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Why you'll love and hate life at PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG

Many people who have decided on a career in accountancy don’t differentiate between the “Big Four” firms.  But they are four individual companies, each with their own culture and style.  Here’s some pointers, based on employee testimonials on, which might help you make up your mind which one would suit you best.

Why you will love working for Deloitte

Deloitte gets good reviews from employees for its “extremely fast learning environment” and development of professional standards.  Several reviewers talked about the “flexibility” of the working environment and its commitment to helping employees in personal crisis.  They also noted that the “quality of the clients is very good too” and expressed pride in the firm’s “reputation as the #1 professional services provider”.  There was also appreciation of the unified culture of “One Deloitte across all market offerings”.

Why you will not love working for Deloitte

However, there were also downsides associated with the upsides.  Although the “One Deloitte” philosophy was seen as a positive, it was noted that the “Large firm [is] sometimes hard to navigate”, and “finding the right person in a different group can sometimes be a challenge”.  As well as the perennial complaint of accountants about “the hours in busy season”, some employees complained of “expectations to hit hours throughout the year when work is minimal”, which fits with perceptions of a “change in focus to being a sales organisation”.

Why you will love working for PwC

Employees giving PwC a favourable review tended to emphasise the friendly culture and lifestyle issues – “we have more social events, sports events and other quality of life initiatives than any of my friends working for other companies or industries”.  PwC is also seen as “a firm that takes care of its employees” and “a company that places great emphasis on the happiness of its employees”.  It also promises “a great network of professionals and access to top clients.  As a result, staff have the ability to learn a great deal quickly”.

Why you will not love working for PwC

People at PwC complain that the pay is not necessarily as good as it could be, particularly given the long hours, and that it doesn’t compare particularly well to rival Big Four firms.  It’s also suggested that the “path to partner may take too long in some offices”, and that there are “unclear expectations” as to what constitutes strong performance.

Why you will love working for EY 

If you feel that you’ve got an entrepreneurial streak, you might have something in common with satisfied employees at EY, who say that “our work, career paths and culture are more entrepreneurial” than normal accounting firms, “while also highly strategic”.  There are “great opportunities if you are a networker and thrive on building relationships”.  People also emphasise the “knowledgeable co-workers” and “highly credentialled staff at the manager level” and note that it is a “prestige firm” which “looks good on a resume”.

Why you will not love working for EY

However, there have been some noticeably poor reviews added in the recent period.  Some employees complained of an “environment of toxicity and stress” and of being “staffed long term on a terrible project with poor leadership” - but they may be exceptions. Control over one’s career path seems to be a recurring theme with “difficult to feel like you have control over staffing” cited, and one reviewer complaining about “hotelling [which] eliminated having an office or cubicle”.

Why you will love working for KPMG

KPMG people seem to really love each other, with several reviewers citing “great people” as the best thing about working there, and saying that “our people and our culture are second to none”.  They also believe in a meritocracy, saying that “if you work hard and perform well, you will quickly advance up the levels”.  The company apparently delivers “early responsibility and rapid skill building” and provides employees with “global opportunities and resources within arms reach, with the feel of a small, connected office”.

Why you will not love working for KPMG

The company clearly demands a lot from its people, however, as many reviewers mentioned “long hours” and “expectations to work overtime”.  There was some suggestion that these hours went beyond the normal demands of an accounting firm and that “resource management and lack of resources [causes] stress on our people.  It was also claimed that “internal technology and processes can be cumbersome”.

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AUTHORDaniel Davies Insider Comment
  • Ho
    Hossein Davani
    22 August 2020

    I think employees' satistffy is related to work invirement not size of company despite large companies have several choice and opputunitly to be growth and be satisfy

  • Yu
    Yung Mula
    6 September 2019

    How many times are you guys/gals going to write the same article?

  • Cl
    2 June 2018

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the great article!
    I recently interviewed one of my friends on the same topic:

    Particularly on the work life balance side he had different things to say as he got to compensate for most of the extra hours he put in. It might depend a lot on the location though, as he is based in Germany.

  • Au
    16 March 2016

    Its true that working for these companies help you develop and grow but suggest, dont kill yourself. Take it as a degree course for professional development and spend 2-3 years, and move on.

    The pay scale is just shameful compared to the revenue and profit margin.. all on the expense of employees work life balance.

    Salaries are significantly lower than competitors, mandatory 9 hour days impede work life balance. Benefits were just OK. Counting benefits is like counting peanuts, all inclusive may not reach pound 100 per month worth.

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