Big 4 audit to big 4 CF

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uxa595
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#1
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#1
Hi,

I've been working at a BB in IBD and to put it bluntly - it's not a life.
I would much prefer to make half the amount but be based regionally close to happy and literally be doing close to half the hours.

Now that does leave me short of options - the best being big 4 CF. However, there isn't much in the way of big 4 CF available this time of year (recruiting opening summer/autumn for the following year). So, my question is - Would it be possible to move from big 4 audit to big 4 CF after qualifying?

I've got no desire to move outside of my home city and big 4 CF would be a good final outcome where I enjoy the work and am happy with compensation/life style.

Thanks!
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e^x
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#2
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#2
(Original post by uxa595)
Hi,

I've been working at a BB in IBD and to put it bluntly - it's not a life.
I would much prefer to make half the amount but be based regionally close to happy and literally be doing close to half the hours.

Now that does leave me short of options - the best being big 4 CF. However, there isn't much in the way of big 4 CF available this time of year (recruiting opening summer/autumn for the following year). So, my question is - Would it be possible to move from big 4 audit to big 4 CF after qualifying?

I've got no desire to move outside of my home city and big 4 CF would be a good final outcome where I enjoy the work and am happy with compensation/life style.

Thanks!
Not too sure about regional CF opportunities within big 4 as I'm in London but Birmingham, Manchester and Reading are the big 4 locations that come to mind for regional CF. I'm sure you could get a job in any big 4 London CF team and then try to move internally into a regional office after a year.

I work at a big 4 within audit and the move from audit to CF is doable as I have seen people make the move.

I wouldn't recommend thinking of doing audit now especially since you've got the experience.
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IBgraduate94
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#3
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#3
(Original post by e^x)
Not too sure about regional CF opportunities within big 4 as I'm in London but Birmingham, Manchester and Reading are the big 4 locations that come to mind for regional CF. I'm sure you could get a job in any big 4 London CF team and then try to move internally into a regional office after a year.

I work at a big 4 within audit and the move from audit to CF is doable as I have seen people make the move.

I wouldn't recommend thinking of doing audit now especially since you've got the experience.
Hi!

Would you mind telling what timespan did the people make the move from audit to CF? Is it doable within six months?
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e^x
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#4
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#4
(Original post by IBgraduate94)
Hi!

Would you mind telling what timespan did the people make the move from audit to CF? Is it doable within six months?
At my firm it’s difficult to move before your training contract is over which is 3 years.
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Navyhavn
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#5
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#5
(Original post by uxa595)
Hi,

I've been working at a BB in IBD and to put it bluntly - it's not a life.
I would much prefer to make half the amount but be based regionally close to happy and literally be doing close to half the hours.

Now that does leave me short of options - the best being big 4 CF. However, there isn't much in the way of big 4 CF available this time of year (recruiting opening summer/autumn for the following year). So, my question is - Would it be possible to move from big 4 audit to big 4 CF after qualifying?

I've got no desire to move outside of my home city and big 4 CF would be a good final outcome where I enjoy the work and am happy with compensation/life style.

Thanks!
I work in big 4 CF. I've put down some thoughts both to answer your question and just to provide more information about it in general to anyone who wants to know more about it.

Hours / work-life balance - Much better than IB, but how much better depends on the team. Some teams work 9am to 6pm, others work 9am to 9/10pm. The hours get worse when there are tight deadlines, but because hardly any team works weekends (apart from a few hours here or there), hours are not comparable to IB.

Culture - Big 4 CF doesn't promote face time, and from my experience working at a few IBs and at the big 4, you get less of a *******ing for making mistakes. The environment is friendlier and less snobbier. Other things such as the £20-30 dinner allowances and taxis after 10pm are also there.

Work - Obviously depends on the team. Big 4 CF tends to be best at stuff like Restructuring and Debt Advisory. They then have specialist teams like Valuations and/or Business Modelling which they are the leaders in. They all have well staffed lead M&A advisory teams (60-100 in London) that do the same work that other banks do, just on smaller deals. Deal sizes tend to be £50m to £150m, however there are some larger and smaller ones thrown in there. The larger ones I've seen include £650m EV, £350m EV, etc.). These M&A teams are considered to be solid middle market firms, (probably in the same range as the Bairds and DC Advisorys) and hence they have a large book of MM PE clients which will underpin the majority of their sell-side mandates. A lot of students mistake Big 4 CF with financial due diligence, but a separate team called Transaction Services handle any due diligence work. M&A advisory at the big 4 are the lead financial advisors on the deal.

