Like many final year university students, I was looking at graduate roles available as leaving uni got nearer. I wanted to work in financial services in some capacity. This was the natural progression having completed an economics degree. I wasn’t sure about the type of role that would most benefit my future career. This post answers the question; is auditing a good career?
Benefits of Starting your career at the big 4
- Cohort of like minded employees
- World recognised accountancy qualification
- Exposure to a range of companies
- Continuous progression
- Future prospects
Cohort of like minded employees
When starting a graduate scheme at a big 4 firm, you will join with 20-100 other graduates in exactly the same position. The size of the cohort will depend on the size of the office and service line that you have joined.
Being around many like-minded people is a huge benefit and makes the first few years of work enjoyable. I remain good friends with many of those that I started work with. You are able to speak to these people to help with work and college as exam season approaches.
World recognised accountancy qualification (ACA)
Getting the ACA is a huge benefit to working in the Big 4. Qualification essentially sets you a ‘base level’ of earning which you can expect to earn going forward. Not only does this help from a salary perspective, but qualification also opens many doors. This includes being able to work internationally given its global reputation.
You will not simply be handed the ACA. Qualification requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Big 4 firms provide college time and tuition to make passing these exams possible. There is a pressure in that failing these exams twice results in being fired.
Exposure to a range of companies
Working in audit usually means that you are exposed to a wide range of companies from a very early stage in a career. The extent to this depends on the specific area of the business that you work in. Grads are usually given a portfolio of around 4 or 5 different companies to work on in their first few years. I can think of very few other graduate roles which would allow for such diverse exposure.
Over time and as exam passes accumulate, responsibility and promotion naturally occurs. A graduate will be the most junior audit team member and will be given the most straightforward work. As competence develops a junior will work on more complex areas of an audit and be given responsibility of coaching junior members of the team.
With this increased workload comes promotion. In the more junior grades within the Big 4, promotion to the next grade (rung on the ladder) occurs each year providing performance is satisfactory. This linear model of progression is not found outside of the Big 4.
Starting your career at the big 4 firms opens many doors as to future career opportunities. Most employees leave the big 4 upon qualification. Having developed strong experience in a respected big 4 firm certainly helps obtain a future job.
See my post on opportunities available after working at a big 4 firm HERE.
Is Big 4 accounting worth it? Is auditing a good career?
Starting your career in audit at a Big 4 accountancy firm is definitely worth it. For the reasons highlighted above, such as the Big 4 brand recognised, exposure to a wide range of clients from an early stage, and the opportunity to gain a world recognised accountancy qualification in the ACA.