July 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm #161064AnonymousInactive
Hello all. I have about 3.5 years of small time CPA firm/business management firm experience but was recently able to land a job with one of the Big 4 as a year two auditor (just shows you how highly they view non big 4 experience). I wanted to see if anyone had any tips or advice going into such a structured and cutthroat environment. All the firms I’ve been in have been so relaxed and stress free. I’ve certainly learned a ton (mostly tax work) and am ready for the new challenge, but I just wanted to see if anyone had any nuggets of wisdom they are willing to share outside of the typical “super long hours of work, no social life, no time for anything” type of advice.July 27, 2011 at 7:45 pm #291188AnonymousInactive
Also, I only had a brief phone interview with one of the national recruiters then went in and met with a partner, manager, and HR person one week later and they gave me an offer that afternoon. It is almost scary how easy it was to get hired. I’m pretty good at interviewing and was referred through a current employee.July 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm #291189
How long between your phone interview and the call to schedule your face-to-face interview? I interviewed with a big 4 on Monday, but haven't heard back about a face-to-face. I interviewed with another big 4 today almost 5 hours ago and haven't heard back about a face-to-face. My friend is a director in consulting for the first big 4, but I'd rather not pull out that card yet if they haven't made a decision.July 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm #291190
My wife is an audit senior at a Big 4 and my father-in-law is a partner at a Big 4 so I can try to pass on some of what they have shared with me (I will be starting at a Big 4 this fall).
Ask questions. You may think that you know it all, but you will be learning a new audit methodology as each firm has their own way of doing things. People get concerned if you are not asking questions.
When your senior/manager/partner asks you to do something, write it down. This way you do not have to pester them later and you can always refer back to what they asked.
Before asking a question, try to figure out the answer yourself. They don't mind answering questions, but please put some effort into finding the answer yourself (i.e. look at prior year workpapers).
Have a positive attitude. You are stuck in a conference room with these people for hours on end. No one wants to work with someone that they do not like. You do not want to get black balled.
Show initiative and move on to the next task once you are done with something or ask your Senior what you need to do. The work on an audit is never complete.July 27, 2011 at 9:03 pm #291191AnonymousInactive
Thank you! That's great advice. I'm very much looking forward to starting.July 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm #291192
Your experience is also going to depend on what engagement(s) you are on. Each team has their own culture so it is important to pick up on that as quickly as possible. You could have one team that is all about face time and another that just wants you to focus on getting your tasks done and then you can leave.July 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm #291193IwannaBaCPAParticipant
That certainly is great advice! That is pretty much exactly what I was going to say…I did a Big 4 internship and start there in October and I can say that those tips are exactly the kinds of things that are important.
I can add that the more organized you are with things in the beginning, the better of you will be in the long run. That and be sure to go to events that you are invited to…networking and getting to know your peers is so important in the Big 4 environment. I don't really think that each office is as cut-throat (depending on size) as people think. My firm has around 150 employees and I felt welcomed for the most part.
Best of luck!July 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm #291194AnonymousInactive
I had a phone interview on a Monday with a national recruiter then received an e-mail from a different in house local HR manager the following Monday asking me to come in two days later on the Wednesday. I got a job offer Wednesday afternoon. I put in my two weeks notice on that Thursday and am now studying for BEC while I ride out these final few days. Not too many people jump from my type of firm to the Big 4. It’s very exciting. It all happened very fast.July 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm #291195
What's your start date? September? January?July 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm #291196AnonymousInactive
August.July 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm #291197
That's interesting. I have no audit experience or accounting experience and have been out of college for five years. I used to think all entry level audit staff come directly from college and start at the same time, but I guess your experience and my experience shows otherwise.July 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm #291198AnonymousInactive
I'm not completely entry level as I'm going in as a year 2 or so. And I've worked 2 small CPA firms and 1 business management firm in the last 3.5 years. So I guess my experience is somewhat in line with they want? Or maybe they just need capable bodies. I don't know.July 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm #291199ROACHMember
You mentioned conference room meetings for hours on end… any idea how frequent those meetings are?
Right now I get nervous talking in front of a small group… at my work, a non-b4, we have meetings each week and my confidence is building but I hate speaking in front of managers and directors and even my peers. Able to shed some light on what the deal is at b4?July 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm #291200rknight21Participant
I dont think he meant meetings in a conference room.. Thats usually where the team works from at a client…. so you are in a conference room at some client for hours and days working…. very close working environment…. I am starting in the fall and i am ok with such a setting… I always see auditors come to my current job and workk in our conference room and i would always want to be apart of that…. i might sound silly but i thought it was cool to see them come in everyday taking notes and using their laptops..July 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm #291201
Yes, I meant that at most client sites you will be sitting in one of their conference rooms with your team. If you are on a larger client, you may have your own cubicle. Either way, don't expect to spend much time in your firm's office.July 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm #291202ROACHMember
man.. that sounds like fun esp. if you got some fun people to work with. I work in a team right now and 90% of the people I work with are very chill.
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