Exit opportunities - A lot of people stay on and progress up the ranks. The people who do move will either go into IB (BB, EB, MM or boutique - I've seen all of these happen), PE (usually MM or small-cap) or some type of FP&A / CorpDev role. The PE exit opportunity arises because of how much contact big 4 M&A teams have with MM PE firms during deal processes. I should say that the above exit opportunities apply to M&A. I'm not sure if they apply to the other teams though I have still seen Business Modelling guys end up in IBD.

Entry routes in - The people in big CF are a mixture of ex-auditors, ex-IB guys (particularly at the higher levels), and people who have only ever worked in Big 4 CF. You can either join as a graduate, or as an experienced hire. Graduates tend to either come in through the internship programme or are hired directly as an "Associate", (job titles are confusing here - Associate at big 4 means Analyst everywhere else). You spend 1 year in that role before becoming a Senior Associate, and then another year before becoming an Executive (aka Assistant Manager). The CF graduate classes are very small (sometimes as small as under 10 spots in London for all teams - with 2/3 in M&A). KPMG and EY have the largest classes of grads, Deloitte and PwC the smallest. Alternatively a lot of people move in as experienced hires, though this only applies for Executive positions (which you need 2 years of exp for) and above. It is very difficult to move from Audit to CF. While it is a very well trodden path as big 4 CF likes to hire internally from Audit, there are many applications per space - and you need a very good performance review plus connections to make the move. Therefore, it is advisable to try and start off in CF if possible. The main regional offices as a previous poster said are Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff - these teams tend to be generalist. However London-based teams tend to recruit people with sector-specific people.

Pay and other benefits - Starts off at grad at low-mid 30s all in for London. The equivalent of VPs will be in the low 6 figures all in if it's a team with good deal-flow. Partners make competitive salaries compared to MDs (average audit partner is on £750k all in so the average CF one will be on more). Therefore as you can see, the salary progression at the big 4 is exponential rather than linear.
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NickAlex12
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Navyhavn)
I work in big 4 CF. I've put down some thoughts both to answer your question and just to provide more information about it in general to anyone who wants to know more about it.

Hours / work-life balance - Much better than IB, but how much better depends on the team. Some teams work 9am to 6pm, others work 9am to 9/10pm. The hours get worse when there are tight deadlines, but because hardly any team works weekends (apart from a few hours here or there), hours are not comparable to IB.

Culture - Big 4 CF doesn't promote face time, and from my experience working at a few IBs and at the big 4, you get less of a *******ing for making mistakes. The environment is friendlier and less snobbier. Other things such as the £20-30 dinner allowances and taxis after 10pm are also there.

Work - Obviously depends on the team. Big 4 CF tends to be best at stuff like Restructuring and Debt Advisory. They then have specialist teams like Valuations and/or Business Modelling which they are the leaders in. They all have well staffed lead M&A advisory teams (60-100 in London) that do the same work that other banks do, just on smaller deals. Deal sizes tend to be £50m to £150m, however there are some larger and smaller ones thrown in there. The larger ones I've seen include £650m EV, £350m EV, etc.). These M&A teams are considered to be solid middle market firms, (probably in the same range as the Bairds and DC Advisorys) and hence they have a large book of MM PE clients which will underpin the majority of their sell-side mandates. A lot of students mistake Big 4 CF with financial due diligence, but a separate team called Transaction Services handle any due diligence work. M&A advisory at the big 4 are the lead financial advisors on the deal.

Exit opportunities - A lot of people stay on and progress up the ranks. The people who do move will either go into IB (BB, EB, MM or boutique - I've seen all of these happen), PE (usually MM or small-cap) or some type of FP&A / CorpDev role. The PE exit opportunity arises because of how much contact big 4 M&A teams have with MM PE firms during deal processes. I should say that the above exit opportunities apply to M&A. I'm not sure if they apply to the other teams though I have still seen Business Modelling guys end up in IBD.

