Choosing the Right Public Accounting Firm
You've already interviewed and received job multiple offers or are getting ready to decide which firms to interview with. How do you decide which firm to go with? Ultimately it comes down to what you are looking for in your future employer?
Here are a few things you should consider:
- Client Base
- Firm Culture
- Work/Life Fit
- Attention to your career
What has size/location have to do with a firm?
Here are some statistics:
- Big 4 - Over 700 offices each in over 150 countries worldwide with average employees exceeding 150,000.
- Mid-Tier- About 600 offices each in approximately 100 countries worldwide with average employees ranging from 25,000 to 32,000
- Local - Usually have less than 10 offices and employees can range from single digits to the hundreds
Different companies use different audit/tax service providers. If you are looking to work on a particular client, you should check whether or not the firm you are applying to work at either audits them or does their taxes. While companies do change auditors, they do so only on particular occassions. As you may have guessed, the bigger the company the bigger clients they service.
Here is a client service breakdown:
- Big 4 - Primarily public companies; Fortune 500 companies with worldwide operations
- Mid- Tier - Both Public Companies (some Fortune 1,000, many closely-held), Mid-Cap companies, emerging entrepreneurial companies, and larger Privately-Owned Companies, Multi-Location, including International
- Regional/Local- Few smaller Public Companies, but primarily smaller Privately-Owned, single location businesses.
- Large privately-owned, mid-size public, entrepreneurial in nature
- Revenues ranging from $25M to $2B, but as high as $5 Billion.
- Multi-locations across the region/country, and/or Internationally
- Many Complex Issues: Company Structure, Tax Considerations
- Finance/Accounting Department: From 5- 15 People (CFO, Controller, Accountant, Clerks)
What will your life be like working at one of these firms? What is the culture/work life like?
- What is the office atmosphere like?
- What social events are planned?
- Do I feel comfortable with the people I’ve met?
- How much partner and senior management interaction will I have?
- What cool perks are offered?
- Do employees look like they enjoy their job?