aphrodisiac
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Tokyoround
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Hey don't worry about it BCC is what, 260 UCAS points? There are still some accounting firms that will take you on with that, there are also quite a lot of programs that don't care about UCAS and only specify a 2.!. Just focus on your degree, getting the best grade possible and try to get some work experience whilst you're there.

No point changing course, that won't do any good.
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AW1983
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The grades BCC won't give you a direct route into a top accountancy practice but that doesn't mean that you should simply give up. There are plenty of routes into accountancy and finance and in your case it is more likely that you'll find a way in through industry rather than practice and to do ACCA or CIMA first rather than ACA.

Bad A-Level results don't close doors but they do mean that you're going to have to work harder early on to get your foot in the door. For example, whereas someone with straight As is an ideal candidate for a Big 4 firm's school leaver programmes, you must study a degree to go further. Likewise, someone with a first class honours degree will find it easier to secure a graduate scheme interview than someone who doesn't (although please remember no one cares about your degree once you reach and employer's assessment centres).

The question for you now is how hard you want to make it on yourself. The easiest thing you can do now to achieve your career goals is to work very hard on your degree and get a good, solid 2:1. That should be enough to get in to a small practice (and remember the economy is growing and so will demand for graduates over the next two years) and maybe even study ICAEW. From there, you can move as a qualified candidate into one of the bigger firms if you are diligent and enthusiastic in your work, maybe even making it into a Big 4 firm. If you don't quite make a small practice, you should still be an attractive enough candidate to begin ACCA or CIMA in industry in a mid sized firm.

Of course, you could make things very difficult on yourself and not work hard at your degree and get a bad result in which case your only hope would be to do AAT with a small firm in industry and then go on to ACCA or CIMA. In theory, if you're very good at the job you can still reach the top because qualifications are more of a door opener than something you carry with you for your entire career, but you will spend many years building up the experience you need to move up. You're not in this hole yet and I would encourage you to be diligent in your studies.
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7M33R
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(Original post by aphrodisiac)
So I have really bad alevels results BCC including general studies and I'm on my first year at an average uni doing Finance and accounting.

However after looking around at career prospects for myself I've realised that most firms take alevels into account regardless the fact that I'm doing really well on my degree

hould I even bother continuing or should I just change degree course in sept?
Its a fair point. The Big Four start at at least ABB or 320 UCAS points. I don't know if it goes any lower than 300/280 though.

It is pretty horrible how because of the automated system, anyone that doesn't meet the min requirements can't even get past the first stage.

You have a few options, you could apply to a school leaver program that can require lower grades.

You could finish uni and look at starting the ACCA and getting part qualified before you apply for a position.

You could finish uni and just hope to get in the door of a firm that will pay for your ACA/ACCA despite your 'poor' grades.
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Hedgeman49
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(Original post by 7M33R)
Its a fair point. The Big Four start at at least ABB or 320 UCAS points.
No - Deloitte, EY and PwC take 300 for most programs (consultancy schemes tend to be higher). KPMG are the only one that asks for 320 for everything.
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alibee
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Sorry including General Studies? Like you only have 2 A Levels plus GS? How did that happen? Do you have a third but its a poorer grade?
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7M33R
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(Original post by Hedgeman49)
No - Deloitte, EY and PwC take 300 for most programs (consultancy schemes tend to be higher). KPMG are the only one that asks for 320 for everything.
Good to know. OP's grades are still below that though. :/
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AW1983
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It is pretty horrible how because of the automated system, anyone that doesn't meet the min requirements can't even get past the first stage.
Look at it philosophically. The reason Big 4 firms do this is because they need people who have the intellectual ability to pass exams whilst managing a heavy workload and there are plenty of people who fit the bill. It's unlikely that they really care much about the personal qualities of the people they employ until the end of their training contracts when they look for a permanent position. Of course they don't want anyone who will embarrass their brand and they weed them out at the assessment centres but ultimately these graduate schemes operate on a conveyor belt.

I certainly know of many more personable graduate schemes that turn out better employees but they aren't as lucrative as having 'Big 4' on your CV. For some reason the box ticking existence of three years of audit and the ACA is more valuable than the rotation systems and mentoring operated by investment banks along with ACCA or CIMA. Perhaps it is because it demonstrates a level of subservience that employers like?

Of course, given the choice, you should always play the game. Join a Big 4 organisation, do your ACA, spend three years in audit reconciling and ticking and become a high earner. However, don't dismiss the more personable experiences you might get elsewhere.
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M1011
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(Original post by AW1983)
For some reason the box ticking existence of three years of audit and the ACA is more valuable than the rotation systems and mentoring operated by investment banks along with ACCA or CIMA. Perhaps it is because it demonstrates a level of subservience that employers like?
I'm sorry, but get a clue.

