Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big 4 Firms in Top 4 of Best Places to Launch a Career 2009

I just came across this Sept. 3, 2009 article (little bit late I know) in Business Week about the Best Places to Launch a Career in 2009. This is actually a poll done in U. S. colleges and undergraduates on which companies or firms the respondents think are the best places to launch a career in 2009.

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly since evidently they’ve been in the top 10 since the survey was started in 2006), the Big 4 accounting / auditing firms topped the list. Deloitte is number one (in 2008, it was number 2), dislodging EY from its previous number one rank. EY is number 2, PWC is number 3 – the same rank it held in 2008 and KPMG is number 4. KPMG was the previous number 5 and it dislodged Goldman Sachs to take over the number 4 position.

Just two things I noticed. First is why Deloitte became number one. Evidently Deloitte offers higher entry – level pay per year than the rest of the Big 4, bigger signing bonuses and better time-off policies.

Secondly, the results stated that KPMG has no management training program???? This is quite news to me since one of the incentives offered by any Big 4 is a good training program. I don’t know, is this true? Any reader here who’s from KPMG who can verify (or not verify) this?

Anyway, back to the topic. The survey is U. S. – based but can be very much applicable in any countries where the Big 4 firms are present. As a former auditor working in a big auditing firm, I agree with its results.

Auditing firms, especially the Big 4, are good starting points in one’s career. I’m not saying this because the pay is good (private companies are known to pay better) but because (for me at least) of the on-the-job trainings and the training programs that one will get when one works for a Big 4 auditing firm.

After my first busy season on the firm, I was so burnt out I wanted to resign and to transfer to another company (with better pay and better hours, mind you). When I told somebody from the other company that training season is coming up in the firm, he told me to stay put and to take advantage of the training! Evidently, they don’t have such free trainings. In fact, for each level in the firm (from junior, to senior, then to a manager), there was a corresponding training program.

And what about new tax laws, new accounting standards and new auditing standards? Again, auditing firms take the lead in giving these trainings. I mean if you want to learn about IFRS, and for free at that, the auditing firm is the place to work with to get this type of information. New auditing standards? No problem, the auditing firm has another training program dedicated to these new standards.

Or how about the on-the-job trainings that one will get from the Big 4 or other auditing firms? Okay, this may or may not happen to you but definitely you will experience one or more of these. Some of the on-the-job trainings we got include SOX application, auditor – exchange programs, comfort letters for IPOs, due diligence (acquisition) jobs, fraud audits and IFRS first – time applications. These stuff one does not get to experience that much (if at all) outside of these accounting firms. So if you go and work for a Big 4 firm and stay around for one or more years, welcome any opportunity to do non-audit related jobs and you will get good on-the-job trainings.

If you want to see the full results of this survey, go to this link.

Of course, launching a career in a Big 4 is one thing, staying for a longer period of time within a Big 4 firm is another matter and not covered by my post. Thank you very much for reading it and ciao!


  1. Great post, I have been reading a lot about these top accounting firms, and the benefits sound unbelievable. I can't imagine people leaving the Big 4 Accounting Firms after only a year. It seems to me that once you get a job there, you are set for life. I have heard that the culture at these firms is rivaled only by Google, which is saying a lot considering Google has gourmet meals and massages for staff members.

  2. To Above:

    So you're suggesting that you, who are basing your judgment entirely upon you "have heard," know better and are in a position to make more informed decisions than those who have actually worked in Big 4?

    Just shut up if you don't know what you're talking about.

  3. lol you guys are fucking so serious about this shit its a fucking blog if u want scholarly articles go somewhere else

  4. fuck wank balls

  5. piss out my ass

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