Big 4 fully qualified chartered accountant - AMA

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Obuni
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As the title suggests ladies and gents.
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Chelsea2018
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(Original post by Obuni)
As the title suggests ladies and gents.
How many hours did you have to study in a week for the ACA?
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sabana
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Did you find the job stressful? What are your plans long term?
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Obuni
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(Original post by Chelsea2018)
How many hours did you have to study in a week for the ACA?
Definitely a couple of hours after work everyday for the certificate level. We had a very tight turnaround between the start of college and taking the certificate exams (usually around 3 weeks). Professionals and advanced was pretty much the same, an hour or two here or there during the week, then i'd go fully in on the weekends. I also took "sick" days to give myself extra time lol
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Obuni
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(Original post by sabana)
Did you find the job stressful? What are your plans long term?
Nope, auditing is super easy in my opinion. Boring though because it is not challenging enough and chasing clients who don't want to speak to you is also frustrating. I am moving to a firm that specialises in corporate finance soon
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Chelsea2018
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(Original post by Obuni)
As the title suggests ladies and gents.
What kind of salary did you earn during training and after training? Also do you work in london?
Sorry for all the questions
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Obuni
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(Original post by Chelsea2018)
What kind of salary did you earn during training and after training? Also do you work in london?
Sorry for all the questions
No worries. Yes I trained in London. Salary is about £28k and goes to £45k after full qualification
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username5620302
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(Original post by Obuni)
As the title suggests ladies and gents.
idk what firm you're in, but I'm planning to do the flying start degree program with PwC, is it possible to move around the firm (other than audit) and perhaps go into consulting or investment management?
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Obuni
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(Original post by Starrynight5)
idk what firm you're in, but I'm planning to do the flying start degree program with PwC, is it possible to move around the firm (other than audit) and perhaps go into consulting or investment management?
Not PwC hahaha. However, I believe PwC does a rotational programme? I know a couple of people who trained at PwC and rotated across audit, Corporate Finance, Consulting etc. It's pretty common to move departments after fully qualifying at a big 4 so it's possible.
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Fox Hound
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(Original post by Obuni)
As the title suggests ladies and gents.
What was a typical workday like in terms of actual work, meetings, other activities etc.
How did things change when you became a senior associate and then fully qualified?
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Obuni
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(Original post by Fox Hound)
What was a typical workday like in terms of actual work, meetings, other activities etc.
How did things change when you became a senior associate and then fully qualified?
At junior ranks in audit (Associate through to assistant manager) you pretty much do the same thing. You test all of the balances on the P&L and balance sheet if they are deemed in scope. "Testing" essentially means checking the client isn't lying on their financial statements.

There are no real official meetings at the junior ranks you mentioned, moreso you just walk over to the client's desk and pester them for information you need. Unfortunately, it's not the most glamorous job. As of this week I was doing the same testing work I did 2 years ago as a fresh associate.
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sabana
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(Original post by Obuni)
Nope, auditing is super easy in my opinion. Boring though because it is not challenging enough and chasing clients who don't want to speak to you is also frustrating. I am moving to a firm that specialises in corporate finance soon
Oooh I see. Would you prefer to work in a smaller firm or stay in a large firm?
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Obuni
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(Original post by sabana)
Oooh I see. Would you prefer to work in a smaller firm or stay in a large firm?
Smaller firm, you can learn more and also learn quickly. In large firms like the big 4, you are a small cog in a large machine and therefore you do a lot of the grunt work. The nitty gritty, frustrating tasks that the seniors don't want to do!
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sabana
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(Original post by Obuni)
Smaller firm, you can learn more and also learn quickly. In large firms like the big 4, you are a small cog in a large machine and therefore you do a lot of the grunt work. The nitty gritty, frustrating tasks that the seniors don't want to do!
Thanks for your insights. I did notice that when I worked at a top 10 firm too. They'd often get me to deal with quite a lot of the admin side like money laundering, drafting emails/standard letters. Also they wanted perfectionism so it took time even to complete the most basic tasks.
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natninja
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(Original post by Obuni)
At junior ranks in audit (Associate through to assistant manager) you pretty much do the same thing. You test all of the balances on the P&L and balance sheet if they are deemed in scope. "Testing" essentially means checking the client isn't lying on their financial statements.

There are no real official meetings at the junior ranks you mentioned, moreso you just walk over to the client's desk and pester them for information you need. Unfortunately, it's not the most glamorous job. As of this week I was doing the same testing work I did 2 years ago as a fresh associate.
I presume you're not doing the *exact* same testing work but have moved on to more interesting areas (goodwill, hedge accounting, ECL etc.) and also field managing/managing some areas of the audit?
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Obuni
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(Original post by natninja)
I presume you're not doing the *exact* same testing work but have moved on to more interesting areas (goodwill, hedge accounting, ECL etc.) and also field managing/managing some areas of the audit?
I literally have not, however I must caveat that by saying my experience isn't the norm. I literally just finished doing Payroll for the nth time. The resourcing lady at my firm keeps staffing me on crappy clients that need last minute work done. It is very odd, but that's just been the case for me.

In case you assume "well you must be bad at the job", i've had good reviews throughout and have been consistently promoted and scored well in the exams. So I don't know why my experience has been this way. Also, before you ask, yes I have complained to seniors many many times but nothing changes. Anyway, I already have a job offered to start in the next 4/5 months in corporate finance, so i'll see how that goes.
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sabana
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(Original post by Obuni)
I literally have not, however I must caveat that by saying my experience isn't the norm. I literally just finished doing Payroll for the nth time. The resourcing lady at my firm keeps staffing me on crappy clients that need last minute work done. It is very odd, but that's just been the case for me.

In case you assume "well you must be bad at the job", i've had good reviews throughout and have been consistently promoted and scored well in the exams. So I don't know why my experience has been this way. Also, before you ask, yes I have complained to seniors many many times but nothing changes. Anyway, I already have a job offered to start in the next 4/5 months in corporate finance, so i'll see how that goes.
Good luck in your next role! Hope things are better.
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chramos15
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Hi you said above that you're going into corporate finance soon - would you say that your experience in audit has given you a strong foundation of knowledge for this area? And if you were working with other people who were also studying the ACA at the same time as you, what exit opportunities are they undertaking? thank you
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Chelsea2018
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(Original post by Obuni)
As the title suggests ladies and gents.
What degree did you take at uni and which uni,or did you do a school leaver programme?
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Obuni
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(Original post by sabana)
Good luck in your next role! Hope things are better.
Thanks mann I appreciate it
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