You think people spend three years ticking boxes? With the big 4 you can be managing small teams from your second year out of uni (and large by your 3rd/4th), delivering audits worth serious £££, gaining experience of all aspects of finance across multiple top companies whilst building future contacts, delivering other work outside of audit if you so please and all the while taking on tons of training in addition to the accounting qualification. Sure not everyone will make the most of it, but I bet you the opportunities there are better than the majority of other schemes. But you go ahead and summarise it as "ticking" because the most simplistic aspect of the job involves matching a few invoices to a breakdown now and again... or were you referring to the even more stereotypically incorrect stock counts? I guarantee you anyone who spends three years ticking is doing it wrong.
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AW1983
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You think people spend three years ticking boxes? With the big 4 you can be managing small teams from your second year out of uni (and large by your 3rd/4th), delivering audits worth serious £££, gaining experience of all aspects of finance across multiple top companies whilst building future contacts, delivering other work outside of audit if you so please and all the while taking on tons of training in addition to the accounting qualification.
Managing teams of other people ticking boxes; being parts of big money audits where the partners and managers send you to do 'fieldwork' (e.g. checking stuff, or ticking boxes); and doing theoretical exams. A few good ones will be trusted with more early on whilst many will leave at the end of three years.

And I'm not theorising here, I've done it. And I've sat there in meeting rooms doing fieldwork whilst managers have warned me to leave at the first possible opportunity for the very same reasons.

The good ones will take advantage of the opportunities you suggest, but it's hardly part of the day job. As a graduate job it's okay but I think the graduates at my investment bank get a much better experience. The difference is the Big 4 grads get paid more at the end of it (although actually a graduate who successfully completes the scheme at my firm is more than likely to be at a higher grade than ACA hires with little to no PQE).
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uxa595
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(Original post by M1011)
I'm sorry, but get a clue.

You think people spend three years ticking boxes? With the big 4 you can be managing small teams from your second year out of uni (and large by your 3rd/4th), delivering audits worth serious £££, gaining experience of all aspects of finance across multiple top companies whilst building future contacts, delivering other work outside of audit if you so please and all the while taking on tons of training in addition to the accounting qualification. Sure not everyone will make the most of it, but I bet you the opportunities there are better than the majority of other schemes. But you go ahead and summarise it as "ticking" because the most simplistic aspect of the job involves matching a few invoices to a breakdown now and again... or were you referring to the even more stereotypically incorrect stock counts? I guarantee you anyone who spends three years ticking is doing it wrong.
No matter what they do, it's soul crushingly boring. Doing an accounting and finance degree has taught me I never want to be a bean counter.
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Tokyoround
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Lol, you two always clash over something. I don't think i've ever seen you agree on a point.
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M1011
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(Original post by uxa595)
No matter what they do, it's soul crushingly boring. Doing an accounting and finance degree has taught me I never want to be a bean counter.
Cool - each to their own, it's not for everyone.
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M1011
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(Original post by AW1983)
Managing teams of other people ticking boxes; being parts of big money audits where the partners and managers send you to do 'fieldwork' (e.g. checking stuff, or ticking boxes); and doing theoretical exams. A few good ones will be trusted with more early on whilst many will leave at the end of three years.

And I'm not theorising here, I've done it. And I've sat there in meeting rooms doing fieldwork whilst managers have warned me to leave at the first possible opportunity for the very same reasons.

The good ones will take advantage of the opportunities you suggest, but it's hardly part of the day job. As a graduate job it's okay but I think the graduates at my investment bank get a much better experience. The difference is the Big 4 grads get paid more at the end of it (although actually a graduate who successfully completes the scheme at my firm is more than likely to be at a higher grade than ACA hires with little to no PQE).
I can't compare to a job I haven't done - so no comment on that. Perhaps they do get a better experience at your company, I'm by no means claiming that a big 4 audit job is the best thing going. But that doesn't make the experience all about ticking within the big 4 either. I think you're just being facetious with your description of audit, I can happily make any job sound boring through a selective description. I invite you to test me on that.

