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Transaction services vs Audit

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    Do you still train up for the ACA qualification if you do transaction services. How is transaction services and audit different from each other in terms of hours, pay, the kind of job you do??
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    I'm following the ICAS syllabus, which is basically the same sort of content and level as the ICAEW one; I'm in tax myself, and had TS people in my class, so I'd guess the same applies for the ACA as for the CA. Check with the firm in question though.
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    At PwC I can confirm that Transaction Services people will do the ACA qualification, pay is better, though the scale of differance depends on where you are. The job is significantly diffrent. Though as a member of TS/TAS you have to do 3 months mandatory audit work to fulfil your professional obligations for the ACA.

    With regards to the differance in jobs, in TS, i have spent much of my time doing Financial Due Diligence and occassionally Commercial Due Diligence - you don't go down to the same microscopic level as one would in audit.
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    Also I've heard audit is the largest section therefore has the most internships available at places like PWC, so is an internship in transaction services more difficult to get then an audit one??
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    I don't believe formal internship opportunities exist within Transaction Services.
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    (Original post by Chilly)
    Also I've heard audit is the largest section therefore has the most internships available at places like PWC, so is an internship in transaction services more difficult to get then an audit one??
    Sounds about right. Don't know the details for each company, but KPMG began taking on TS interns this year. There were 2 in the Birmingham office and probably a few more in London
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    how easy would it be to switch at the end of an internship in audit to a full time position in transaction services?

    at the end of the internship do they just come round and ask which department you would like to work in?
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    (Original post by mendelssohn)
    how easy would it be to switch at the end of an internship in audit to a full time position in transaction services?

    at the end of the internship do they just come round and ask which department you would like to work in?
    I did just that, and know a couple of others who did too.

    A few things to consider though - Now that some Big 4 firms are taking on TS/CF interns directly (due to the relatively new trend of taking on fresh grads), there may be less scope for an audit intern to make the switch. Secondly, with fewer spots available there's a risk that grad recruitment have already allocated them before you make your own request to move. I don't think TS & CF face the staffing pressures that typically face audit, so they may be less willing to accommodate an extra body which hadn't been budgeted for, particularly when there will be more than one person hoping to tranfer. Finally, you'll need to justify the change in heart, which means getting some time in TS during your internship. Your department should be happy to accommodate this, but you'll need to be proactive in arranging it given that you're not around for very long. I think this is the most important point - once you've met a few people in the department, you'll have someone to vouch for your enthusiasm and knowledge of a few names/issues to mention in your interview.

    Until you say otherwise, the assumption will be that you're hoping for an audit grad position. If you want to change, you'll need to flag this before your final partner interview at the end of the internship. Depending on availability they may then arrange for you to be interviewed by a TS partner or an audit partner who is involved in TS work.

    In all, it has definatly been possible in the past but I suspect it's a little harder now they have their own interns. I knew I didn't want to do audit long term after spending a bit of time there, so would have walked away if they said it was audit or nothing. If you're relatively indifferent between the two, then the audit internship --> TS/CF grad route is worth a punt. Otherwise, I'd apply directly and avoid the gamble.
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    (Original post by astralcars)
    I did just that, and know a couple of others who did too.

    A few things to consider though - Now that some Big 4 firms are taking on TS/CF interns directly (due to the relatively new trend of taking on fresh grads), there may be less scope for an audit intern to make the switch. Secondly, with fewer spots available there's a risk that grad recruitment have already allocated them before you make your own request to move. I don't think TS & CF face the staffing pressures that typically face audit, so they may be less willing to accommodate an extra body which hadn't been budgeted for, particularly when there will be more than one person hoping to tranfer. Finally, you'll need to justify the change in heart, which means getting some time in TS during your internship. Your department should be happy to accommodate this, but you'll need to be proactive in arranging it given that you're not around for very long. I think this is the most important point - once you've met a few people in the department, you'll have someone to vouch for your enthusiasm and knowledge of a few names/issues to mention in your interview.

    Until you say otherwise, the assumption will be that you're hoping for an audit grad position. If you want to change, you'll need to flag this before your final partner interview at the end of the internship. Depending on availability they may then arrange for you to be interviewed by a TS partner or an audit partner who is involved in TS work.

    In all, it has definatly been possible in the past but I suspect it's a little harder now they have their own interns. I knew I didn't want to do audit long term after spending a bit of time there, so would have walked away if they said it was audit or nothing. If you're relatively indifferent between the two, then the audit internship --> TS/CF grad route is worth a punt. Otherwise, I'd apply directly and avoid the gamble.
    Thanks, that made for interesting reading. My problem here is that I already have applied for the audit internships, and so am too late to apply for the ts internships. Ideally I would want to work in corporate finance, but I also want to obtain the ACA qualification, which the big4 do not offer in corporate finance (except PwC). It seems to me the closest work to corporate finance in which you can get the ACA is transaction services. In your experience does this sound sensible?

