Has anyone switched from B4 to a smaller firm like BDO? Is there any real difference or is everything essentially the same and just not working with as large of clients and complex engagements?

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It’s going to depend on the firm and office. I spent MANY years in big 4 (and was with multiple big 4). The office I’m in at RSM has a substantial SEC and large company focus. I find clients are more receptive to ideas and the internal environment is more collegial. A much better work life balance. If you interview with firms ask where the office wants to be in 5 years and 10 years. Then ask what the plan is to get there. Make sure the partner group is serious about growing the practice and actually doing the work to make sure the office will grow.

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My significant other made the opposite switch (and I'm currently at B4). They feel B4 has better training, resources, clients, exit ops and people/culture (BDO is full of B4 wannabe's for whatever reason, so environment is toxic). Also, big clients are a huge deal over there, since they obviously deal with more mid-size, but at B4, F500 is often the norm. For them, they felt that if they're gonna work bad hours anyways, why would they do that at a firm no one recognizes? Mid-tier loves to act like their WLB is better than B4 but they work the same hours. Every job says B4 preferred which is dumb but it's reality. But tbh it's the same stuff. You still work in PA, and as you go further and further in your career (say senior manager), B4 prestige seems to matter less and less. If you find the right office/practice, it could be the right fit.

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Agree with the wannabe comment. Especially in the UK.

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