BIG 4 Advice: TS vs Audit, London vs Regional, Service Lines etc. Watch

LeBron96
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Hey, basically, I'm a Year 13 student looking to join a Big 4 grad scheme in the near future. I currently hold a conditional offer for Mechanical Eng at Southampton, which I should (hopefully) meet, and was looking to go into accountancy. I hope to qualify in 3 years at a Big 4 firm, and then after a while move into industry. I wish to join a tech start-up/energy/engineering consultancy as a CFO, however I don't really know much about accountancy in the Big 4 so I'd be really grateful if people were to answer just a few questions I have in mind:

1. Transaction Services or Audit? I know most people say TS gives you better prospects in terms of IB and the likes, and others say Audit is extremely boring. Which one would give me most exposure to clients in the sectors I wish to move into?

2. Regional or London? Again, I hear that London is the best place to work if you wish to get your foot in the door in the finance industry (IB etc) and...it's London :laugh:. I've also read that in Regional offices, they don't only focus on financial firms and I am more likely to work with firms in other industries.

3. Are there specific teams you can work in (Audit) for example Energy/Tech/Retail? I would like to join Audit in the Energy team, if anyone has experience in this, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Ideally I would love to do Consulting at the Big 4, then move into an Engineering Consultancy however I don't think you can work towards ACA (correct me if I'm wrong on this).
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LeBron96
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Chapeau Rouge
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PwC offer a split scheme audit/consulting so you can qualify for your ACA that way. Might be worth looking into.

I'm in London but currently contemplating moving to a regional because I don't really like the culture here. Very much live and breathe the firm and I'm not hugely interested in that, plus the hours can be long!

At PwC, you can specialise in Energy etc. if you go into LTT/LMT. I know we do Centrica and National Grid etc and a lot of East London tech start ups in LMT.

Audit is pretty dull, but you do learn a lot. Heard mixed reviews about TS too though, some love it, some find it just as dull as audit and less flexible - by this I mean that as you get more senior in audit, you can manage your own time ie. decide you will be working from home that day and as long as work gets done and you're not needed to talk to client/coach junior staff it is fine. Whereas TS you have to be there a bit more rigidly.
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
PwC offer a split scheme audit/consulting so you can qualify for your ACA that way. Might be worth looking into.

I'm in London but currently contemplating moving to a regional because I don't really like the culture here. Very much live and breathe the firm and I'm not hugely interested in that, plus the hours can be long!

At PwC, you can specialise in Energy etc. if you go into LTT/LMT. I know we do Centrica and National Grid etc and a lot of East London tech start ups in LMT.

Audit is pretty dull, but you do learn a lot. Heard mixed reviews about TS too though, some love it, some find it just as dull as audit and less flexible - by this I mean that as you get more senior in audit, you can manage your own time ie. decide you will be working from home that day and as long as work gets done and you're not needed to talk to client/coach junior staff it is fine. Whereas TS you have to be there a bit more rigidly.
Thanks for your response! I'll look into that, it sounds interesting. Living in London seems really expensive, do you manage to save much after monthly expenses and rent etc? Also, can you explain what LTT/LMT means?

So sorry for bombarding you with questions :laugh: but how hard is it for you to get promotions?

Thanks again!
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by LeBron96)
1. Transaction Services or Audit? I know most people say TS gives you better prospects in terms of IB and the likes, and others say Audit is extremely boring. Which one would give me most exposure to clients in the sectors I wish to move into?
TS clients are not recurring so you can't know if you would get put on one you would like. Audit clients on the other hand are the same every year so as long as you ask for specific clients in advance you should be able to get on them.

In terms of client exposure, in TS you will get more exposure to senior management - as it is all about producing reports on where the business is going and what it does to potential investors. While in audit you tend to just deal with the finance team.

2. Regional or London? Again, I hear that London is the best place to work if you wish to get your foot in the door in the finance industry (IB etc) and...it's London :laugh:. I've also read that in Regional offices, they don't only focus on financial firms and I am more likely to work with firms in other industries.
You'd need to ask actual IB people if they actually give a **** whether you have audited a bank. In regional offices you will get a greater variety of clients (don't get put into a specific area when you start). On the other hand, if you want to advance to partner, most PLCs have their HQ in London, even if their operations are outside of London. In terms of general experience, regional might be better. In terms of potential to make partner (unlikely anyway) London is better.



Ideally I would love to do Consulting at the Big 4, then move into an Engineering Consultancy however I don't think you can work towards ACA (correct me if I'm wrong on this).
PwC have just started a 5 year scheme. 3 years in audit. 2 years in consulting.
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by LeBron96)
Thanks for your response! I'll look into that, it sounds interesting. Living in London seems really expensive, do you manage to save much after monthly expenses and rent etc? Also, can you explain what LTT/LMT means?

So sorry for bombarding you with questions :laugh: but how hard is it for you to get promotions?

Thanks again!
LTT = London Top Tier (FTSE 100s)
LMT = London Mid Tier (anything that isn't insurance/banking or FTSE 100)

Sorry forget not to use the lingo sometimes!

I don't live in London as I'm at home to save money because London is reallllllly expensive! To give you an idea, starting salary in London after tax is about £1650/£1700 a month, and people are telling me they are getting a good deal on their room in Clapham for £800... That isn't even including council tax/transport/food

Promotions is a weird one, everyone standardly gets promoted unless you are really bad eg. fighting with the client. After qualification though you get one more standard yearly promotion and then you have to apply to get further.
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Squ33zed
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
.
Unrelated. Just wondering, what are you going to do once your current contract with PWC is up?
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
TS clients are not recurring so you can't know if you would get put on one you would like. Audit clients on the other hand are the same every year so as long as you ask for specific clients in advance you should be able to get on them.

