Accounting

Those in non-big 4 (eg Bdo, rsm, bkd et al) - how happy are you in your careers? Do you have big 4 alums? How are your clients,hours, culture?

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Every time I see BDO and RSM I remember the merger joke (BDSM)

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If you eventually want to go to industry, you are honestly better of staying with big 4. If you want to be a partner, considering smaller firms is a good option. There are definitely companies that will not consider you for their departments of you aren't coming from a big 4

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Mid tier depends completely on the market. The offices are smaller, so office culture really matters. As a staff you can see more advanced areas sooner in your career. senior and above, B4 presents the better opportunities. Worked at both.

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I agree with earlier posts. I'm former big 4 and I've only been at BDO for less than a year. I've worked on more of a variety of engagements than I did at big 4. In terms of hours some months are busier than others but I get more down time in between projects now which is nice for my sanity. Big 4 knows how to use all your chargeable time and then some lol. Cultures vary depending on the office and the team your with and I liked my Big 4 team/office and I like my current team/office. I do have a better work life balance now. Big 4 had me traveling all the time and now it's way more spread out. I also got a big pay raise with the transfer. This might not be everyone's experience but mine has been great.

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It always depends on the people. The individuals you work with directly make all the difference. Find a group of partners you can trust and your life can be great. In my experience you can have work-life balance or work crazy hours, depending on your priorities. I also find/hear that the best firms to work for have pretty low turnover but there will be a few big 4 alums at most levels.

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It maybe be annoying to explain to CR is to people when i tell them where i work, but I've only worked past 8 pm three days in two years (as an associate) and having a new client every two weeks is awesome.

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Our office is pretty large and we have a lot of former B4 partners. I've heard compared to other offices in our company that we are very competitive and have a lot higher expectations and hours goals. I would agree with S1 that we get to see a lot more - I'm not even at the 1 year mark and I've already had experience with every section of the file. And getting to work on many different clients is good.

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Couldn't be happier. I get much of the same opportunities that those in larger markets get (good mix of public and private clients) and I get to do so while living in a small market. I really enjoy getting to draw on the resources of a big firm while feeling like I'm part of a smaller firm.

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^definitely depends on market. In NYC I was about $7K above my mid tier peers. I also transferred in to B4 at the senior level, so I was probably at the higher end of the salary range, since I got a bump up to market rates when transferring.

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The whole point about travel and hours really depends on market and clients. My friends at mid tier definitely worked more hours than me. My busy season would end mid Feb when the client filed, while mid tier friends were working weekends through April.

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To the point of lesser exit opportunities: there are certain companies that require big 4 experience. There are many more with a preference for big 4 experience that will hire you from a smaller firm. All of my friends who have left are doing fine (either employed at big 4 or in private making $80k+ as former seniors or staff)(we'll see where they are in 10 years, but then again, who knows where I'll be then?)

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The climate is very political. If you're not a favorite of one of the partners, you'll likely be let go at some point. I had friends who were at the top of their office's production hours, and were let go simply to reduce costs. It seems that they've grown too fast over the past year and they're trying to cut costs by eliminating the higher salaries of the acquired firms. Getting back to your original question, with the statements above, the atmosphere is not pleasant.

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Yeah if you want to exit public you should try to do it directly from the big 4. However, if you already have 5+ years of big 4 and want to try out a smaller firm, that experience doesn't disappear off of your résumé.

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Agreed with all the above. Chicago FS has a great culture and everyone is friends with everyone (or at least friendly). Season can be tough but past April we generally go home around 5. Pay isn't as good and that's even for partners but it's easier to make partner and no where near as stressful as a B4. So it's pretty much life/money decision.

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