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What is it like to work in "Big 4"?

I am about to head off to college where I will be majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting. The college I'm going to is highly recruited by the "Big 4" and I would really like to work at one of the firms, #business #career #accounting #job

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Holly’s Answer

Welcome to the business world. Maeve!
Wow, the question is somewhat generally speaking so I will answer what I know about the Big 4 okay. Referenced to what I know about the Big 4 I do know that in the past they have downsized. Most of the time these are accounting firms, however, fortune 500 companies. Fortune five hundred companies are large corporations, firms. Accounting Firms, however some of these firms are failing due to software replacement for accountants. Financial analyst, if you want to work in business for large corporations, suggestions go to that company’s website and see what job positions are open, the demand from the labor and stats department online, also you want to know if this is a growing field or is not a predicted field outlook and growth. Last I checked this is not a growing field. Many business majors are out of work right now have been downsized and laid off. I am sorry to tell you that I do not want you going into the blind thinking you’re going to get some spectacular job. How many people and classes are by volume are they sending out the door? This takes a perfect Grade Point Average of 4.0 or better with a niche, to be completely honest, to get on with the big 4 is near impossible. Unless you’re going to Harvard or Yale or have a huge advantage. You must elaborate more on what you mean by getting on at the Big 4. Are you proficient in Math and engineering, accounting etc.? The big four hires people formally most of the time. You may want to look at other options along with the Big 4 and hope that you’re a chosen one, and if you are not no loss because you have done your homework with other job opportunities. If I can help more let me know. You can go to the Big 4 .com website or research the big four before making decisions, and for sure the college you are attending who is giving you this information. Good luck I do hope this has helped. I want you to prosper. Be wise. Another reference to the big four is four hazards on a job. So I must ask do you mean accounting firms or Fortune 500 companies. Thank you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much. I'm only a senior in high school so I haven't really thought realistically about a career. Many scholarships asked me what my plan was after graduating from college and I thought it would be nice to work at a big 4 firm. I know 2 people that are currently working for Ernest and Young after having an internship there and they love it. Maeve
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Elena’s Answer

Great question! I initially interned at Ernst & Young (one of the big 4) as an external auditor during my last summer in college. I was then working full time at EY after I graduated. Working at the Big 4 in general allows you to be able to gain many valuable skills including multi-tasking, prioritization, working with people, being a team player. In general, you are assigned a few clients where you will usually travel to that client's site and work their with other EY members (usually consisting of staff, seniors, manager, and partner). You interact with the client quite often. I would like to note that you learn a lot but at the same time, working at Big 4 generally requires more hours than a usual job. There are "busy seasons" where it is during year end audit time and hours can average 70 hours or more a week. Other times, working hours are averaging 45 to 50 hours a week. Hope that gives you a little bit more sense of working at a Big 4, good luck!

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Holly’s Answer

That is very nice, however, we are thinking of what you capabilities are and what you like to do and so on. Have you taken any type of skills, or an exam that are located online for majors? Well, you can use your computer to do searches in your address bar. Whatever you type in the browser will search for you such as exams for college majors, or testing for a skills exam about likes and dislikes in a career path college majors or list of careers you may be interested in, there are so many options that skies are the limit for you. I am not trying to discourage you from any goal or dream that you may have, success for you is why we are here. We should focus on what skills that you accelerate strengths, which you have achieved so far in your area of study. Have you thought of what you may want to do? What are your strengths? What is your weakness as far as your G.P.A? Start with your GPA and what you like, then that can also help you to choose an idea career you will enjoy your job have fun everyday while working. If you want the Big 4 go for it. I found a test that you can take to see what your likes and dislikes are then you can review the results the first test is for your aptitude the second test is for personality and what you may like or dislike. Both are links so you can copy and paste into your browser address bar this should take you directly to the page. The first Link of the webpage below is "Select Smart " the second link is called "What You Should Major In"?
Suggestion, if the site cost any money move on to another. Most test sites such as these are free. Some college prep.test tend to charge money. At this point you will not need a SAT or ACT site this site helps your decide what career path you can choose. Never pay for a site like a sample test etc, we can locate free sites. The best of luck in your career path. We are here for you.. Good luck.
www.selectsmart.com/collegemajor/‎
What Should You Major In? - TestQ
www.testq.com/education/quizzes/158-what-should-you-major-in

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Ann’s Answer

Hi Maeve,

I have been working at Big 4 for 12 years now, and it is a great place to start your career. After graduating college, working in a Big4 atmosphere provides a rewarding experience, and builds your technical, professional, and social skills. In addition, Big 4 offers a lot of opportunities to network with colleagues and clients, as a stepping stone for further opportunities in finance and accounting. In my experience at Big 4, getting a CPA license was very convenient, if you are looking into obtaining your CPA license; there are many resources and the firms usually assist with CPA-related questions. In addition, Big 4 offers CPE to help maintain your CPA license renewals and CPE compliance.

I understand you are just entering college, but it may be useful to join accounting/business clubs, honors societies, networking events, and case studies, and look into the internship programs that the Big 4 offer. It might be good to ask questions to those in different service lines to understand the nature of the work for each service line (e.g., what does a typical day look like as a tax associate? vs audit associate?) to gauge your interests. Hope this helps and good luck in college! Best of luck on your exams, and good luck in the recruiting process!
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Casey’s Answer

Hi Maeve! I have been working at a Big 4 accounting firm for close to a year now and I have to say it has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life thus far. If you are a hardworking and driven person, then this is is something for you!


