Balancing work and life at big 4 Watch

Simonthegreat
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
Yes I am in audit, not planning on staying as industry seems a lot more interesting and the big 4 culture really doesn't suit my personality or life aspirations. Generic references are a must really as your don't have a boss in the traditional sense as you work for so many different people.
How long are you obliged to stay with them?
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by Simonthegreat)
I am sure I have seen somewhere that they say that the value their staff and give help with balancing work and life with various schemes and flexible working:confused: Is is just a ploy
to lure people in ? This kind of truth is never exposed.
If there is flexible working, I've never heard of these schemes! There is currently a campaign running in my firm to get us time off in lieu - no one is paid overtime so 14 hour days over busy season never receive recompense down the line currently. Only thing I'm aware of is that women who have kids are able to work part-time but this hardly affects most 21/22 year olds starting out.

You're not obligated to stay anytime at all, but in general you'll stay 3 years minimum as this is the amount of the time you need to complete the work experience element to get the ACA. If you left, even having passed your exams, you wouldn't get the qualification as you have to have been working for 3 years.
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kka25
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(Original post by Simonthegreat)
I am sure I have seen somewhere that they say that the value their staff and give help with balancing work and life with various schemes and flexible working:confused: Is is just a ploy
to lure people in ? This kind of truth is never exposed.
My former boss said that; I told him I wouldn't want to join project X because I know that I'd need to do long hours, up until the morning even, and I'm not willing to do that.

He said, "no, no, we never do that and besides it's illegal to do that!".
Yeah right ... people are still working until 4 - 6AM for project X.

Bosses like to BS. Take their word with a pinch of salt.
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Simonthegreat
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
If there is flexible working, I've never heard of these schemes! There is currently a campaign running in my firm to get us time off in lieu - no one is paid overtime so 14 hour days over busy season never receive recompense down the line currently. Only thing I'm aware of is that women who have kids are able to work part-time but this hardly affects most 21/22 year olds starting out.

You're not obligated to stay anytime at all, but in general you'll stay 3 years minimum as this is the amount of the time you need to complete the work experience element to get the ACA. If you left, even having passed your exams, you wouldn't get the qualification as you have to have been working for 3 years.
The hours that are done are terrible. It can't be good for your health. I do hope they sort something out for you guys. When will you know ? Do get time off to study? Must take my chapeau off to you..
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Simonthegreat
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(Original post by kka25)
My former boss said that; I told him I wouldn't want to join project X because I know that I'd need to do long hours, up until the morning even, and I'm not willing to do that.

He said, "no, no, we never do that and besides it's illegal to do that!".
Yeah right ... people are still working until 4 - 6AM for project X.

Bosses like to BS. Take their word with a pinch of salt.
WOW. that is incredible! Good on you for standing up for your rights. If more staff did that then maybe these companies would not exploit staff. Was it a big 4 you were with?
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Avieness
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#26
Just to give a slightly different perspective (second year Big 4 non-London):

It's 9-5 hours 80% of the time - the occasional late finish is 7pm (generally we get kicked out earlier than that by the client). Occasional weekends for 3rd/4th years if they need to catch up in busy season and the client is being particularly awkward. 1st/2nd years will do a stock count on a weekend at some point but managers generally try to let them leave early/arrive late in lieu.

Often have 1-1.5 hours travel either side but clear roads so mileage v time spent travelling is generally favourable if driving. Might be away in hotels for 4-5 weeks a year. 20 days in the office at the very most. No studying outside the 6-8 week class/exam blocks with just one exam left after first 12/15 months if pass the first 9 - now 10 I believe - exams first time (90% of people sitting them do so).

Definitely juggling multiple audits at a time - could be on two engagements in the same week, plus follow ups from previous engagements, and looking ahead to forthcoming engagements. Could be working on anything from a FTSE 100 group team to component auditor liaising with overseas member firms right down to local companies in-charged by a 3rd year (or even a 2nd year in some instances) in any non Financial Services industry you can think of. There's a lot more responsibility on 2nd/3rd years on the smaller engagements as there will usually only be the manager and partner above you compared to the larger audits where multiple assistant managers, managers and even multiple partners may be involved.

Rather limited opportunities to do the extra stuff Chapeau Rouge mentions - not least because most events, especially internal ones, will be in London. On the other hand, there is an expectation that everyone pulls their weight in a small department. After all it's a bit unfair if the social committee organise nights out and nobody else does anything. Could be the audit sampling expert or coaching the new first years/school leavers etc.

