Friday, December 4, 2009

Working with the Big 4 – What I Do NOT Miss

So okay, I wrote a post on what I miss when I was working for the Big 4. That post was a “feel good” one. This one is for those things that I don’t miss (read: those things that “sucked”).

I don’t miss…the overnights. Okay working overnight was not a common experience for me, even when I was working for the auditing firm. But one or two overnights were enough for me, thank you very much, that I didn’t want to repeat the experience again. I need my sleep and I don’t want to wait 48 hours before I can get one.

I don’t miss…working during the week-ends. I’m willing to do overtime work as I know it’s really part of the job. But please, leave my week-ends free. That’s the time when I do my housework, do my laundry, watch TV and generally, just sit back and relax.

I don’t miss…those clients…who are so slow that you have to wait for quite some time before you get what you want. Or how about those clients who insist on what they want even though you keep telling them that that is not the right accounting? Sucks, doesn’t it? Or what about those clients who, when you think you are already on the verge of finishing the job (including reviewing and checking the financial statements), suddenly give you a new adjustment and revise the whole financial statements?!!!!!! What the…?

I don’t miss…the strict rules…and the many requirements inside the auditing firm. Okay, how many times do you want to review the financial statements? How many partners do you need to review and sign-off on the financial statements? How many working papers / documents do you need to finish off the work? How many independence checklists do you need to sign off? And the list can just go on, and on, and on…

I don’t miss…the long meetings with clients, particularly those really tense ones that will really drain you of your strength at the end of the meeting. How long is long? Uhm, like 8 hours (this is I think my longest in one day)? It doesn’t help that your client is mad at you for proposing an adjustment and wants to chew your @ss and spit it out. To top it all, this is just your first meeting for the day. You still have another meeting to go through after this one plus you need to finish something for another client, etc., etc. Just a short tip: If you have a client that likes loooooonnnngggg meetings, do not schedule anything else during the day and, after the meeting, go straight home and go to sleep – you need it.

I don’t miss… partners or managers who are perfectionists, who question everything that you do, down to the last centavo in your working papers (hello? Where’s the materiality level here?). Or they will read and re-read your memo and tell you to re-write certain portions again and again until they’re satisfied with your grammar and sentence construction. I had a manager like this once (when I was still a senior), believe me, it took me half a day just to revise a one-page memo to his satisfaction, aarrrrggghhh!

And these are the things I don’t miss from working in an auditing firm. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still have those overtime, annoying clients and working during week-ends. But (at least for the overtime and the week-ends), I call the shots. The annoying clients? Well, I don’t think I will be able to escape them as long as I am in public practice. So, hey, I’ll just have to grin and bear it (or them). Thanks for reading my post!


  1. Then lo and behold, another one of my experienced staff also resigned.

  2. If you have a client that likes long meetings, do not schedule anything else during the day and, after the meeting, go straight home and go to sleep. Iam willing to do this every day.
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