Originally Posted by Reevolving
Can you talk more about this? This is important for people to know.
Don't get me wrong...in a lot of ways I'm still a big fan of the Big4...it's where I got my start and I wouldn't have the job/position/salary I have now if it weren't for them....someone who makes it out of a Big4 firm without getting fired has basically survived accounting/finance/business bootcamp. There's a reason they are consistently voted by many reputable publications as one of the 20-50 Best Places to Start a Career. You're basically being paid to soak up the knowledge of some very large/powerful companies...but you're also learning this much at the expense of any personal/social life you may want (if you want to see daylight between January and April, do not work in public accounting). On the other hand, the last 2-3 years in the Big4 have been SHITTAY. You'd be hard pressed to find a staff (1st through 4th year) that is very happy with their job, both the work-life balance and the salary. The mantra in the Big4 when I started in 2006 was "every 5 years your salary will double"...."we work hard and play hard". Yes, you'd work your ass off (80, 90, 100 hour weeks for a few months), but you'd get paid for it and there were other perks. When the economy took a shit and tons of clients went out of business/were bought out and existing clients wanted to pay lower fees, we lost a lot of business, raises came to a screeching halt, and any small perks disappeared. At my firm in LA (and I'm pretty sure this is across the board), raises were 0% in 2009 and in the single digits recently in 2010. To top it off, we were being told by partners to basically "suck it up"...there was no "We appreciate your efforts, we'll get through this...*pep talk*pep talk*" With how stressful the job is, this lack of appreciation for our working through the tough times just wasn't there....I don't think the partners realized that can go a long way. I won't get in to the details of how/why the job itself eventually sucked. What used to be an interesting profession that provoked critical thinking/research/complex analytical skills turned into a job of checklist upon fucking checklist. With all the lawsuits facing the firms, they basically took any subjectivity and decision making out of the job and made sure you followed the goddamn checklist. The thought of preparing a General Binder is making my skin crawl. When the economy picked up in late 09-10, things got worse....people would leave (there is a high amount of turnover in this industry, hence the emphasis on constant recruiting at the campus level) and there was MORE work for the people left over...just no pay or bonuses to match that increased workload. This was right around the time I left. I had had it and wanted OUT. I got a call from a client I audited for 3 years and they had a management position available....since they knew me and the quality of my work, I didn't even have to interview..they wanted ME...I was able to name my price and my terms (this is where I wouldn't be where I am w/out Big4). I almost doubled my salary and cut my hours in half...more money, less work...can't beat that! Back to the original point of Big4 vs. Mid-Tier. There is no doubting that the resources available at Mid-Tier are just not the same as Big4. The opportunity to work on Fortune 100-500 clients just isn't there...the chance to do long term international rotations isn't there (I don't think). However, when it comes down to it...audit is audit is audit. Whether you're auditing Bank of America or Local Bank X, you're still getting the experience of auditing a bank. IN FACT, you generally get more experience at a smaller client since a company of any considerable size is so massive, you'll only see a piece of the puzzle. I think people just get so caught up in the NAME of the company that they lose track of the big picture. I've spoken to so many recruits who even get caught up in the rankings/prestige among the Big4 even though there's hardly any impact of that rank in their day to day lives. WHO CARES if Deloitte is currently pulling in more worldwide revenue than PWC or EY or KPMG?? Are YOU gonna get paid more? Is someone gonna give you a gold star? Furthermore, WHO CARES if Grant Thornton's revenues are $5B and the lowest ranked Big4 (KPMG) is at $20B?? Are YOU gonna get paid more? Will people spit on you in the streets? Please. /rant