You may hear about the long hours, the late nights, and the tight deadlines, which is all true, but that is not all that the Big 4 is about. The Big 4 invests their time and money into creating well rounded business professionals. The learning curve at these firms is very steep, you learn so much in a short period of time. You learn skills like time management, budgeting, client relations, and leadership development. The skills you attain from working at a Big 4 accounting firm will be ones that you will carry throughout your career.


I hope you are up to the challenge!

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Whitney’s Answer

Hi Maeve! I've been working at a Big 4 for the past year and agree with the others who said it is challenging but rewarding. While the Big 4 generally expect a lot from employees, I've also found that they provide some great benefits too. These firms generally spend significant amounts of time and money training their employees and making sure they have the skill sets required to stay competitive in a changing marketplace. This is very valuable experience and provides many opportunities in terms of career paths in the future. Additionally, the services provided by the Big 4 are necessary for many business to succeed. This provides a sense of job security, even in an uncertain economy!
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Jason’s Answer

Hi Maeve, great question!

I also went to a university that was highly recruited by the Big 4 and have been working for almost 5 years at a Big 4 firm since graduation. I know your question didn't ask about the recruiting process but I would recommend you attend as many recruiting events the firms put on at your school to help you build relationships with the recruiters and other professionals that work at the firms. Do not wait until the year you are applying for summer leadership programs, internships, or a full time job to attend the events. These connections will help you as you begin the interview process.

As for what it is like to work in the Big 4, it can be challenging at time, but rewarding. The firms do a great job of demanding the most from their employees by giving individuals as much responsibility as they can handle. This provides an environment where you can learning a lot in a role that is ever changing. That said, as your role will be ever changing, this will not be a job you can just "take it easy". I cannot speak for other people, but I have found working in Public accounting very rewarding. I work with a team that supports me and cares about me personally. This makes the busy hours we sometimes work manageable.

I hope this helps!
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Hassan’s Answer

Working for big 4 firms is rewarding but challenging. Big 4 firms would provide great benefits in terms of career development and trainings, they invest heavily on their employees in order to stay relevant and competitive in the market. you would work on different projects with interesting clients and gain experience from different industries and get to create great networks. the main challenge if i may say in the consulting industry in general is being flexible and have no issue for working long hours from time to time. in sometimes you have to meet tight deadlines where you will need to work long hours.

Overall i would say working for one of the Big 4 firms is rewarding and would help you creating a wonderful career.
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Michelle’s Answer

Working at a Big 4 is demanding and can frequently be challenging, but it is rewarding in the opportunities, people, and issues that you will be exposed to. I would recommend applying for an internship as they are a great way to get a taste of what full time might be like.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hey there, Maeve!

Life in the "Big 4" Accounting Firms

Embarking on a career journey with a "Big 4" accounting firm can be an exhilarating and fruitful experience. The term "Big 4" is a nod to the four titans of the international professional services sector: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG. These firms are celebrated for their worldwide reach, esteemed status, and a broad spectrum of clients spanning multiple industries.

A Wealth of Job Opportunities

One of the prime perks of aligning with a "Big 4" firm is the abundant selection of job openings on offer. These firms cater to roles in audit, tax, advisory, and consulting services, equipping employees with the opportunity to broaden their horizons in various facets of accounting and business. A stint at a "Big 4" firm can also pave the way for future career prospects, thanks to the firms' robust industry ties and reputation.

Fostering Professional Growth

"Big 4" firms are committed to nurturing their employees' skills and knowledge through comprehensive training programs and resources. These firms are staunch believers in professional growth, providing continuous learning and development opportunities for their employees. The chance to work alongside seasoned professionals also opens up invaluable mentorship and networking possibilities.

Exposure to a Diverse Clientele

One of the standout features of a "Big 4" firm is the exposure to a diverse client base, ranging from budding small businesses to established multinational corporations. This exposure enables employees to work on varied projects, gain insights into different industries, and cultivate a deep comprehension of intricate business operations. It also equips them with crucial experience in client management and relationship building.

Dynamic Work Environment

The work culture at a "Big 4" firm is typically dynamic and challenging, marked by tight deadlines and lofty expectations. Employees may need to put in extra hours during peak times, such as tax season or year-end audits. However, this rigorous environment can also be immensely rewarding, offering avenues for professional growth, skill enhancement, and career progression.

Networking Galore

A "Big 4" firm offers a fertile ground for networking, thanks to their extensive client base and industry ties. Employees get the opportunity to mingle with top brass, industry pioneers, and professionals from diverse backgrounds. Building a robust network can prove instrumental for career progression and future job opportunities.

Global Opportunities

One of the standout perks of being part of a "Big 4" firm is the chance for global exposure. These firms have a footprint in numerous countries worldwide, enabling employees to take on international assignments, work with colleagues from diverse cultures, and gain first-hand experience in global business practices. This global outlook is of paramount importance in today's interconnected business landscape.

To sum it up, a career in a "Big 4" accounting firm comes with a host of benefits such as a plethora of job opportunities, professional development initiatives, exposure to diverse clients, networking opportunities, a challenging work environment, and global exposure. While the job can be demanding, it offers invaluable experience that can set the stage for a thriving career in accounting or business.

Top 3 Credible Sources Used:

Deloitte: Deloitte, a member of the "Big 4," is renowned for its wide array of services including audit & assurance, consulting, tax & legal services.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): PwC, another key player in the "Big 4," offers professional services encompassing audit & assurance, consulting, tax advisory.
Ernst & Young (EY): EY is a globally recognized professional services firm known for its expertise in assurance services like auditing along with consulting & advisory services.

These sources were referenced for insights on life at "Big 4" firms, given their authority in the field of accounting and professional services industry standards.

Wishing you all the best, Maeve!
JC.
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