Salary and bonus even paltrier than London but far lower living costs and no commute on the underground so a relatively decent lifestyle on the other hand. Lots of secondment opportunities.

Like everything else in life, your mileage will vary - even within the same department/engagement, people can have a very different experience.
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kka25
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#27
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#27
(Original post by Simonthegreat)
WOW. that is incredible! Good on you for standing up for your rights. If more staff did that then maybe these companies would not exploit staff. Was it a big 4 you were with?
I'm not in the audit line but despicable bosses and companies are abundant in this planet.
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Narcissist
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Just adding another side to the coin here:

I work for a much smaller firm in central London (approx 20 staff at my office).

I've passed all my exams, I rarely work longer than 9-5 which is standard in my firm. The latest I've ever worked is about 8pm, once.

The downside? I'll probably have to make a bridging jump if I want to move to industry and sit out a year at a bigger firm. Salary is slightly less (39k qualified) but per hour I'll probably be coming out ahead.

If all you're after is the qualification, a small firm is a good option. You also get a lot of face to face time with client staff.
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voiceofreason234
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#29
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Lol have a think about this guys...

Your salary is about £24k when you start (London), right? After tax, NI, and student loan repayments that's £18.6k. Divide that by 12 months of the year and you're getting £1550 a month. Let's say you work 9-7pm on average, so a 10 hour day. 220 hours average a month (22 working days).

£1550/220 hours = £7.04 an hour.

For comparison a minimum wage worker on 6.50 an hour working 40 hours a week (40*52 = 2080 a year) will earn 5.80 an hour after tax/NI.

Your hourly is £1.24 above a burger flipper. You really went to uni for that??
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Muhammad4391
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(Original post by voiceofreason234)
Lol have a think about this guys...

Your salary is about £24k when you start (London), right? After tax, NI, and student loan repayments that's £18.6k. Divide that by 12 months of the year and you're getting £1550 a month. Let's say you work 9-7pm on average, so a 10 hour day. 220 hours average a month (22 working days).

£1550/220 hours = £7.04 an hour.

For comparison a minimum wage worker on 6.50 an hour working 40 hours a week (40*52 = 2080 a year) will earn 5.80 an hour after tax/NI.

Your hourly is £1.24 above a burger flipper. You really went to uni for that??
Not to mention the burger flipper will be coming out with a fantastic qualification at the end of the 3 years!
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voiceofreason234
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#31
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(Original post by Muhammad4391)
Not to mention the burger flipper will be coming out with a fantastic qualification at the end of the 3 years!
Holy crap I forgot to include study time for that mediocre qualification. Maybe the burger flipper is actually better off.
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Simonthegreat
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#32
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#32
(Original post by voiceofreason234)
Lol have a think about this guys...

Your salary is about £24k when you start (London), right? After tax, NI, and student loan repayments that's £18.6k. Divide that by 12 months of the year and you're getting £1550 a month. Let's say you work 9-7pm on average, so a 10 hour day. 220 hours average a month (22 working days).

£1550/220 hours = £7.04 an hour.

For comparison a minimum wage worker on 6.50 an hour working 40 hours a week (40*52 = 2080 a year) will earn 5.80 an hour after tax/NI.

Your hourly is £1.24 above a burger flipper. You really went to uni for that??
I can see why your screen name is voice of reason. You make a lot of sense and I agree completely with you. I don't think people see it from this perspective and I think it is a form of exploitation. What can those in this dilemma do?
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Simonthegreat
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#33
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#33
(Original post by kka25)
I'm not in the audit line but despicable bosses and companies are abundant in this planet.
Completely agree with you. Admire your guts for standing up to them
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Simonthegreat
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#34
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#34
(Original post by Avieness)
Just to give a slightly different perspective (second year Big 4 non-London):

It's 9-5 hours 80% of the time - the occasional late finish is 7pm (generally we get kicked out earlier than that by the client). Occasional weekends for 3rd/4th years if they need to catch up in busy season and the client is being particularly awkward. 1st/2nd years will do a stock count on a weekend at some point but managers generally try to let them leave early/arrive late in lieu.

