Leaving Big 4/Transferring between service lines after 1 year in Audit

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TGO08
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Hi there,

I am currently in my first year as a graduate associate at a Big 4 firm. Unfortunately, as it stands I really do not enjoy what I do. I pretty much jumped in head first doing something that I didn't fully understand and now I feel like I am paying the price for it.

I currently work in Audit in London in FS and pretty much everything about the job I dislike. Whilst I am used to working long hours, this had become somewhat of a burden with the last 5 months having been solid 9-9/10pm's every day besides weekends, with the travel in between. However I wasn't prepared for and I don't enjoy the surprise in terms of clients. At the moment I have been quite 'fortunate' in terms of not having to travel too far, but I don't want to have to travel all over the country. Right now, I feel that is not for me as the place I am in my life dictates that I would like some sort of stability. In addition to this I have had to revise for exams and try to maintain a personal and private life which has been tough.

My situation is slightly more different I guess in so far as soon I will find out the results of my exam retakes, which if I fail, I will potentially be released from the firm. Does anyone have an experience or does anyone know of anyone who either stayed at the Big 4 having failed exams, or left to do something else with the experience of a year of Big 4 on their CV's?

I took on the role having very limited accounting knowledge. I studied something completely different at university and in my heart of hearts I know that I'm not an accountant or an auditor. However I would still love to stay with the Big 4 firm that I work for in some sort of capacity. My strengths very much lie not with numbers but with words and research and reports and I feel that more of an Advisory role would suit me.

I'm writing this pretty much asking anyone for any advice that they may have or stories that they have of anyone who has either left the Big 4 after a year and gone on to do something else, or in a very small case managed to transfer between service lines.

Please don't get me wrong, this is something I have thought about for a while. Please don't criticise me for being ungrateful or not being able to cope with the hours, in previous jobs I have worked long hours and weekends and didn't have a problem. I guess it's just the nature and circumstances surrounding what I'm doing which have led me to feel this way. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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alibee
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Honestly if you want to move service lines at Big 4 you need to stick it out in Audit and qualify really

I know a lot of people who failed some exams and still went on to qualify.

I don't know what else to say particularly, I don't have anymore experience than you. Is audit really anyone's life dream? Personally I plan to suck it up, get it done with then move onto something else. If you genuinely want to work in advisory, that would be the easiest route in.
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snakesnake
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Agreed with the above: your easiest way to get into advisory is to qualify first and then make the transfer across. Trust me, most people dislike audit but they see the ends justifying the means. I'm not saying it's impossible to transfer before that but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Ask around in your firm as to whether you can do this so as to gauge the situation.
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Anrius
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Hi TH008, I find myself in same situation. So what did you do? Did you stick it out till end or made a switch within the firm or leave the firm?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Anrius)
Hi TH008, I find myself in same situation. So what did you do? Did you stick it out till end or made a switch within the firm or leave the firm?
This thread is 5 years old. The OP may have left TSR.

For your case, I suggest trying to move internally. You may be on a training contract, so you may have to see what the impact will be for you.

Good luck
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Anrius
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thanks for the reply. Honestly I am not sure how to figure out moving internally. the only advice I see around is networking and talking to an associate manager or manager about why you are interested in joining their team, but I am not sure how to do it WFH?

also this is taking a huge toll on my mental health and it just seems hopeless. So I was thinking sticking it out for one year and then leave. do you think it's ok or not ok?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Anrius)
thanks for the reply. Honestly I am not sure how to figure out moving internally. the only advice I see around is networking and talking to an associate manager or manager about why you are interested in joining their team, but I am not sure how to do it WFH?

also this is taking a huge toll on my mental health and it just seems hopeless. So I was thinking sticking it out for one year and then leave. do you think it's ok or not ok?
You are right that networking would be difficult whilst WFH. As you are on a training contract, I don't think it would be that easy to just move to another service line.

My advice is to reach out to your line manager or other senior people and tell them about the MH issues that you have faced. The hope is to allow you to exit your training contract without having to leave the Firm or being financially liable for any fees.

I don't think leaving is wise esp during Covid and a weak economy with job losses. Best scenario is to move to another team. Worst scenario, to me, is to get qualified and then decide from there.

Good luck

PS: what Firm are you a member of?
Last edited by Wired_1800; 1 month ago
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Anrius
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I don't want to reveal it but it's one of the big 4 (hint:top 2) and I am in FS line in UK.

Also the thing is I have told my firm about my situation on MH and they are quite supportive with that, but it's just that everyday I feel like I am in the wrong job.and I have failed one of my exam twice and it's not motivating and encouraging in any way. I am just trying to pull myself up and go through it but I am not sure how long can I do this.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Anrius)
I don't want to reveal it but it's one of the big 4 (hint:top 2) and I am in FS line in UK.

Also the thing is I have told my firm about my situation on MH and they are quite supportive with that, but it's just that everyday I feel like I am in the wrong job.and I have failed one of my exam twice and it's not motivating and encouraging in any way. I am just trying to pull myself up and go through it but I am not sure how long can I do this.
That is fair. You don't have to reveal it.

If you are already in contact with your team about your MH, is it possible to speak with your training coordinator? Hopefully, that can help to trigger a move away from Audit.
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Anrius
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I can try asking them. but I just wanted to make sure that will it affect the perception of my employer in any way if I discuss this with my training coach?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Anrius)
I can try asking them. but I just wanted to make sure that will it affect the perception of my employer in any way if I discuss this with my training coach?
I think you should worry more about your MH than what people might think about you.

One key point is to try to find a destination within the Firm. There is no point asking to leave Audit but don't have a place to go afterwards.
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