7 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Working at the Big 4 (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PWC)

  • Published on Sep 12, 2017
  • In Accounting, there are 4 Public Accounting Firms, referred to as the Big 4: Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, and Ernst & Young. After working at the Big 4, there's a lot that I wish I knew prior to being an employee. In this video I talk about the pros and cons of working in the public accounting firms, and I give a lot of advice depending on your business path and goals
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Comments • 488

  • Energya
    Energya Year ago +1225

    #1 0:43 "It can be monotonous"
    #2 3:35 "It is very different from school"
    #3 5:22 "It looks incredible on your resume"
    #4 7:33 "It is not just 9 to 5"
    #5 10:45 "The firms are pretty much the same, it's the people that make the difference"
    #6 13:02 "You do not need a CPA"
    #7 16:15 "Overall, it's an amazing stepping stone depending on what you want"

    • Nurfitria Risqie Widayanti
      Nurfitria Risqie Widayanti 3 days ago

      @Bracaletti9 my friend in EY in Indonesia works from 8 am until 7 am the next day 😨

    • Carlos Leyte
      Carlos Leyte 10 days ago +1

      Thank god I didn't have to watch this video the entire way through. Someone get this guy a beer

    • The Hopper
      The Hopper 14 days ago

      Thank you. I understand why they are having problems if this is an example of their quality hires.

      ANANTH NARAYANAN Month ago

      You are my hero 😂❤️

    • H H
      H H 2 months ago

      @Bracaletti9 wow...good work life balance

  • Jesse Pacheco arroyo

    I want to work with the big 4 I’m a accountant

  • Priti Agarwal
    Priti Agarwal 2 days ago

    Hey thank for sharing your points
    Please tell me how someone can apply in Big 4 companys

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  2 days ago

      No problem! And this playlist has all my Accounting videos about Hiring, Interviewing, Resumes, etc: ru-clip.com/p/PLC6_h3BCPalUnhjWxg5tKgGYm3VBOgWBC

  • The Hopper
    The Hopper 14 days ago

    Not to mention they double bill, billing the client whose site they are on whilecalling another client on the phone and billing them simultaneously.

  • S A
    S A 26 days ago

    How about IT role?

  • Xuan Feng
    Xuan Feng 27 days ago +1

    Thank you for sharing this helpful information!

  • Gbrand Production
    Gbrand Production 28 days ago +1

    can u please explain the more evidence causes or tips how to enrolled the big four auditing company

  • EbonyLove Anderson
    EbonyLove Anderson 2 months ago

    🌈Love this video💖💖💖💖💖

  • Mr. Mystiks
    Mr. Mystiks 2 months ago +1

    Based on what you said about the work you did at the start in the beginning, that could easily be automated. Especially the fact that it’s the same thing over and over again.

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  2 months ago

      Yea I already did a video on automation, it's definitely going to affect Accounting in some way: ru-clip.com/video/KiWLBWYsCKo/video.html

  • Cai Yi
    Cai Yi 2 months ago +3

    To respond to the question about Big 4 salary. Big 4 salary is actually not bad, if you look at and compare with other industries. Ideally, you should calculate your hourly wage by using your annual chargeable hours as the denominator. A lot of people annualize the busy season hours and then either use that annualized number as a denominator or simply treat their busy season hourly wage as the common one. Utilization, which is total chargeable hours/total hours (total hours = number of working days in a year * 8), for associates and senior associates goes from 80% to 85% on average. Some service lines do have 100% utilization and of course, that doesn't happen everywhere; some service lines have 65% utilization on average. Let's just use New York area as an example. Many senior associates in NY area have an average utilization of 74-78% (average of audit and tax), roughly 1550 chargeable hours. Let's make it to 1650 hours since employees do admin work too, which is not billable to the clients. A senior associate on average in NY (1st yr) makes $80,000 - $85,000 (average of tax and audit). The hourly wage is about $50. $50 per hour is not really bad.

