The Student Room Group

Leaving big 4 before qualifying - what job now?

Hi guys,

Just looking for some advice as I’m looking to leave a big 4 firm without passing the CA qualification.

I’ve realised audit is not what I enjoy, nor the incredible amount of stress balancing studying and working long hours every day, essentially having no life.

As I entered the Big 4 straight after graduating university (BA Hons in accountancy & business) I am unsure what job I could move into.

Does anyone have any ideas of what roles people like myself may move into without having the qualification?

I have 3 years audit experience however it’s not something I enjoy and not something I could see myself pursuing a career in. Does anyone have any recommendations of roles I might be able to apply for that aren’t audit?

I’m also conscious that I wouldn’t like to take a pay drop at this current moment in time so also looking for a job/role paying upward of 32k (there or their abouts). Money isn’t everything but given I’m 3 years into my career it’s not something I’d like to take a drop in.

Any help would really be appreciated!
(edited 9 months ago)
Reply 1
Original post by usrrnaamee5
Hi guys,

Just looking for some advice as I’m looking to leave a big 4 firm without passing the CA qualification.

I’ve realised audit is not what I enjoy, nor the incredible amount of stress balancing studying and working long hours every day, essentially having no life.

As I entered the Big 4 straight after graduating university (BA Hons in accountancy & business) I am unsure what job I could move into.

Does anyone have any ideas of what roles people like myself may move into without having the qualification?

I have 3 years audit experience however it’s not something I enjoy and not something I could see myself pursuing a career in. Does anyone have any recommendations of roles I might be able to apply for that aren’t audit?

I’m also conscious that I wouldn’t like to take a pay drop at this current moment in time so also looking for a job/role paying upward of 32k (there or their abouts). Money isn’t everything but given I’m 3 years into my career it’s not something I’d like to take a drop in.

Any help would really be appreciated!


Is there no way you can stick it out? If you’ve 3yrs audit experience aren’t you nearly qualified? You’d have much more choice as a chartered accountant in other areas if finically services than without it. Would you consider transferring within the Big4 to say consultancy or another area that’s not audit.
Reply 2
Check out the Canary Wharfian website, there is an article there re career transition with the help of the CFA qualification, it’s written by a senior management consultant and there are lots more useful advice there
Reply 3
Original post by CWharfian
Check out the Canary Wharfian website, there is an article there re career transition with the help of the CFA qualification, it’s written by a senior management consultant and there are lots more useful advice there


I take it you are trying to plug a service you have a financial interest in?
Reply 4
Original post by ajj2000
I take it you are trying to plug a service you have a financial interest in?

Yeah dude totally, BUSTED! I was just trying to “plug a service” which is a 100% free to join community dedicated to helping uni students break into the industry. It’s a scam and I was hoping you’d fall for it, what was I thinking. Go ahead and report me to the admins for trying refer you to a useful online resource.

Good luck.
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by usrrnaamee5
Hi guys,

Just looking for some advice as I’m looking to leave a big 4 firm without passing the CA qualification.

I’ve realised audit is not what I enjoy, nor the incredible amount of stress balancing studying and working long hours every day, essentially having no life.

As I entered the Big 4 straight after graduating university (BA Hons in accountancy & business) I am unsure what job I could move into.

Does anyone have any ideas of what roles people like myself may move into without having the qualification?

I have 3 years audit experience however it’s not something I enjoy and not something I could see myself pursuing a career in. Does anyone have any recommendations of roles I might be able to apply for that aren’t audit?

I’m also conscious that I wouldn’t like to take a pay drop at this current moment in time so also looking for a job/role paying upward of 32k (there or their abouts). Money isn’t everything but given I’m 3 years into my career it’s not something I’d like to take a drop in.

Any help would really be appreciated!

Hey, I would defo recommend booking a session with a Career mentor. I was in a similar situation and just needed someone to tell me exactly what steps to take. After unsuccessfully cold LinkedIn messaging professionals, I was recommended CareerPaths. Had a one off chat with a PE professional (Guy Ellis), who set out an action plan for me. I think at the minute they are offering a first session free deal, defo check it out - wish I knew about this earlier!
Reply 6
Original post by KittyCatt123
Hey, I would defo recommend booking a session with a Career mentor. I was in a similar situation and just needed someone to tell me exactly what steps to take. After unsuccessfully cold LinkedIn messaging professionals, I was recommended CareerPaths. Had a one off chat with a PE professional (Guy Ellis), who set out an action plan for me. I think at the minute they are offering a first session free deal, defo check it out - wish I knew about this earlier!

What’s a ‘PE’ professional?
Original post by Kimlek
What’s a ‘PE’ professional?


Sorry just meant professional
Reply 8
Original post by usrrnaamee5
Hi guys,

Just looking for some advice as I’m looking to leave a big 4 firm without passing the CA qualification.

I’ve realised audit is not what I enjoy, nor the incredible amount of stress balancing studying and working long hours every day, essentially having no life.

As I entered the Big 4 straight after graduating university (BA Hons in accountancy & business) I am unsure what job I could move into.

Does anyone have any ideas of what roles people like myself may move into without having the qualification?

I have 3 years audit experience however it’s not something I enjoy and not something I could see myself pursuing a career in. Does anyone have any recommendations of roles I might be able to apply for that aren’t audit?

I’m also conscious that I wouldn’t like to take a pay drop at this current moment in time so also looking for a job/role paying upward of 32k (there or their abouts). Money isn’t everything but given I’m 3 years into my career it’s not something I’d like to take a drop in.

Any help would really be appreciated!

Exams and training contracts are three years long even without a relevant degree so wanting out now makes absolutely no sense unless you’re finding it difficult to pass the exams. It will be the first question any potential employer will ask, whereas if you leave the day after successfully completing your exams only the positive aspects will remain. The fact that you have decided that audit is not for you is far from being something unusual, but the fact that you saw it through to the end shows a positive work ethic and determination and will be a point in your favour when negotiating your salary.
How are you getting on with your exams? How many have you got left to take? Are they first attempts or are you struggling?
A reference will most definitely be required and if a job with one of your audit clients would interest you, it’s better to leave your present employer on good terms. They might even help you find something else as big 4 audit managers and partners like to have people that they have formed placed with clients.

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