    Again thanks for taking the time to help..
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    Several of the the new grads in the TS team I worked in, interned in Audit then moved to Transaction Services no probs....just had to interview with a TS partner at the end of their internship.

    It would definitely be easier to get into TS after your audit internship if you've applied to a regional office.
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    (Original post by Redeyejedi)
    Several of the the new grads in the TS team I worked in, interned in Audit then moved to Transaction Services no probs....just had to interview with a TS partner at the end of their internship.

    It would definitely be easier to get into TS after your audit internship if you've applied to a regional office.
    unfortunately its in london...

    In terms of prestige or interesting work, would you say it is better to work in Deloitte transaction services or Corporate Finance at PwC? I hear that Deloitte has a generally better corpfin/ts department than PwC...

    (I say this because I want the aca and deloitte dont offer it in their corpfin department)
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    Deloitte deal flow is not as high as PwC - consult Thompson Middle Market Merger and Acquisitions League tables to see how big the disparity actually is, but in my opinion Big 4 TS > Big 4 Corporate Finance in terms of exit opportunities, not necessarily pay/prestige - and trust me, an ACA from TS will stand you in an excellant position if you want to end up in Front Office M&A/Corporate Finance.

    What makes TS so attractive is the fact you have an innate understanding of a companies cash flow and key performance indicators etc - which is supposedly particularly useful if you want to move into larger IBD Corporate Finance/Advisory roles..where Corporate Financiers would not necessarily have that knowledge.

    That said, Corporate Finance probably has the "edge" prestige wise, however you have to understand that you won't be working on the huge $1bn< deals that you would see in a IBs corporate Finance team.

    All depends on what you want - personally I would go for the solid professional qualification (ACA) and then move into a larger corporate finance team in the city. That way you've got something to fall back when the banks sack everyone. I think your on the right lines by going for the ACA.

    Good luck!
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    thanks redeye, that was really useful, and just what I am looking to hear really.

    Still have this one problem though which is now double edged:

    where would be better to work in, transaction services in deloitte or in PwC. double edged because of the following problem:

    1. where would be more exciting/ prestigious to work or would have the best clients/m&a deals.
    2. which would be more likely to allow me to switch into transaction services at the end of my audit internship.

    again thanks for really helping me
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    1.) Literally nothing between the two, though according the Q3 Thompson MMM&A, PwC beat Deloitte hands down in EMEA..whether that means PwC advise on higher profile, higher value acquisitions or just more acquisitions, I don't know. But in terms of moving out of the Big 4, I'm pretty sure there is an undistinguishable nigh irrelevant differance in the two - though Deloitte do pay more.

    2.) Couldn't possibly say. As I have said, I am aware of several people who moved from audit to Transaction Services post-internship for their grad roles. I interned in Transaction Services in the first place at PwC, so I can't comment from experiance either. And sorry havent a clue about the ease of movement within Deloitte.
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    (Original post by mendelssohn)
    1. where would be more exciting/ prestigious to work or would have the best clients/m&a deals.
    As Redeyejedi says, prestige probably shouldn't play a big part in your decision. Both companies and divisions are well respected. Both deal in middle market clients, and it's not a trivial issue to judge what makes a one set of deals/clients 'better' than another. e.g. for the partner the best deal may be whatever contributes most to the bonus pool. For you, the best deal may be a tiny unprofitable one that nontheless give you scope to take on more reponsibility and learn more.

    I personally feel that the focus on financial analysis and technical accounting knowledge you'll pick up in TS will be more valuable than what you'll gain from doing lots of company research & collating info on past deals for pitch books in CF. My knowledge of life in CF is limited (input from anyone would be appreciated!), but my impression is that the reality of day to day life as a junior member stands in sharp contrast to the prestige associated with the division.
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    thanks guys, all your advice has been really helpful and I think I have decided now on transaction services based on your ideas.
    Now to phone up people at both companies to find out the ease of switching!

    I am choosing accounting over consultancy for my first few years of career due to the financial knowledge it will give me for a later move into i-banking. Does this sound right or would consultancy be a better bet? I personally think accounting will give me a great financial grounding that I might miss out on in consulting, but consulting would appear more prestigious to future employers..

    again thanks for being so helpful.

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Updated: December 25, 2007
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