    Many people compare B4 salary to private. The salary level in private is indeed higher but we have to think about it critically. Big 4 accelerates career path. Many Big 4 managers make management promotion in 5 years (on average). And when they switch to private, often time their title are VP of Finance/Tax/Accounting. The salary of such title in private is 30% - 35% (average) higher than the salary of a B4 manager. But if you start an entry-level directly in private, it will take more than 5 years for you to hit VP. A typical career path in private is as this: accountant - > senior accountant -> assistant VP -> VP. If you have 2 years in between, you will need 6 years to hit VP. But the reality is on average, each level of promotion happens after 3 years. So on average in private, you probably need 8 or 9 years to hit VP. And also the VP direct promotion in private takes so much more effort than a B4 manager's private switch. A few friends of mine stuck in AVP or Senior Account for almost 4 years without a sign of VP promotion. With these 3 or 4 more years at B4, a manager probably will make his/her way to director/senior manager. A senior manager/director salary is almost the same as an average VP's salary in private.

    Then the question is: how about a manager/director's life? Well. Their lives are better than senior associates/associates (on average) for sure. Their utilization is usually around 60-70%. A manager's salary (1st yr) is around $125,000 in NY (average of tax and audit) and a director/senior manager's salary (1st yr) is around $180,000 in NY (average of tax and audit). So the hourly wage is $90 and $130, roughly. Again, it's not bad.

    Now let's compare to other industries. Of course, we can't compare B4 to IB, Management Consulting, Doctor, IT, and Legal Services. I will tell you why later. Let me use an example of real estate business. In CBRE, the largest commercial RE firm, a RE project manager makes around $110,000 on average (I rounded up) and works as much as, or even more than a Big 4 manager does. Remember, CBRE is in the front line of RE business while the RE practice at B4 is all about back office function (accounting and tax). However, Big 4 manager on average earns more than CBRE managers do. There is a very interesting demand & supply relationship in public accounting, which drives up the salary in the field. As of now, a senior tax associate at EY NY office can earn close to $100K in the first year (2 or 3 years after entry-level).

    The reason some industries are definitely more profitable than accounting or B4 because people working in those industries front lines are equipped with higher degrees. Education cost does need to worth a bit in the future. But still, a doctor or an IBer's work-life balance is so much worse than a B4 senior associate or manager. Let's just say IB. An IB associate (3 years right after an analyst's career path or 4 yrs average WE + 2 yrs of MBA) can earn as much as $200,000 to $270,000 yearly. But he/she needs to work on average 70 hours a week. You will do the math to see if his/her hourly wage is much better than a B4 manager. But of course, as their tenure goes longer, their earning has a higher ceiling than an accounting firm senior executives.

    Ops, I've written this much...

  • Jay Zee
    Jay Zee 2 months ago +1

    Is it true that if you don’t have an education at a “prestigious”/ target/semi- target university you can’t work at a big four?

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  2 months ago

      That's a myth - you can easily get a job at the Big 4 without an Ivy League Degree

  • TheTraffic247
    TheTraffic247 3 months ago

    The big 4 consulting and advisory practise is far more lucrative as an employee and actually generates a very sizable chunk of their annual revenue than other areas like tax, audit etc.

  • João Neves
    João Neves 3 months ago +1

    8:30 truth!

  • Matthew Naoum
    Matthew Naoum 3 months ago

    Other things; senior associates get no help

  • Saif Ahamed
    Saif Ahamed 3 months ago

    16 hours + here in my country, they take the most of people and we're not even appreciated, 😒

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  3 months ago +1

      Yea it's pretty brutal how they treat people :/

  • T C
    T C 3 months ago +1

    I had to add up numbers in the phone book. I am that old. You dont remember phonebooks i am sure. Somethings never change.

