The Footnotes

ACCOUNTING, BANKING & FINANCE

“I have been rejected by the Big 4 in the Audit Division”

“How do I get into the Big 4 when I do not know anyone there and can’t go through the grad recruitment?”

WELCOME, TO ANOTHER FOOTNOTES ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION.

I have obtained a job related to Auditing but it is not with the Big 4. It does give me ‘auditing’ experience in a general sense, but not the same as a financial audit of a private company.

I really want to work for the Big 4 (either long term or short term so that I can get it on my CV). It sucks that I would be perfect for the role yet no one wants to give me a chance.

The firm that I will eventually be starting with sucks compared. Everyone that works there are “Big 4 rejects” like me.

So I have some questions:

Is it possible for anyone to ever enter the Big 4 without a Grad role? I assume most grads will eventually leave for the private sector, so it should create positions. Will they just advertise internally and just promote internally? How do I get into the Big 4 when I do not know anyone there and can’t go through the grad recruitment?

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For this round table discussion we called in:

  • Six ‘Big 4s’

Big 4.1

Keep your chin up. Of 4000 applicants, probably 20 make it in. Just because you didn’t get into a Big 4 firm doesn’t mean you’re screwed. Big 4 graduates probably get rejected from places like bulge bracket Investment banks or MBB (management consulting firms) down the track.

Look at the positives – you won’t have to work 50-60 hour weeks for a $50k salary.

If you’re really dead-set on getting in, try again next year and focus on what areas you messed up in. Or apply as an experienced candidate and use what experience you’ve got.

Big 4.2

The answer to your question, is it possible for anyone to ever enter the Big 4 without a Grad role? Yes. You think all jobs at big 4’s are through grad programs? I bet less than 10% of a big 4 workforce is through grad programs. The rest are experienced hires.

You seem to have a pre-conceived notion that once you graduate with your degree, whether it be in accounting, commerce or law, that you automatically have a god-given right to be in the best the best industry…everyone starts off with those hopes… Reality check – having a big 4 on you CV will look very nice – but that shouldn’t be your primary goal – a resume filler…You need to enjoy the job you’re in opposed to living on high hopes of a reputation builder.

In an ideal world, working for all 4 Big 4 firms would be awesome – but very unlikely to the point where it will never happen.

Big 4.3

Have you even looked at the 2nd-tier firms? Grant Thornton, BDO, Pitcher Partners, WHF etc. These firms are all international – coming in 5th after the big4 is BDO, who have just as good opportunities…

Instead of getting depressed about not getting into your dream firm, use this as an opportunity to make the best of your current audit job. Be the guy/girl who is full of passion, skill and ambition so you can inspire others in your firm to feel the same. Who knows, you may end up being partner one day with all of the big 4 firms begging to have you.

Ultimately, success is all about attitude, work ethic and a dash of luck. Make the most of what you have and bigger and better things will come your way. Good luck.

Big 4.4

I think you are grossly exaggerating how much you’d enjoy audit at a big 4 as opposed to what ever you’re going to be doing.

Auditing is the same no matter where you work. If you hate auditing working in a mid-tier or boutique, you will hate it working in a Big 4. It’s always possible to get in a big 4 as experienced hire, but you’d better change your attitude before you reapply.

You really need to fix your attitude and disrespect for other tier 2 companies.

A lot of people have started at the tier 2/3 and still made themselves more successful than the big 4 graduates.

Big 4.5

With this attitude, you are lucky to have a job! There are always better opportunities out there than whatever job you have. I got a big 4 offer but I’d rather be working for an IB or MBB but I didn’t get through. Does that mean I think big 4 sucks and everyone working in the big 4 is sad? Hell no.

Most students want to work at the Big 4 because they get better salaries and the reputation can help them snag better jobs in the future. This reputation about salary is definitely NOT up front. Reality check, most people (even in Big 4) will complain about their work.

Big 4.6

A mate has just ditched his Big4 grad job after 5 months and is about to start a government entry level job. He quickly tired of the corporate games that comes with grad roles (especially in the big 4 firms or banks). His entry level job actually pays nearly $1k more, plus gives him flex time and RDO’s and his work will improve Australia not just fatten a partner’s wallet.

“I have been rejected by the Big 4 in the Audit Division”
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