alibee
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#61
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#61
(Original post by david4campers)
I just want to know would you get overtime pay accordingly
Hillarious...
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Gladiatorsword
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#62
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Hey guys I am considering applying to a job at the big 4 after uni but know how competitive it is.do the people in audit do the long hours because they have no choice or because the money is much better than tax???

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david4campers
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#63
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(Original post by alibee)
Hillarious...
I know it sounds funny. But I had once told that he gets no pay for overtime so I just want to know if it is really true.
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snakesnake
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#64
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#64
(Original post by david4campers)
I know it sounds funny. But I had once told that he gets no pay for overtime so I just want to know if it is really true.
It's a salaried job, meaning you have a fixed annual salary that you get regardless of whether you work 35 or 70h a week. There is no concept of overtime within the Big Four. Also not in banking, consultancy and large parts of the white collar job world overall.
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username1204872
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#65
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#65
(Original post by snakesnake)
It's a salaried job, meaning you have a fixed annual salary that you get regardless of whether you work 35 or 70h a week. There is no concept of overtime within the Big Four. Also not in banking, consultancy and large parts of the white collar job world overall.
This.
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Chapeau Rouge
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#66
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(Original post by Gladiatorsword)
Hey guys I am considering applying to a job at the big 4 after uni but know how competitive it is.do the people in audit do the long hours because they have no choice or because the money is much better than tax???

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They have no choice! Lots to do and always understaffed.
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AussieAccountant
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#67
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What does a first-year Big 4 regional (say, Birstol) Audit Manager get per annum?
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Kutie Karen
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#68
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#68
(Original post by Chapeau Rouge)
They have no choice! Lots to do and always understaffed.

Why don't they address this then?
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Hedgeman49
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#69
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(Original post by Kutie Karen)
Why don't they address this then?
Because they don't need to - they get thousands of applications a year as it is. Most going into audit see it as a stepping stone to greater things and those who actually enjoy audit can stay there and go onto greater things within the firm.
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snakesnake
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#70
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(Original post by Kutie Karen)
Why don't they address this then?
Because ultimately the audits will get done and the accounts signed and there is no need to increase your fixed cost base by employing more people.
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barnetlad
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#71
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Auditors are busy around the end of the financial year. So are accountants. They have had about 300 years warning though, that the financial year ends on 31st March.
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Illusionary
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#72
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(Original post by barnetlad)
Auditors are busy around the end of the financial year. So are accountants. They have had about 300 years warning though, that the financial year ends on 31st March.
Except that for company accounts, the company can choose what their year end date is.

31 December and 31 March are common, but far from the only dates used.

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natninja
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#73
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#73
(Original post by Roronoa)
The main reason for writing this is because I am going through a brief, uncharacteristic period of down time at work. And instead of studying at my desk for my next set of ACA exams (given no work is coming through to me) I have chosen to write this. I am also an ambassador for my Big 4 firm and one of the most frequent questions I hear from candidates is what the busy season is like. And by typing furiously away it looks like I am working.

Intro

I am a financial services auditor working for a Big 4 firm in London. I am almost 1.5 years (or halfway) through my training contract. I have passed a little over half of my ACA exams, albeit marginally in some. I have worked on two 'year-ends', otherwise known as busy seasons. The reason I worked on two year-ends is because I have two main clients.

How long is the busy season?

Overall it's about 4-6 weeks long per client. For the first 2-3 weeks my average leaving time was around 8PM and didn't have to work weekends. So my first few weeks were roughly 50-55 hour weeks. They weren't particularly bad.

For the final 2-3 weeks I left at 10PM on average. Some nights you'd get off as early as 8 or 9. Other nights I left at 11.30pm. I once left at 2.30am. So for the final 2-3 weeks I was doing 70+ hour weeks.

The worst stretch was 12 days in a row at the client's office (including the weekend between). I even pulled 8 hours on the Sunday. That was pretty bad.