  • Devout Catholic
    Devout Catholic 4 months ago

    I never went to the big 4 because i am type B person

    • Kim Van
      Kim Van 2 months ago

      May i ask what is type B mean

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  4 months ago

      Yea I'm more of a Type B person as well, which is why I didn't last long there haha

  • Charlie Andersson
    Charlie Andersson 5 months ago +1

    Couid you do a comparsion video talking about big 4 compared to McKinsey BCG Bain?

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  5 months ago +1

      Yupp! That's been a highly requested video, I'll be posting it within the next couple weeks

  • Samuel Faict
    Samuel Faict 5 months ago +1

    0:43 "It can be monotonous" Monotonousness is one of the major factors that made me want to commit suicide in a previous job. Monotonousness is what empties you completely from any meaningful achievement in life. You lose all meaninglessness. You start to question your existence, the existence of society and the existence of the universe. What's the purpose of it all? The only meaningful act is the creative act, it is the only thing that distracts you enough from the meaninglessness of existence.

  • Eunice Palma
    Eunice Palma 5 months ago +3

    yeah sometimes it is really 9 to 5 - 9am to 5am during the busy season. lol

  • Lara Gravenor
    Lara Gravenor 5 months ago

    I'm a Chartered Accountant with 15 years post qualified experience. I did my articles at KPMG in audit and now work in Banking in Financial Reporting. I'm a shy person and found clients difficult. I was always criticized for being an introvert in reviews. Being an introvert is something I can't change. At my new job, being a classic introvert accountant is beneficial. At the bank, my reviews are about the actual work and not personality traits. Good things about audit firms and not just Big 4: 1. They provide training for graduates. 2. They expose you to a variety of clients and industries. 3. They are global (I went to London from South Africa) 4. If you get past the initial associate or trainee stage, manager, snr manager and partner is very lucrative. At a higher level, the work will become more interesting. However, to make partner you will probably need to be able to "sell well" to get new business. Now when auditors come to me, I am quite kind to them giving information or explaining the work as I used to be an auditor. 🤗

    • Taly López
      Taly López 4 months ago

      Im an introvert too, but working on it as I'm going to start college this year, I'm wondering what are good paths I could go for

  • Gene Koenen
    Gene Koenen 5 months ago

    Is it possible to work part time at the big 4?

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  5 months ago

      Honestly I don't think so - it would have to be a very specific situation

  • RickReviews
    RickReviews 6 months ago +1

    Ugh. The beginning of this video... I can picture your first day perfectly...

  • AnAverage Guy
    AnAverage Guy 6 months ago +1

    Just got a graduate job from KPMG very excited!

  • giannosfor
    giannosfor 6 months ago +3

    I wonder if the working experience varies based on the country. Worked for more than a year. I must say you forgot to mention the politics and the competitive mentality among coworkers. Big 4 is not for everyone but I must say if you are lucky and work for a good client you might have great opportunities, traveling, bonuses, etc.

  • hui li
    hui li 6 months ago +2

    I applied to pwc talent academy. Very confident in the interview but found out today I didn't get in. Rip

  • John Carlo Peru
    John Carlo Peru 6 months ago +1

    I worked as an intern in one of the big 4. I applied everything I learned from my audit class. I got the chance to deal with clients. I didn't just stayed inside the office and do footing. And by that, I love my internship experience. I'm still on my way to becoming CPA, and I plan in going back to one of the big 4. I love the work of the auditor.

  • DaleG281
    DaleG281 7 months ago +1

    I totally agree about the fund comments. We have 3 listed funds so my busy season is 5-6 months. I’m counting down the days until I finish the ACA. I’ve heard some people working on massive banks, depending on the team it’s 9-5 or it can be as bad as 8-2 the 2-3 weeks before signing (not exaggerating).

  • Creamindi Sam
    Creamindi Sam 7 months ago +2

    Data entry.

  • Sonny Moon
    Sonny Moon 7 months ago +25

    Something that is missing in the video is that Big 4s do more than just accounting, which is part of the Assurance/Audit practice. There's also Advisory, Transaction and Tax.