In terms of client exposure, in TS you will get more exposure to senior management - as it is all about producing reports on where the business is going and what it does to potential investors. While in audit you tend to just deal with the finance team.



You'd need to ask actual IB people if they actually give a **** whether you have audited a bank. In regional offices you will get a greater variety of clients (don't get put into a specific area when you start). On the other hand, if you want to advance to partner, most PLCs have their HQ in London, even if their operations are outside of London. In terms of general experience, regional might be better. In terms of potential to make partner (unlikely anyway) London is better.





PwC have just started a 5 year scheme. 3 years in audit. 2 years in consulting.
Thank you, I'll definitely be applying to that 5 year scheme. I don't think I would like to stay at the Big 4 long enough to make partner (not that it's highly likely) and I am more interested in moving into industry. Regional seems best right now as I don't really think the extra pay covers the additional costs that come with living in London.

If you don't mind me asking, do you work for any of the Big 4 or Top 10?
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M1011
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From the options listed I'd say London Audit.

Audit > TS due to it being more relevant to your goal of becoming a CFO.

London > regionals as you'll have a wider range of clients of different shapes and sizes to try and get involved in. Although TBH marginal difference.
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
LTT = London Top Tier (FTSE 100s)
LMT = London Mid Tier (anything that isn't insurance/banking or FTSE 100)

Sorry forget not to use the lingo sometimes!

I don't live in London as I'm at home to save money because London is reallllllly expensive! To give you an idea, starting salary in London after tax is about £1650/£1700 a month, and people are telling me they are getting a good deal on their room in Clapham for £800... That isn't even including council tax/transport/food

Promotions is a weird one, everyone standardly gets promoted unless you are really bad eg. fighting with the client. After qualification though you get one more standard yearly promotion and then you have to apply to get further.
So do you think that there are specific Regional offices that have better connections in the Engery/Technology sector? I've heard that many Technology companies are based in Oxford and the likes.
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by LeBron96)
So do you think that there are specific Regional offices that have better connections in the Engery/Technology sector? I've heard that many Technology companies are based in Oxford and the likes.
Can't really say for sure, London is good for exposure to many different types of business if that's your bag and the East London tech market is a big thing at the moment. Though I know that in Reading/Uxbridge you get a lot of manufacturing type clients cause of M4 corridor.
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by Squ33zed)
Unrelated. Just wondering, what are you going to do once your current contract with PWC is up?
I fancy going into industry currently, much more more interested in the strategic type of finance, making finance decisions based on the info rather than just producing the financial statements. Actually get a work/life balance too. Probably should have looked into doing CIMA instead but ACA is obv a good qualification to have to go into a lot of things!
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oxygen49
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(Original post by LeBron96)
So do you think that there are specific Regional offices that have better connections in the Engery/Technology sector? I've heard that many Technology companies are based in Oxford and the likes.
Firms in East Anglia have a lot of energy clients due to the massive offshore sector there if that interests you


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LeBron96
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I'll probably end up applying for Regional guys, probably Cambridge or something, if not then Manchester.

I'm just exploring options here but in terms of career progression with, say 3 years post-qualified experience, can you go straight into a CFO/FD role at a FTSE 100/250? Or do you have to go through several roles to reach there? If so, do you know which role is best to start in to eventually become FD?

If I didn't manage to get an offer for the PwC Assurance and Consulting Shared Scheme, which would offer greater career progression/salary/exit opportunities. I'm not too bothered about work-life balance, I wouldn't mind doing long hours tbh.
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Hedgeman49
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(Original post by LeBron96)
I'll probably end up applying for Regional guys, probably Cambridge or something, if not then Manchester.

I'm just exploring options here but in terms of career progression with, say 3 years post-qualified experience, can you go straight into a CFO/FD role at a FTSE 100/250? Or do you have to go through several roles to reach there? If so, do you know which role is best to start in to eventually become FD?

If I didn't manage to get an offer for the PwC Assurance and Consulting Shared Scheme, which would offer greater career progression/salary/exit opportunities. I'm not too bothered about work-life balance, I wouldn't mind doing long hours tbh.
What, 3 years after qualification to become FD at a FTSE 100? What's taking you so long?
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Hedgeman49)
What, 3 years after qualification to become FD at a FTSE 100? What's taking you so long?
I didn't know you could become FD straight after qualifying, I thought you'd need experience. If that's the case, all the better! Is the application just standard procedure, like applying through the companies' websites when there are vacancies, or is it word of mouth and about who you know?
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Hedgeman49
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(Original post by LeBron96)
I didn't know you could become FD straight after qualifying, I thought you'd need experience. If that's the case, all the better! Is the application just standard procedure, like applying through the companies' websites when there are vacancies, or is it word of mouth and about who you know?
I was joking. FTSE FDs get paid about£2 million a year and are highly, highly experienced
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Chapeau Rouge
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(Original post by LeBron96)
I'm not too bothered about work-life balance, I wouldn't mind doing long hours tbh.
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
Well they do say work hard, play hard :laugh:...

You mentioned that Big 4 has become your life, mind telling me how many hours you work per day on average?
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LeBron96
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(Original post by Hedgeman49)
I was joking. FTSE FDs get paid about£2 million a year and are highly, highly experienced
Well I honestly wouldn't know :laugh:. Is it realistic to work towards becoming FD at a FTSE100, or are your chances more or likely the same as making partner at a Big 4?
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