The Advantages of Big Four Experience
April 4, 2018
If you specialize in corporate finance, accounting, tax consulting or auditing it’s more probable than not that at some point in your career you will arrive at the question— should I work at one of the Big Four companies?
The Big Four — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (Deloitte), Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) and Ernst & Young (EY) — are considered to be world’s top professional services companies. They audit the vast majority of the world’s listed companies, though their service range reaches far beyond that. Together they employ almost one million people around the world. So what are the pros of becoming a part of Big Four? And are there any cons?
Working at Big Four companies means constant training and learning, which these firms willingly and generously support. You will be able to gain internationally-recognized qualifications that would otherwise cost you a lot of money. And we’re not even talking about the myriad of webinars these firms offer and the value of practical experience at such companies.
Every day at your Big Four job you’re bound to be around smart and successful people — both among colleagues and clients. All of these companies also pay considerable attention to various out-of-office lunches and drinks, sports and charity events, offering lots of opportunities for exchanging experiences, bonding, inspiration and networking.
Big Four companies are famous for their rapid advancement opportunities. They are built around clear hierarchies and dynamic promotion policies. They test you with challenges very early on — and if you succeed, you can be pretty sure you will be promoted.
Working with top clients in the world means a lot of travelling. Which, in turn, means opportunities to learn and get accustomed to diverse conditions of work, building your soft skills and getting a glimpse of many different cultures and traditions (and yes, food).
Nothing looks so good on your CV as work experience at one of the world’s leading companies. Not only because the Big Four are famous, but also because many people are well informed about the skillset and responsibilities that this part of your resume represents. Professional experience at a Big Four company is highly convertible across many industries and countries and will help your career in years to come.
But it’s not all roses and butterflies. The cons of working at the Big Four include long (sometimes insanely long) working hours, especially during the busy end of financial year each spring. Salaries for entry positions are not outstanding. Some people might also dislike the rigid hierarchical structure and proliferating office culture. Travelling may become tiring after a while. Do the pros outweigh the cons? The answer is only for you to decide.