    • Crow
      Crow 6 months ago +2

      He mentioned everything

    • giannosfor
      giannosfor 6 months ago

      Sonny Moon I think he mentioned Advisory

  • Rayna Wu
    Rayna Wu 7 months ago

    As a university student, has a chance to get into big 4 is awesome. And you’re right that it’s good for your resume. However, as a international student in Australia I fee like they won’t consider to hire me since my first language is not English. And I am working hard to get a high score of IELTS because they needs us to pass the language test to prove ourselves’ language abilities.. Honestly, as a foreign student in an English speaking country, it’s unfair and hard to find a job. We pay on average twice or more the tuition fees which paid by domestic student. However, it adds to the struggles that we coming to work and study in here. Ironic.
    Ahhh I am go too far. And wish everything goes well though

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  7 months ago

      While that might be the case (I can't say for sure), I'd look at it as an advantage. In the interviews I'd even bring up that you're able to converse with clients in numerous languages, which can be really valuable on the job

  • Jacob Greenstone
    Jacob Greenstone 7 months ago

    I appreciate this advice. I got accepted to a internship at KPMG a couple of days ago and while I was super excited at first, it started to dawn on me what I'm getting into and what I would be sacrificing and if it's worth it.

    • mary villalobos
      mary villalobos 7 months ago

      It depends on your client/industry, really... for our client we filed end of Feb then our partners want to plan for next year audits.. so March you start again.. Summer interns are not too bad, we don’t get many, same with seasonal interns. The fall is tough but just depends in your engagement team. Honesty, most of the interns here didn’t do much, and some did. Technically Jan and February are the toughest month for you guys, and then if you get on call to go, to other clients your managers might keep you on their team or have you leave to go to other clients. It just depends, honestly where they place you. Don’t worry too much, stay focus, stay close to the senior associates and managers.

    • Jacob Greenstone
      Jacob Greenstone 7 months ago

      @mary villalobos Is that during the winter or summer internship? I'm already prepared to accept working 70 hours + during the winter since I practically already do that between working full time and going to school full time. I just don't want to have to worry about that year round.

    • mary villalobos
      mary villalobos 7 months ago

      Interns they will work you, but it just depends on which client you get assigned too. My client is Baker Hughes, the interns here worked till midnight 5 days a week for 3 months and weekends it was a full 8 hour. Other clients, I heard interns stay til 9
      Or 10pm weekly. So it just depends if that’s the kind of work you can handle, or want. Best wishes!

  • Nicole Ce
    Nicole Ce 7 months ago +3

    Hello :) I can confirm what you said in this video. I worked at Deloitte in Romania. I liked the environment. Long story short: good experience but very low salaries (especially in Eastern Europe - I know they are here for low salaries but for example I worked in a british team and they were very good professionals but they also had very high standards and it would have been nice to have some decent salaries).

  • DJKhal21
    DJKhal21 7 months ago

    Do Not Do Consulting for these companies

    • DJKhal21
      DJKhal21 6 months ago

      @Bubbles No stability. You work on projects then when projects dry up, you are let go

    • Bubbles
      Bubbles 6 months ago

      DJKhal21 why?

    KAJOL SHARMA 7 months ago

    Hello frnds
    I'm from India
    Hunting for job
    Can anyone help me out???

  • JOE
    JOE 7 months ago +3

    In China’s PwC overtime to 11pm is very very normal. It is a great opportunity to work with big four, but I worked with PwC only two years the pressure has already made my body been crashed, and I decided to quit. Two years after I left PwC I still think it’s a very correct decision to leave the investment banking industry. Health is much more important than earn money. Making a lot of money isn’t the only way to make you happy, even though I haven’t received a lot of rewards during that two years.

  • kr hk
    kr hk 7 months ago +26

    I'd only ever go Big 4 for the prestige. Everyone I've ever spoken to agrees they're all absolutely awful to work for.

    My experience of BDO and RSM is that they're much more reasonable and are still reputable.

