If you're thinking of working for a Big Four firm, I would like to offer you some words of caution: steer clear of their advisory divisions and stick to audit. Or maybe tax.
The advisory divisions of Big Four firms are all about advising clients. You might be working on M&A deals, management and strategy consulting, or risk consulting, but the client will be your boss. And this, my friends, is the problem.
If you work in the tax or the audit divisions of a Big Four firm, you will have your busy season. It will be no fun, but it will eventually end.
For me, however, it's a whole different world. In advisory, it is go-go- 24/7/365. My firm does a good job of advertising work-life balance initiatives and offers a lot of fun office activities, but if you're in advisory you don't get to participate in any of this. Why not? Because you are on the road. You are always out on clients' sites. Once a year, you might get to attend the firm's in-house business school in a backwater, at which point you will share a room with a colleague. This will be the extent of your awesome team building experiences.
Because you're always on the road, you'll also miss out on a whole load of the other perks that come the way of your audit and tax colleagues. For example, you won't get to use the company's suite for concerts and sports matches. You will only get to take paid time off (PTO) if you take your cell phone and laptop too. You won't get assistance with college tuition because you're always on the road and will have no time for online courses. Nor do you get to participate in extra training or professional development courses.
All this time out of the office has another drawback. - You'll find it a lot harder to move internally to other positions at your firm. You may also find it harder to get promoted to the top positions. Because you're on the road all the time, no one knows you. Meanwhile, the people in tax and audit are busy playing the corporate game in the home office and getting all sorts of face time with the leaders.
This is why I regret my decision to take an advisory job. The people I meet who work in tax and audit pretty much fart rainbows about their experience of working here and speak like there's a puppy dog at every desk in this office. In advisory, however, it's all about servitude. Believe me, there are better places to be.
John Burgos is a pseudonym
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