Entry routes in - The people in big CF are a mixture of ex-auditors, ex-IB guys (particularly at the higher levels), and people who have only ever worked in Big 4 CF. You can either join as a graduate, or as an experienced hire. Graduates tend to either come in through the internship programme or are hired directly as an "Associate", (job titles are confusing here - Associate at big 4 means Analyst everywhere else). You spend 1 year in that role before becoming a Senior Associate, and then another year before becoming an Executive (aka Assistant Manager). The CF graduate classes are very small (sometimes as small as under 10 spots in London for all teams - with 2/3 in M&A). KPMG and EY have the largest classes of grads, Deloitte and PwC the smallest. Alternatively a lot of people move in as experienced hires, though this only applies for Executive positions (which you need 2 years of exp for) and above. It is very difficult to move from Audit to CF. While it is a very well trodden path as big 4 CF likes to hire internally from Audit, there are many applications per space - and you need a very good performance review plus connections to make the move. Therefore, it is advisable to try and start off in CF if possible. The main regional offices as a previous poster said are Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff - these teams tend to be generalist. However London-based teams tend to recruit people with sector-specific people.

Pay and other benefits - Starts off at grad at low-mid 30s all in for London. The equivalent of VPs will be in the low 6 figures all in if it's a team with good deal-flow. Partners make competitive salaries compared to MDs (average audit partner is on £750k all in so the average CF one will be on more). Therefore as you can see, the salary progression at the big 4 is exponential rather than linear.
You mentioned that it is very difficult to move from audit to CF. Is this also the case for transaction services? Also do the transactions services team mainly work on the deals done by the CF team at the big4 firm itself or do they also do work for other firms? Thanks for the insight.
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Navyhavn
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#7
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#7
(Original post by NickAlex12)
You mentioned that it is very difficult to move from audit to CF. Is this also the case for transaction services? Also do the transactions services team mainly work on the deals done by the CF team at the big4 firm itself or do they also do work for other firms? Thanks for the insight.
It's still a diffucult move as there will be lots of interest from auditors, but it is less difficult than going into CF. This is based on my experience only - I don't have any stats to back it up. The reason I think it's easier to get into TS is because their work is very accounting-heavy and so they value the skills of an ACA-qualified person / auditor more - especially one that has sector-specific experience (i.e. FS Audit > FS Transaction Services). I should have also added in my previous post that big 4 M&A teams do like recruiting from Transactions Services as well.

TS teams in the large cities will provide due diligence on the very large M&A deals - ones where Big 4 M&A advisors wouldn't be mandated on (the advisors would instead be the bulge brackets or elite boutiques). TS teams in the smaller cities will do due diligence on smaller mid-market deals, and in these instances, it is very possible for the M&A advisor and the Transaction Services provider to be different teams from within the same company (e.g. both PwC).

Exit opps from TS by the way are still good, they may not be as plentiful as those from M&A, since TS don't run deals, but TS still work on deal-oriented projects, have good exposure to PE houses, and develop a good understanding of the drivers behind busineses, so you will still find a decent number of ex-TS guys in IBD and PE.
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Navyhavn
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#8
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#8
(Original post by IBgraduate94)
Hi!

Would you mind telling what timespan did the people make the move from audit to CF? Is it doable within six months?
Around the 3 year mark. Difficult to make the move before then. To be an attractive candidate for CF you need them to think the following:
- That you are technically strong in accounting - this will come from completing the ACA exams and building up audit experience)
- You have some level of sector expertise (not as important for regional teams) which will only come from audit experience
- You can interact well in front of clients, which will again come from audit experience
- You are a good performer in general, which will come from performance reviews / references from your colleagues in audit, this is more likely to happen if you've been with them for a few years

You will also need a network / someone to vouch for you from the CF side.
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Navyhavn
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#9
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#9
(Original post by uxa595)

Thanks!
Also look at PE firms with a regional focus (NorthEdge, LDC, Foresight, Livingbridge) or M&A advisors with a regional presence (GP Bullhound, GCA Altium, Catalyst, Rothschild) if there aren't any big 4 CF opportunities available at the moment. But yeah, wouldn't recommend starting from audit. Either continue in your current position until you are experienced enough to go in straight as an Executive / Associate at the big 4 by the time more positions open up, or look at other firms in the regions which are hiring.
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gr8wizard10
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#10
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#10
was in the same position as you, IBD for a year and a half.. decided couldn't do it anymore and started recruiting for corp dev. now i am single handedly the corp dev team at a tech start with aggressive expansion plans and has been the best decision i ever made. work/life balance so much better, and timelines (so long as reasonable) are determined by me.

average 9am - 6/7pm, very rarely touch work on weekends and alot more involvement in the business / meetings.
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username738914
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Navyhavn)
I work in big 4 CF. I've put down some thoughts both to answer your question and just to provide more information about it in general to anyone who wants to know more about it.