    Grant Thornton aren't very good either.

    I'm fortunate to have found a solid career in a small, specialist firm. I get paid the same I would at Big 4, yet work 37 hours per week... I still got my qualification and have gained fantastic experience/lots of responsiblity early in my career. My point is, don't write off the smaller firms - there's a wide world outside the Big 4.

    • Sophie Labelle
      Sophie Labelle 3 months ago


    • kr hk
      kr hk 7 months ago

      @Marc Freccero Cool - I look forward to it!

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  7 months ago +2

      Yea I'm planning on doing a video about the smaller firms - they're severely overlooked

  • Ryan Baron86
    Ryan Baron86 7 months ago +1

    Interesting video and helpful information. Thanks!

  • InterNations
    InterNations 7 months ago

    Hey, thanks for the video.
    You remind me to Greg Audino
    in the film "Kept Boy", have you seen it?
    No, I am not crazy, there are 2 scenes in which he moves and talks like you (or vice versa!) :)

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  7 months ago +1

      Haha not seen it - I'll have to check it out

  • Uchiha Itachi
    Uchiha Itachi 7 months ago +2

    Looks like youtube/google is recordering my voice. I never searched things about big4 and this is in my suggested sub box

    • Uchiha Itachi
      Uchiha Itachi 7 months ago

      Marc Freccero that’s creepy! Well, i would love to work for the big4 one day but not when i just graduated from school. I think when you got some work experience on other companies that you’ll do some better work instead doing the same ‘boring’ thing 🤔

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  7 months ago +2

      I feel like this is getting WAY too common. I was talking about microwaves with my roommates and the next day all I got was ads about microwaves

  • K. P.
    K. P. 8 months ago +4

    You did a very good job with this video. It is better than a majority of accounting videos I've seen on public account because it is strictly straight talk. It's straight talk but also well informed and should help people get a better feel of what they're getting into.

  • syeda Syeda
    syeda Syeda 8 months ago

    I am currently working at Deloitte, busy seasons are worst, we work for almost 16 hrs per day....we sometimes get sick due to the work pressure...there are atleast 5 resignations per month from our team..

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  8 months ago +1

      Yea that sounds like busy season unfortunately

  • Gerard Dunne
    Gerard Dunne 8 months ago +3

    Going to pwc for work experience...I would love to just add up numbers easy peasy

  • Cristián Tapia
    Cristián Tapia 8 months ago +17

    The hole in the wall is the sniper shot from one of the audit partners

  • 0401412740
    0401412740 8 months ago

    I want to start a tax consulting firm.

  • Apple Kim
    Apple Kim 8 months ago +2

    I m not interested working there

  • fokid1
    fokid1 8 months ago

    I just started my internship at one of the big4... I have to say I was never this tired before although I didn't even had to do anything...At this point obviously I can't say if I want to stay there on the long-term but I'm a little terrified because there's really know coaching so If I want to do something I have to ask everybody around if they have anything for me to do, I mean I wasn't excepting them to babysit me but I thought they have like an other kind of method to teach the interns... and yes I don't know how I will be able to do this and university because other interns tell me that they usually have to be in the office till midnight... but one thing I really like that the people are really nice.

    • Immortalkalashnikov
      Immortalkalashnikov 7 months ago

      Yea, they're nice until it's busy season. Then you'll really get to know them.

  • merc340sr
    merc340sr 8 months ago

    Thank you for this video. I thought the same thing about most of the jobs I've held. Boredom is a lot of what work is unfortunately....

  • Arun Das
    Arun Das 8 months ago +1

    Everything is correct except CPA. It's really important for your carrier growth. Without CPA your growth potential is like learning English without grammar.. 😂😂

    • Arun Das
      Arun Das 8 months ago

      @Marc Freccero Yeah may be! I worked in advisory as well as in taxation. They highly recommend CPA or EA for taxation and CPA for auditing. Auditing is a part of advisory function. I am not sure about the other areas they are into.

