Switching from Tax to Audit Big4

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    Hi all,

    I am a big4 firm currently working in tax. I just started in September 2019 so I have only been in my current role for a few months. I am interested in switching to audit, and I would like to stay at my company. Does anyone have any experience in making this switch? I want to contact HR but I do not want my current team figuring out I am trying to switch. Obviously with tax season approaching I wouldn't do anything until next summer/fall, but I know you have to get ahead of this early. Does anyone know how I should approach this?

    Also for what its worth, I have passed 3 sections of the CPA exam, and I have the entirety of 2020 to pass my fourth, so I should have that wrapped up within the next year.


    Absolutely don't contact HR. Assuming you have one, reach out to your coach (or someone like a coach, for whom you report to/have been assigned to – I think all firms call them something like a “coach” or “relationship leader”) before anyone else. Probably should wait until after busy season like you mention, for purposes of not looking like you have a bad attitude and so that it at least looks like you gave tax a shot.

    Make it clear that audit is what you want and be as forward looking as possible. For example, make it more about why you think you'll do well/enjoy audit more rather than why you don't like tax. If they specifically ask what you didn't like about tax, be honest, but if being honest will come across like you're trashing it, then come up with something else – remember, this is what that person does for a living.

    From there, your coach will probably do all the heavy lifting for you in terms of getting HR involved and so forth. If not, he will tell you how to go about it.

    Tons of people make switches, nothing at all to hesitate about. Just be smart about when you ask and 9 times out of 10 they will honor it.


    I was told by a colleague of mine that you need to put your request to switch lines of service into the system a year in advance? Does anyone find that to be accurate?


    Each big 4 is different Matt. In my firm, any sort of service line change/project interest/industry interest etc. the first person to communicate with is what we call “people management leader” which is basically a mentor. Be transparent, be nice and be honest. Worst you can do is go without telling anyone in the team and the firms would rather retain you within the org than losing you to someone else.

    Shoot for the stars!

    FAR 88 04/19

    REG 95 07/19

    BEC 91 11/19

    AUD 88 12/19


    I would have an honest conversation with your mentor as soon as possible. Unless your mentor was the one that hired you (unlikely as junior tax staff), there's nothing personal or problematic with expressing interest in another position.

    AUD - 79
    BEC - 88
    FAR - 89
    REG - 80
    Manager, Big 4 Corporate Finance, CPA (WA)
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