Hours / work-life balance - Much better than IB, but how much better depends on the team. Some teams work 9am to 6pm, others work 9am to 9/10pm. The hours get worse when there are tight deadlines, but because hardly any team works weekends (apart from a few hours here or there), hours are not comparable to IB.

Culture - Big 4 CF doesn't promote face time, and from my experience working at a few IBs and at the big 4, you get less of a *******ing for making mistakes. The environment is friendlier and less snobbier. Other things such as the £20-30 dinner allowances and taxis after 10pm are also there.

Work - Obviously depends on the team. Big 4 CF tends to be best at stuff like Restructuring and Debt Advisory. They then have specialist teams like Valuations and/or Business Modelling which they are the leaders in. They all have well staffed lead M&A advisory teams (60-100 in London) that do the same work that other banks do, just on smaller deals. Deal sizes tend to be £50m to £150m, however there are some larger and smaller ones thrown in there. The larger ones I've seen include £650m EV, £350m EV, etc.). These M&A teams are considered to be solid middle market firms, (probably in the same range as the Bairds and DC Advisorys) and hence they have a large book of MM PE clients which will underpin the majority of their sell-side mandates. A lot of students mistake Big 4 CF with financial due diligence, but a separate team called Transaction Services handle any due diligence work. M&A advisory at the big 4 are the lead financial advisors on the deal.

Exit opportunities - A lot of people stay on and progress up the ranks. The people who do move will either go into IB (BB, EB, MM or boutique - I've seen all of these happen), PE (usually MM or small-cap) or some type of FP&A / CorpDev role. The PE exit opportunity arises because of how much contact big 4 M&A teams have with MM PE firms during deal processes. I should say that the above exit opportunities apply to M&A. I'm not sure if they apply to the other teams though I have still seen Business Modelling guys end up in IBD.

Entry routes in - The people in big CF are a mixture of ex-auditors, ex-IB guys (particularly at the higher levels), and people who have only ever worked in Big 4 CF. You can either join as a graduate, or as an experienced hire. Graduates tend to either come in through the internship programme or are hired directly as an "Associate", (job titles are confusing here - Associate at big 4 means Analyst everywhere else). You spend 1 year in that role before becoming a Senior Associate, and then another year before becoming an Executive (aka Assistant Manager). The CF graduate classes are very small (sometimes as small as under 10 spots in London for all teams - with 2/3 in M&A). KPMG and EY have the largest classes of grads, Deloitte and PwC the smallest. Alternatively a lot of people move in as experienced hires, though this only applies for Executive positions (which you need 2 years of exp for) and above. It is very difficult to move from Audit to CF. While it is a very well trodden path as big 4 CF likes to hire internally from Audit, there are many applications per space - and you need a very good performance review plus connections to make the move. Therefore, it is advisable to try and start off in CF if possible. The main regional offices as a previous poster said are Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff - these teams tend to be generalist. However London-based teams tend to recruit people with sector-specific people.

Pay and other benefits - Starts off at grad at low-mid 30s all in for London. The equivalent of VPs will be in the low 6 figures all in if it's a team with good deal-flow. Partners make competitive salaries compared to MDs (average audit partner is on £750k all in so the average CF one will be on more). Therefore as you can see, the salary progression at the big 4 is exponential rather than linear.
this is absolutely solid, thank you.

been missing information on big4 CF for my careers guide so appreciate this level of colour
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Thanksinadvance1
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#12
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#12
Hi guys, I know I’m a bit late to the party here however, I’m in investment advisory at the minute and would like to move into CF in any of the big 4. I realise I will need to apply for the 2021 grad scheme which is a bit of a hassle. I’m currently doing the CFA but would swap to ACA and complete CFA in my own time. Would anyone be able to inform me on what to prepare? I’ve a BSc and MSc where we undertook an equity research project as our thesis so I’d have an okay handle on some technical questions. I’d really appreciate any advice that you guys could offer on how approach interviews in these firms (provided I pass AC’s!)