I have seen the kind of work graduates do at multiple clients (on top of working for a company bigger than the big 4 combined), and I don't think there's anything I felt like I was missing out on by joining the big 4. What's more, I hands down think big 4 grads take on more responsibility early on than most comparable roles. That's based albeit on limited exposure from my friends group, but personally I think that's why employers value the brand on a CV like you mentioned yourself. What would be the value in three years sitting back ticking? None. That said I could also mention the horrible hours, average pay and travel as downsides to the role, not trying to say it's perfect. But three years of ticking? No.

Anyway - rant over. Feel free to disagree if your experience was different, but perhaps you just did everyone else's ticking for them though?
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Pipsico
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To be fair, all I've seen and heard is big 4 audit graduates box ticking.

The auditors at my company, wasting their life away cooped up in a little room, working 8-10 every day over year end and sending emails over the weekend too. The pretty much box tick.

I'm glad we don't have a US subsidiary - I think they'd be suicidal.

Half of the accountants at my place of work are ACA qualified and the majority have said the same thing - they got out as quick as they could, because of how soul destroying the work was.

On the bright side, it obviously opens up a huge number of doors and good pay, so if you can grin and bear it for 3 years it's more than worth doing.


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AW1983
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(Original post by Tokyoround)
Lol, you two always clash over something. I don't think i've ever seen you agree on a point.
Oh, I do think he's right on most things. I think the difference is that he must work for one of those rare, mythologised audit teams that do interesting work! They do exist and within every audit firm there's normally one or two people on a training contract who actually enjoy what they're doing. However, the huge turnover and the need for the Big 4 firms to recruit quite a lot of people externally does indicate that junior roles in audit and assurance are often soul crushingly boring.

I can't compare to a job I haven't done - so no comment on that. Perhaps they do get a better experience at your company, I'm by no means claiming that a big 4 audit job is the best thing going. But that doesn't make the experience all about ticking within the big 4 either.
By all means give me a synopsis of your job without mentioning anything that involves comparing two sources and I would imagine you will tell me about the going concern test or the post audit report (a summary of all the boxes you ticked). Ironically, it's the ones doing the most impressive sounding audit specialism (financial services) who do the most box ticking too. It's the ones who get to audit industrial farms or huge building contractors that get all the fun.

Big 4 does give good training, although more so in Tax or Corporate Finance than Audit. I regret training with a Big 4 firm because I was utterly bored until a better paid opportunity came up at an asset manager.

I think you're just being facetious with your description of audit, I can happily make any job sound boring through a selective description. I invite you to test me on that.
That's because most jobs are boring. Especially graduate ones. What really makes a job worth doing is the people you work with. Another reason why I didn't enjoy working at Deloitte!

I have seen the kind of work graduates do at multiple clients (on top of working for a company bigger than the big 4 combined), and I don't think there's anything I felt like I was missing out on by joining the big 4.
Depends on your client specialism. A lot of graduate schemes are terrible. I don't think the Big 4 are terrible, I just don't think they should be held out as the best without regular scrutiny; more so when I was in Australia I saw them ask for 'Big 4 experience' and I was left scratching my head as to why someone with JP Morgan, State Street, Macquarie, Westpac, ANZ etc etc experience was not just as good a candidate. In the UK, the Fast Stream and the investment banks both train accountants just as well as the Big 4 do and often provide more experience early on (e.g. rotating between internal audit, finance, financial reporting operations, tax).

That's based albeit on limited exposure from my friends group, but personally I think that's why employers value the brand on a CV like you mentioned yourself. What would be the value in three years sitting back ticking? None. That said I could also mention the horrible hours, average pay and travel as downsides to the role, not trying to say it's perfect. But three years of ticking? No.
Some of the stuff I really think Big 4 graduates offer are as follows:

1) Good in, good out. You got into a big 4 firm because you were bright, you'll still be bright after three years.
2) Work long hours without getting paid for it. Subservience that employers value.
3) Qualified ACA with a big name on CV. Higher billing potential.
4) Cheaper to train. Unlikely to want to study again, except for CPD.

Anyway - rant over. Feel free to disagree if your experience was different, but perhaps you just did everyone else's ticking for them though?
Well, in a way. I was one of the few people who did not 'phantom tick.'
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Lilrascal19
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I like how the conversation sways towards the Big Four without the OP even mentioning it.

OP you're still in your first year at Uni. Stick it out and see where you go from there. You might find that you prefer a management accountancy role which in most cases takes you in to industry where you can do the CIMA/ACCA as a qualification. Judging by the above the big four may rule you out based on your A Level results but you can always go into a smaller firm and study towards the ACA.

I got 260 UCAS points.
I work in industry.
I'm over half way through my ACCA qualification.

If you can, get a placement/as much work related experience as you can.

Good luck
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