A typical day during busy season as an Associate

  • Wake up at 7.30am. In the correct order: shower, iron shirt/change, cereal/porridge for breakfast, coffee. Out by 8.15am.
  • Take the London Underground to get to the client's. Door to door it takes me around 40 minutes to get there. Arrive at 8.55am.
  • 8.55am to 9.15am - check and respond to any overnight/early morning e-mails.
  • 9.15am to 12.15pm - first session of intense audit work. This involves reconciling client data in the auditor's room, investigating differences and sitting down with the client to understand what they have done. Also little administrative tasks that the Senior Associates and Managers palm off to the Associates, such as printing. I might have a 5-10 minute coffee/toilet break every 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • 12.15pm to 12.55pm - Lunch. Roughly 3 out of 5 times per week at my desk. The standard firm policy is to have a one hour lunch break, but realistically during busy season you'll only take 20 to 30 minutes for lunch and typically at your desk. I like to enjoy my lunch a bit, so I stretch it to 40 minutes. The Seniors only get annoyed if you're taking the full hour.
  • 12.55pm to 1.05pm - Post lunch coffee/toilet break.
  • 1.05pm to 4pm - The cycle begins again. Reconciling client data, investigating differences, sitting down with the client to understand what they have done. In addition to those little administrative tasks. Little breaks every 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • 4pm to 4.30pm - Team catch up a.k.a 'stock take'. The entire audit team has a meeting to discuss how much progress we have made. How many investigation files we have knocked off (there are hundreds of these per client - each of these can take as little as an hour to complete, or as much as a whole week).
  • 4.30pm to 7.30pm - Resume auditing. One of the associates is designated as the person who orders dinner for the team.
  • 7.30pm to 8.00pm - Food arrives. We eat together in the client's canteen, away from the audit room and away from our client.
  • 8.00pm to 9.00pm - Resume auditing.
  • 9.00pm to 10.30pm - I actually finish the work I was set, or all I am doing now is waiting for the client to deliver stuff. But it's not far off the reporting deadline, so you're sort of required to let the team know that you have capacity. I take on another associate's work and help out until 10pm. Everyone else is still in the office so you can't leave before 10.
  • 10.30pm - I'm out. Shortly prior to 10pm I call a cab.
  • 10.55pm - Arrive home. I have roughly 1.5 hours to chill before I hit the sack (cook dinner, eat dinner, watch a bit of tv/play xbox/read a book). This gives me 7 hours of sleep.


Happy to respond to any PMs regarding Big 4 life!
I'm curious about what you are doing now? Are you still at the Big 4 you were at or moved on to other things now?
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jam276
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#74
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#74
(Original post by natninja)
I'm curious about what you are doing now? Are you still at the Big 4 you were at or moved on to other things now?
It was an interesting read but he's London FS, it's part of the territory. I'm in the regions (3 years in) and I've not stayed past 8:30pm, and that's a rarity, 7:30pm is more ''i'm staying late'', 6:30pm is probably regular leaving time. Not to discredit him but it's not as difficult as people make out. It might depend on which Big 4 Firm he worked for as well.
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natninja
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#75
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#75
(Original post by jam276)
It was an interesting read but he's London FS, it's part of the territory. I'm in the regions (3 years in) and I've not stayed past 8:30pm, and that's a rarity, 7:30pm is more ''i'm staying late'', 6:30pm is probably regular leaving time. Not to discredit him but it's not as difficult as people make out. It might depend on which Big 4 Firm he worked for as well.
I'm London in a banking audit group, 8.30 is regular leaving time for me but I'm quite lucky - most of my intake finish ten pm earliest
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Claire Chee
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#76
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#76
Hi, I am an accounting graduate from Monash University Malaysia campus. May I know if big 4 in Uk accept international applications. For your info, I am currently going to pursue my ACCA qualification full time.
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Skyewoods
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#77
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#77
(Original post by hermes1)
Wow, tax seems like such a good deal compared to Audit. I rarely leave the office after 7 (mostly leave a 6ish), and no commute / get to go back to go to my home instead of a crappy hotel. I guess if you go into tax you are stuck in tax though.

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I work in consulting at a big 4 and most days leave between 6 and 7. There's no busy season in consulting but you can get busy peaks in a project which would be an 8pm end and then 45 minutes to get home. Have to say that I'm on a private sector client in London. Public sector clients are easier and FS are worse.
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Donavit1
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#78
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Hey guys, just accepted Big 4 Assurance grad scheme but actually have no experience of finance/audit and my degree is in Law. No major commercial experience. What would anyone recommend I do to prepare in the meantime?

What sort of training do the big 4 provide to new recruits? Really hope there is opportunity to work with more cutting-edge technology.

Also, am really scared about working hours during busy season as there's one weekend day a week I cannot work under any circumstances due to family reasons. Is it realistic to expect that the firm will accommodate this, especially seeing as much of the work in assurance takes place at client sites etc?

Obviously there is Covid 19 to factor into this as well
Last edited by Donavit1; 4 weeks ago
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