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What's Life like in Audit?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,
 
First post here but I've been lurking on and off for a few years now. I'm a college student and in the fall semester of my senior year. I just got a full-time offer as an audit staff (accounting major) at one of the larger firms in CT- not big four but big enough for me. I'd just like some insight from some of you guys that work in accounting (preferably on the audit side vs. tax obviously) to give me some insight on what to expect day-to-day and the like. I understand that there's some travel involved in the job, also curious what that's like, when a first year like myself will have enough experience to travel (1 year, 2 years?), and just any general tips that you guys could give me regarding accounting.
 
The job starts September 2013 by the way. 
 
Thanks 
post #2 of 13
Your first year in audit is very monotonous. Lot's of ticking, tying, footing, cross footing. Travel depends entirely on the client you're on. You're at the bottom of the barrel, so expect to do all of the grunt work and anything time consuming.

General tips
1. If your senior says be at X place at a certain time you had better be there. If he or she says to get X done by end of the day/week/weekend it had better be done.
2. Don't talk back to your senior or manager. Don't be afraid to ask them questions if you don't understand something.
3. If there's an issue bring it to your superior's attention immediately. Nobody likes surprises.
4. Unless you work in financial services, expect to do inventory observations.
5. Most importantly, keep a good attitude. The senior, manager, and partner were all 1st year staff at one point and know it sucks to be a 1st year. None of them want to hear your whining about the job.
post #3 of 13
Are you going for your CPA license? If you are good place to be. TRaaverling for work totally is boring and it kinda sucks-eating dinner alone.
post #4 of 13
In audit, expect working short periods (month or 2) of long nights till 12 am or longer.

You do get dinner covered and the whole team is there with you so it's not as bad as it sounds. Think of it like camping.
post #5 of 13

"busy season" is a recruiting lie, and you could easily be busy year round.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimgood View Post

"busy season" is a recruiting lie, and you could easily be busy year round.

That happens if the manager is a dick and a poor planner.

Or the economy went to shit.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasmade View Post

Your first year in audit is very monotonous. Lot's of ticking, tying, footing, cross footing. Travel depends entirely on the client you're on. You're at the bottom of the barrel, so expect to do all of the grunt work and anything time consuming.
General tips
1. If your senior says be at X place at a certain time you had better be there. If he or she says to get X done by end of the day/week/weekend it had better be done.
2. Don't talk back to your senior or manager. Don't be afraid to ask them questions if you don't understand something.
3. If there's an issue bring it to your superior's attention immediately. Nobody likes surprises.
4. Unless you work in financial services, expect to do inventory observations.
5. Most importantly, keep a good attitude. The senior, manager, and partner were all 1st year staff at one point and know it sucks to be a 1st year. None of them want to hear your whining about the job.

+1
post #8 of 13

1. If you're in audit, 95% of the time you'll be traveling, but typically within driving distance of your office. Almost the entire audit process is done onsite at the client's offices, especially when you're a first or second year. That said, there can be times when you're staying in a hotel. I was probably in a hotel 30% of the time in my first year. Mind you it wasn't anywhere glamorous. More likely it's kind of a small place without a close Big 4 office nearby, otherwise most likely the closest office in that market would do the audit. Not 100% the case, but more often than not.

 

2. If there is ever a senior associate/manager/etc that you liked working with, and for whatever reason seems like to like, learn to suck up good and fast. The best case scenario is for someone in that level to pull you onto their audits whenever they're staffing the teams. 1) You're more likely to start doing less stupid stuff (e.g. ticking & tying) earlier because they'll trust you with more complex tasks; 2) they're probably easier to work for if you like them; 3) they understand your schedule better and ideally will try to accommodate if possible; 4) they'll be the ones you go to to push for you when you're looking to guide your career in a certain direction. I regularly worked with the same couple of people most of my time in Big 4, and I feel like my experiences were significantly better than most my peers- both from a learning perspective and from a enjoyability perspective.

 

3. I can't stress this enough, but whenever you get some shitty task to do, just shut the hell up, smile and do it. The more you put up a negative attitude, the more you'll get that type of work. Once you've built a reputation for yourself for working hard and trustworthy, you can start to bitch and moan with the rest of the people that have earned their stripes so to speak. But as a first year just starting out, no one gives a shit you need to check X number of invoices against the ledgers or drive X amount of miles.

 

4. I don't know what firm you're working for, but in general, you have to take control of your career. If there's something you want, you need to figure out what needs to be done to get it. If you're lucky, you'll have a few supporters help push you along the way. But no one, not even your assigned "buddies" or "mentors", will do the dirty work for you. If you want more public company experience, be vocal about it. If you want to start senioring jobs your second year, be vocal about it. Again, you have to make things happen- but don't expect it to happen instantaneously.

 

5. The difference between an average rating and above average is negligible when it comes to raises, but it requires you to stand out significantly more than your peers. I'm not saying that's a good excuse to just do the bare minimum, because being noticed positively has other intangible benefits to you. But I'm saying that don't stress about work so much. Somehow the audit will always get done. It's just a job. Work hard when you need to, and enjoy your life when you can.

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by swimgood View Post

"busy season" is a recruiting lie, and you could easily be busy year round.

+1. Whenever a manager says "great learning opportunity", that ALWAYS means a shitty client.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

wow awesome advice guys thanks so much! I'm definitely going to keep all of these tips in my mind when i go to start

 

the busy season recruiting lie comment was funny- I was told that it'd be january-june, but i can definitely understand it being more than just that if a certain project needs to get finished or whatever

 

i also can understanding being a first year and having to do the shit jobs- i'm obviously the lowest ranking member, so if i won't do the job, who will? 

 

I definitely do plan on getting my CPA- not right at first as I'll still be taking classes to fulfill my 150 credit hour requirement, but certainly in the first couple of years

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasmade View Post

+1. Whenever a manager says "great learning opportunity", that ALWAYS means a shitty client.

LOL.

That's a secret you shoulda kept wink.gif
post #12 of 13
Out of curiosity, what does a first year auditer at a big 4 firm earn in comp?
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

This article gives a great summary for this year's Big 4 starting salaries- both in audit and tax:

 

http://goingconcern.com/post/update-recruiting-season-public-accounting-salaries-starting-class-2013

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