Often have 1-1.5 hours travel either side but clear roads so mileage v time spent travelling is generally favourable if driving. Might be away in hotels for 4-5 weeks a year. 20 days in the office at the very most. No studying outside the 6-8 week class/exam blocks with just one exam left after first 12/15 months if pass the first 9 - now 10 I believe - exams first time (90% of people sitting them do so).

Definitely juggling multiple audits at a time - could be on two engagements in the same week, plus follow ups from previous engagements, and looking ahead to forthcoming engagements. Could be working on anything from a FTSE 100 group team to component auditor liaising with overseas member firms right down to local companies in-charged by a 3rd year (or even a 2nd year in some instances) in any non Financial Services industry you can think of. There's a lot more responsibility on 2nd/3rd years on the smaller engagements as there will usually only be the manager and partner above you compared to the larger audits where multiple assistant managers, managers and even multiple partners may be involved.

Rather limited opportunities to do the extra stuff Chapeau Rouge mentions - not least because most events, especially internal ones, will be in London. On the other hand, there is an expectation that everyone pulls their weight in a small department. After all it's a bit unfair if the social committee organise nights out and nobody else does anything. Could be the audit sampling expert or coaching the new first years/school leavers etc.

Salary and bonus even paltrier than London but far lower living costs and no commute on the underground so a relatively decent lifestyle on the other hand. Lots of secondment opportunities.

Like everything else in life, your mileage will vary - even within the same department/engagement, people can have a very different experience.

I think your hours are much better because as you say it is a not one of the big 4. I think that is the biggest difference in the way staff are treated.
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Chapeau Rouge
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#35
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#35
(Original post by Simonthegreat)
I think your hours are much better because as you say it is a not one of the big 4. I think that is the biggest difference in the way staff are treated.
FYI, poster was Big 4 just not in London.


(Original post by voiceofreason234)
Lol have a think about this guys...

Your salary is about £24k when you start (London), right? After tax, NI, and student loan repayments that's £18.6k. Divide that by 12 months of the year and you're getting £1550 a month. Let's say you work 9-

£1550/220 hours = £7.04 an hour.

For comparison a minimum wage worker on 6.50 an hour working 40 hours a week (40*52 = 2080 a year) will earn 5.80 an hour after tax/NI.

Your hourly is £1.24 above a burger flipper. You really went to uni for that??
To be pedantic, salary is about 3k higher. Also we are all seeing beyond the short term, yes it is a **** 3 years but then when you qualify, you'll be doing 9-6 in industry on about £45k in London at the age of 25/26. That's why you go to uni.
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ohdrama
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(Original post by voiceofreason234)
Lol have a think about this guys...

Your salary is about £24k when you start (London), right? After tax, NI, and student loan repayments that's £18.6k. Divide that by 12 months of the year and you're getting £1550 a month. Let's say you work 9-7pm on average, so a 10 hour day. 220 hours average a month (22 working days).

£1550/220 hours = £7.04 an hour.

For comparison a minimum wage worker on 6.50 an hour working 40 hours a week (40*52 = 2080 a year) will earn 5.80 an hour after tax/NI.

Your hourly is £1.24 above a burger flipper. You really went to uni for that??
Are you a bit bitter for getting fired by any chance?


(Original post by Simonthegreat)
x
You do realise that you can quote multiple posts in one reply, right? Replying to a number of posts one after another just clogs up the thread.
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by ohdrama)
Are you a bit bitter for getting fired by any chance?
Scan of their post history reveals that despite only graduating in 2013, they've done 12 ACA exams but were also unable to get a job after graduation and are now working as an English teacher in Asia. Don't think voiceofreason is genuine!
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Sena5
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#38
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#38
(Original post by Simonthegreat)
How does the work life balance work out at the big 4? What kind of hours do you put in a typical day?
I study during weekends after class and study 2-3 hours after work on weekdays.
I also study at office if I am at office and not allocated to any client office.:yep:
I joined big 4 right after school
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ohdrama
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
Scan of their post history reveals that despite only graduating in 2013, they've done 12 ACA exams but were also unable to get a job after graduation and are now working as an English teacher in Asia. Don't think voiceofreason is genuine!
Hahah oh dear! Should've had a look at more than a couple of posts apparently. Some people...
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Muhammad4391
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(Original post by voiceofreason234)
Holy crap I forgot to include study time for that mediocre qualification. Maybe the burger flipper is actually better off.
Ok
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