Do you need listed client experience to join Big 4

Got an offer to join a top 10 UK firm to work with non-listed companies and want to join Big 4 later

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Hi everyone, hope you're well.

I'm a final year university student and I recieved a graduate offer to work for a top 10 UK audit firm, and my role is specifically within audit for privately owned companies. I really like this role, although my long term ambition is to go to the Big 4 after I finish my training contract and get my ACA, and then go into industry to work as a finance professional in a large, listed company.

I want to join the Big 4 to get experience of auditing large, listed companies and also because for industry finance roles at listed companies, they heavily prefer Big 4 employees with this experience. If I want to land this type of role at Big 4 to do audits for listed companies, would I be at a disadvantage if I didn't have experience of doing audits for them at my current top 10 firm? I spoke to a few PwC auditors before and they said no, but would want to get more opinions on it too. Thanks in advance!

Replies (12)

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By Justin Bryant
23rd Feb 2024 12:35

No, and speaking from experience you just need an ability to do a mediocre job well and to be exploited and to do whatever your Big4 boss tells you to do basically (without going over budget of course). (At least that's how things were 20 years ago I recall.)

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David Winch
By David Winch
23rd Feb 2024 12:57

If you have been offered a role you really like then accept the offer! Your plans for future development of your career may change beyond all recognition, so be prepared to be flexible.
David

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By B Roberts
23rd Feb 2024 13:03

Congratulations on your job offer.

When you are qualified in 3 years it will then be much easier to move to a Big 4 firm at that point if that is what you want to do.

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Replying to B Roberts:
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By staples
23rd Feb 2024 22:31

Thanks, I see. And as everyone says, this is the case even without experience of auditing listed companies, isn't it

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
23rd Feb 2024 13:14

If the people in a position to know tell you it isn't a problem, why are you still concerned?

No doubt it would be an advantage to have the experience. But not even the Big 4 is going to consisting only of highly experienced staff. At most, it will affect the level you start at.

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Replying to stepurhan:
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By staples
23rd Feb 2024 22:30

Oh I don't doubt what the others said at all, just reading extra responses helps ease my mind when it comes to my questions. I have ADHD so do tend to overthink things haha

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By paul.benny
23rd Feb 2024 13:25

I think you're under a few misapprehensions about career paths and recruiter preferences.

ACA in practice is certainly a good training. In Top10 firms, most roles are audit based but the actual job experience has little direct bearing on the work you will do once you move into industry ("industry" = not in an accounting firm).

Big4 vs Top 10 is a bit like Oxbridge vs Russell Group - more prestigious but not necessary better for the particular job. Although some big companies may specify Big4 trained, newly/recently qualified ACA are in short supply and so I think few would exclude candidates with Top10 firm training.

May I also suggest that your career plan may not survive contact with reality. You might find that as you go through your training, some aspect of the work appeals and you follow that rather than the path you've outlined. Even if you do get into a large listed company, roles vary hugely from dry head office roles to hands on roles at operational sites.

I trained many years ago in one of the then top practices but left for industry soon after qualifying. Happy to chat through some my experience and thoughts - PM me.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By staples
23rd Feb 2024 22:28

Thanks Paul! Appreciate your kind response. I don't have anything else to ask right now but glad that I can PM you if I do have any later on.

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stonks
By WinterDragon
23rd Feb 2024 13:35

I'm feeling second-hand burnout through just reading your ambition. Good luck, I'm too old (he says in his twenties)

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Replying to WinterDragon:
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By staples
23rd Feb 2024 22:27

WinterDragon wrote:

I'm feeling second-hand burnout through just reading your ambition. Good luck, I'm too old (he says in his twenties)

Haha, that is something I do think about from time to time. When we're young, we're super ambitious because we haven't started our careers yet (not counting internships or placements). I guess when the full stress of full time work comes in, your ambition is tested.

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By paulhammett
23rd Feb 2024 13:55

OP - some excellent advice from the contributors above. Good luck.

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By Postingcomments
23rd Feb 2024 16:31

I'd say join the biggest firm you can at the start. It is easier to move down rather than up.

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