Thanks again.
Last edited by Thanksinadvance1; 1 year ago
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Thanksinadvance1
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Thanksinadvance1)
Hi guys, I know I’m a bit late to the part here however, I’m in investment advisory at the minute and would like to move into CF in any of the big 4. I realise I will need to apply for the 2021 grad scheme which is a bit of a hassle. I’m currently doing the CFA but would swap to ACA and complete CFA in my own time. Would anyone be able to inform me on what to prepare? I’ve a BSc and MSc where we undertook an equity research project as our thesis so I’d have an okay handle on some technical questions. I’d really appreciate any advice that you guys could offer on how approach interviews in these firms (provided I pass AC’s!)

Thanks again.
Also which of the big 4 would have a larger intake of grads for this who haven’t completed an internship there?
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Anonymous2585484
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Navyhavn)
I work in big 4 CF. I've put down some thoughts both to answer your question and just to provide more information about it in general to anyone who wants to know more about it.

Hours / work-life balance - Much better than IB, but how much better depends on the team. Some teams work 9am to 6pm, others work 9am to 9/10pm. The hours get worse when there are tight deadlines, but because hardly any team works weekends (apart from a few hours here or there), hours are not comparable to IB.

Culture - Big 4 CF doesn't promote face time, and from my experience working at a few IBs and at the big 4, you get less of a *******ing for making mistakes. The environment is friendlier and less snobbier. Other things such as the £20-30 dinner allowances and taxis after 10pm are also there.

Work - Obviously depends on the team. Big 4 CF tends to be best at stuff like Restructuring and Debt Advisory. They then have specialist teams like Valuations and/or Business Modelling which they are the leaders in. They all have well staffed lead M&A advisory teams (60-100 in London) that do the same work that other banks do, just on smaller deals. Deal sizes tend to be £50m to £150m, however there are some larger and smaller ones thrown in there. The larger ones I've seen include £650m EV, £350m EV, etc.). These M&A teams are considered to be solid middle market firms, (probably in the same range as the Bairds and DC Advisorys) and hence they have a large book of MM PE clients which will underpin the majority of their sell-side mandates. A lot of students mistake Big 4 CF with financial due diligence, but a separate team called Transaction Services handle any due diligence work. M&A advisory at the big 4 are the lead financial advisors on the deal.

Exit opportunities - A lot of people stay on and progress up the ranks. The people who do move will either go into IB (BB, EB, MM or boutique - I've seen all of these happen), PE (usually MM or small-cap) or some type of FP&A / CorpDev role. The PE exit opportunity arises because of how much contact big 4 M&A teams have with MM PE firms during deal processes. I should say that the above exit opportunities apply to M&A. I'm not sure if they apply to the other teams though I have still seen Business Modelling guys end up in IBD.

Entry routes in - The people in big CF are a mixture of ex-auditors, ex-IB guys (particularly at the higher levels), and people who have only ever worked in Big 4 CF. You can either join as a graduate, or as an experienced hire. Graduates tend to either come in through the internship programme or are hired directly as an "Associate", (job titles are confusing here - Associate at big 4 means Analyst everywhere else). You spend 1 year in that role before becoming a Senior Associate, and then another year before becoming an Executive (aka Assistant Manager). The CF graduate classes are very small (sometimes as small as under 10 spots in London for all teams - with 2/3 in M&A). KPMG and EY have the largest classes of grads, Deloitte and PwC the smallest. Alternatively a lot of people move in as experienced hires, though this only applies for Executive positions (which you need 2 years of exp for) and above. It is very difficult to move from Audit to CF. While it is a very well trodden path as big 4 CF likes to hire internally from Audit, there are many applications per space - and you need a very good performance review plus connections to make the move. Therefore, it is advisable to try and start off in CF if possible. The main regional offices as a previous poster said are Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff - these teams tend to be generalist. However London-based teams tend to recruit people with sector-specific people.

Pay and other benefits - Starts off at grad at low-mid 30s all in for London. The equivalent of VPs will be in the low 6 figures all in if it's a team with good deal-flow. Partners make competitive salaries compared to MDs (average audit partner is on £750k all in so the average CF one will be on more). Therefore as you can see, the salary progression at the big 4 is exponential rather than linear.
You mentioned it's best to start off in CF if possible. I have this opportunity at a mid-market firm vs audit at the big 4. Do you think I'd be better off starting in mid market CF? (bearing in mind it's an apprenticeship)
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