Senior members of staff, both internally (audit partners/directors) and externally (CFOs/Finance Directors) can be a great source of learning and development for new graduates and those starting out in their careers. As such, people often ask; do you get exposure to senior staff in the big 4?
A benefit of working in the Big 4, is that almost straight from the off, there is a good amount of exposure to senior staff in the big 4. Initially, this comes mostly from the audit team that graduates are a part of.
Depending on the size of the audit, an audit team is likely to have a mix of levels, including a few juniors, a senior, manager and partner. Clearly the partner is going to be most concerned with the senior and the manager, however as an audit progresses, it is likely that there will be some interaction between the juniors and the audit partner.
In addition to the internal audit team, as a graduate you will also have exposure to senior members of staff on the client side. The main client contact will usually be the Financial Controller or Finance Manager, meaning that most queries will be sent the way of them. Even at junior levels, exposure and interaction with senior external stakeholders can be significant.
So why is exposure to senior staff in the big 4 a good thing?
Exposure to senior staff in the big 4 s on both the client side and internal side can be hugely beneficial from a learning and development perspective.
Internally, it is often those senior people that have input into promotion and performance review discussions.
Externally, it is useful to build rapport with key client contacts, both to ensure that the audit process runs smoothly, and also from an individual progression perspective, as often the feedback from the client gets fed back to the audit partner at the end of the audit. I am also aware of multiple instances whereby audit team members have been offered a role with the client upon qualification thanks to the relationship developed during the audit process – so this can have a much greater impact than you would initially expect!