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  8 months ago

      If you stay in Accounting, a CPA is absolutely necessary. If you plan to go into other areas of business, however, it isn't as necessary

  • Wombat Happiness Girl
    Wombat Happiness Girl 8 months ago

    How long did you work for each of the four firms?

  • YePapote Global
    YePapote Global 9 months ago

    Thanks 🖒

  • Numz
    Numz 9 months ago

    I have an intevriew at one of the big four next week any advice would be apprieceted

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  9 months ago

      Nice!! Check out this playlist: ru-clip.com/p/PLC6_h3BCPalUnhjWxg5tKgGYm3VBOgWBC

      I have a few videos all related to interviewing at the Big 4

  • Mark Sanders
    Mark Sanders 9 months ago +3

    Partners are making tons of money at the expense of others - that s the business model - period !

  • Johnson Yuen
    Johnson Yuen 9 months ago +1

    when I worked across big 4 in Hong Kong the people their personalities are bad and faked, Tim Leung at PwC tax who is not professionally competent only took my strengths in successfully solving his clients long unsolved tax disputes and asked me to resign then without giving me any reason !

    • Adelphi
      Adelphi 9 months ago +1

      He sounds like a freeloader manager - no matter how senior he might be. Sorry you went through a bad time - just look positive to the future. Forget the past. Not worth wasting time or emotions over anyone at work..

  • Banu Prasad
    Banu Prasad 9 months ago +2

    I completed 5 years in PWC and still going on😊

  • Sourav Saha
    Sourav Saha 9 months ago +1

    I started off in Deloitte Consulting US India. I got no other option to work

  • Salman koto
    Salman koto 9 months ago +1

    Can you give some advice for me to get a high chance to internship in there?? what should I prepare? Especially Interview session

    • Miao Miao
      Miao Miao 9 months ago

      @Salman koto I've went for interviews with Deloitte and Pwc, they have asked accounting questions but it was rather simple. One of the companies asked me to email my results for accounting subjects in school after the interview. However, it can depend on the interviewer, the location of the company (maybe different country different ways of doing stuff ) or even the position you have applied for. But you will have to be mentally prepared in case they ask you questions that will test your accounting knowledge.

    • Salman koto
      Salman koto 9 months ago

      I have another question, regarding with interview. Will the interviewer test our accounting knowledge?? @Marc Freccero

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  9 months ago

      I'll do a video on this!

  • jake ma
    jake ma 9 months ago

    I am going to have a job interview with EY and kind nervous but we will see how it goes, thx for this video I really appreciate it. Any tips for the interview with EY?

    • jake ma
      jake ma 9 months ago

      @Sam Thank you Sam!

    • jake ma
      jake ma 9 months ago

      @Marc Freccero Thank You Marc!!

    • Sam
      Sam 9 months ago

      Highly recommend checking out the site 'Glassdoor'. They provide common interview questions asked by the company and a ton of other useful insights.

    • Marc Freccero
      Marc Freccero  9 months ago

      This video should help: ru-clip.com/video/AeMSN2vMtIo/video.html

  • Marc Lee
    Marc Lee 10 months ago +3

    This is only applicable to auditing but not other service lines. There is a difference in all four, depending on the department and teams. I mean you worked 1 year for Deloitte come on. Deals, Strategy and Transactions pay much more than Audit, the work is not repetitive.. CPA is important if you want to get promoted from SC to M... Come on.. Mostly the CPA will be sponsored by the big4 if you want to get promoted.

    • sanjana mohit
      sanjana mohit 7 months ago

      I agree with you

    • Dustin D
      Dustin D 9 months ago

      I agree- I think this video needs to clarify this is how it is in audit, and not necessarily all of these service lines.

  • Pol Songpol
    Pol Songpol 10 months ago +1

    I work for Deloitte in SEA and I really hate my job right now lol.

    • John John
      John John 7 months ago

      What is your job in Deloitte SEA?