Stop by my webpage :: コーチ アウトレット

    ReplyDelete
  17. Timeless European-inspired architecture marry contempo design and
    amenities offers its resident a truly alluring abode to call
    home.the interlace condo

    ReplyDelete