Much has been said about the clout that is associated with working for a big 4 accounting firm. Jobs at big 4 accounting firms are some of the most highly sough after jobs in the world. Any college accounting major would be extremely honored to be given an offer from a big 4 accounting firm upon graduation. This article will give a brief overview of what a job at a big 4 accounting firm contains and advice on getting a job at one of these prestigious firms.
There are two major divisions of work that is done by employees who work at big 4 accounting firms. The primary division is the division of audit which is primarily concerned with the auditing of major publically traded companies and other large privately hel companies. The other major division is the tax division. The tax division is primarily concerned with preparing the tax returns of major corporations. This article will primarily focus on auditing because it is the primary task that big 4 accounting firms engage in.
Most people who work in auditing at a big 4 accounting firm spend much of their time auditing the financial statements of large companies. This includes a large amount of travel. Since many of the companies that are audited are not in the same city that the accounting office is located many big 4 auditors spend at least 25% of their time traveling. Another major aspect of working for a big 4 accounting firm is the amount of hours that they have to work during certain portions of the year. The period between January and April is referred to as the busy season, and anybody working in auditing at a big 4 accounting firm will need to put in at least 60 hours a week during the busy season. There is a positive side to the amount of overtime that is worked however. During the summer there is little work available in auditing, so the summers are often very slow and there is much time to take personal vacations and breaks from work.
Landing a job at a big 4 accounting firm is often very difficult. Most of these firms do their hiring almost exclusively on college campuses. If you do not get a job at one of the big 4 accounting firms right out of college you will most likely never work for a big 4 firm. All of these firms are looking for the students with the highest GPA's who also have a distinguishing list of extra activities that they engage in away from the classroom. When it comes down to the interview process most of the candidates that you will be interviewing against will be just as bright and as outgoing as you are and you will have to go above and beyond normal standards in order to land the job. Landing a job at one of these firms can be very rewarding and will often lead to a bright career.
When one looks at the amount of travel and hours that many accountants work at big 4 firms they may wonder what the appeal is for these firms. Most employees at big 4 accounting firms only work there for about 5 years before moving on to other employment. Much of this is due to the fact that many companies are willing to offer executive level jobs to alumni of big 4 accounting firms. The work that is involved at a big 4 firm is difficult, but it will lead to one of the best career paths that you could imagine.