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    Hey,

    Been applying for jobs for a while now and finally got an offer from Wilkins Kennedy (19th ranked) for a graduate ACA role just outside London.
    Salary offered was £19,500. I wasn't too sure what to expect but this struck me as quite low though. Does this salary sound about right to others for a firm of this size and the location?

    Also, how would career prospects pan out for someone in a firm of this size? By this I mean what are the chances of me being able to move into industry or even into a big 4 role down the line? I'm just wondering if I should reject their offer and try to find something better i.e. mid tiers, big 4 (some of whom still have vacancies for regional firms). This is my dilemma right now.

    Any feedback appreciated, thanks.
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    Salary seems perfectly reasonable for a mid-sized firm outside London. Big 4 only pay a couple thousand more in regionals. The thing to look at is progression (i.e. what do they pay after qualification), although you may well want to leave after anyway.

    You'll definitely be able to move to industry, although you might struggle with the more competitive places (FTSE 100s etc) as there will inevitably be lots of big 4 applicants to compete with. However "industry" is massive so you'll have plenty of opportunities. Moving to big 4 might also be possible - they do recruit newly qualified ACAs.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Salary seems perfectly reasonable for a mid-sized firm outside London. Big 4 only pay a couple thousand more in regionals. The thing to look at is progression (i.e. what do they pay after qualification), although you may well want to leave after anyway.

    You'll definitely be able to move to industry, although you might struggle with the more competitive places (FTSE 100s etc) as there will inevitably be lots of big 4 applicants to compete with. However "industry" is massive so you'll have plenty of opportunities. Moving to big 4 might also be possible - they do recruit newly qualified ACAs.
    Just make sure you get those first time passes in your exams and you should be an attractive package for a Big 4 down the line.
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    (Original post by AW1983)
    Just make sure you get those first time passes in your exams and you should be an attractive package for a Big 4 down the line.
    Don't think the first time passes matter to big4, more banks that look at that lol. Half the people already in the big 4 will have done retakes.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Don't think the first time passes matter to big4, more banks that look at that lol. Half the people already in the big 4 will have done retakes.
    Really? I was forced out of Big 4 for failing 1 paper 10 years ago! Seems their 'standards' are slipping; no bad thing.
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    (Original post by AW1983)
    Really? I was forced out of Big 4 for failing 1 paper 10 years ago! Seems their 'standards' are slipping; no bad thing.
    Depends on how bad the fail is, <40% and you're out.
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    I got 50%, pass mark 55%.
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    (Original post by AW1983)
    Really? I was forced out of Big 4 for failing 1 paper 10 years ago! Seems their 'standards' are slipping; no bad thing.
    Policy at Deloitte is one resit if you're within 10% of pass mark. Fail the resit or fail the first exam by more than 10% and you're out. Believe it is much the same across the big 4.

    I don't see it as slipping standards at all. I personally think the system is incredibly poor. Exam results are not necessarily indicative of job performance, so it's always sad to see a good person let go over a couple of percent on an exam.
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    Hence 'standards' and not standards. Having been at the sharp end of it I do think the system is and was a joke. It sounds better now, back then it was fail and out. However, I guess I have to ask whether it would have been a good thing if I had passed the exam; I'm doing exactly what I want right now at a level I'm comfortable with. No guarantees that would have been the case if I passed or was allowed to continue I guess!
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    What's the % of people getting fired after having failed 1+ exam at the big 4? Is it high? I would have thought that people with 320 ucas points and a 2.1 degree would understand that failing an exam is fatal? Or does this apply only to the minority?
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    (Original post by loloway)
    What's the % of people getting fired after having failed 1+ exam at the big 4? Is it high? I would have thought that people with 320 ucas points and a 2.1 degree would understand that failing an exam is fatal? Or does this apply only to the minority?
    It's not a huge percentage but it does happen in every intake.

    In my opinion failing isn't 'fatal' unless you plan on giving up on everything you fail at. Anyone can have a bad day and fail an exam.
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    (Original post by AW1983)
    Hence 'standards' and not standards. Having been at the sharp end of it I do think the system is and was a joke. It sounds better now, back then it was fail and out. However, I guess I have to ask whether it would have been a good thing if I had passed the exam; I'm doing exactly what I want right now at a level I'm comfortable with. No guarantees that would have been the case if I passed or was allowed to continue I guess!
    How did you recover in your career may I ask?
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    It wasn't particularly hard. I think a lot of firms take the view that if you're good enough to work for a Big 4 audit firm, you're good enough for them even if you didn't last the distance.

    My personal preference at that point was to join a small investor services firm; the reason I chose small was because after two years of having to follow Deloitte's Big 4 diktat on what procedures must be followed, I wanted to go somewhere that could adapt and change its processes at will. I was given increasing freedom to develop services across our business and to enhance the use of technology. I did a couple of years there but, money not being great, I then decided to go big again. At this point I went into compliance, 2008 being an obvious time to do just that.

    With two years Deloitte experience, compliance testing was a well rewarded doddle. At this point I also did the ICSA exams; they tend to be less respected than ACCA or ACA although I don't really see the point in comparing - after all I wanted a qualification that had a much heavier legal and governance component and a much smaller accounting one. In my view, the exams were a similar difficulty to ACA (though I never reached the dreaded case study), but I got first time passes partly through experience and partly because I studied a lot harder than before!

    With the qualification under my belt, I then went overseas. I went to Australia expecting to downsize my career and enjoy a few years in the sun, maybe doing a bit of badly paid bookkeeping. Somewhat unexpectedly I got the job of a lifetime, working for the company I'm at now. It's what they call in the USA a 'white shoe' firm and since joining I've built up a profile within risk and controls. It's a firm that really values results and doesn't really care too much for formal qualifications, besides the MBA of course! Saying that, I'm currently doing the ICA diploma in compliance which will be a nice gong to have with the ICSA. And all in all, I can see myself in a senior compliance position, equivalent to a mid-tier CFO had I gone down the accounting route further, within the next 10 years.

    The whole experience, Deloitte to now, has taught me that hard work and good experience are far more important than exams. People who want to hire from the Big 4 do it because of the experience more than the qualification (recruiters are still impressed I've worked there, even without the gong). Qualifications are useful, not least because regulators in my line of work increasingly demand them (until Gideon gets a degree in Economics, I fail to see their point). However, it's not qualifications that will get you better jobs.

    Without wanting to sound like a pop-psychology schmuck, there is a kernel of truth in rebounding after failures. I think failing that exam has spurred me on not only to work harder but to keep questioning exactly where it is I want to go.
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    (Original post by M1011)
    Policy at Deloitte is one resit if you're within 10% of pass mark. Fail the resit or fail the first exam by more than 10% and you're out. Believe it is much the same across the big 4.

    I don't see it as slipping standards at all. I personally think the system is incredibly poor. Exam results are not necessarily indicative of job performance, so it's always sad to see a good person let go over a couple of percent on an exam.
    I do agree with what you say. Why are they so strict about exams? Is there no way support could be given to those who need help to pass exams? Exams are only a stepping stone to the next stage and not the be all and end of all someone's career. Maybe they should rethink a little bit about their exam policy and provide more support .
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    (Original post by Kutie Karen)
    I do agree with what you say. Why are they so strict about exams? Is there no way support could be given to those who need help to pass exams? Exams are only a stepping stone to the next stage and not the be all and end of all someone's career. Maybe they should rethink a little bit about their exam policy and provide more support .
    You do get support, almost everyone (bar PwC it would seem) give you ample time in college with full teaching support.
 
 
 
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