Welcome to the this-ashes-made-me-break-out edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a former Big 4 manager wants to pursue a chance to return to this old firm. How does he handle this with his current employer?
Got a question about your career? Do you have an interesting opportunity but not sure if you should pursue it? Need a new nickname for your special, super-secret team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you avoid anything lame (or possibly racist).
Back to the Big 4 Boomerang:
Hey Going Concern,
About a year ago, I left Big 4 as an audit manager and now work for a client of my former firm (though not one of mine, Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley made sure of that). Lately, I’ve been seriously considering a return to my old Big 4 stomping grounds.
My questions isn’t whether I’m crazy or not, it’s how to handle the issue with my current company. It’s not a slam dunk that I will return to my old firm, but I want to at least pursue it. On the plus side, I have a good relationship with my current boss (we’ve known each other for several years).
If I come clean to my boss but end up staying, that’s a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there. If I reach out to my firm on the sly and leave, I threaten to restart my audit career by angering a client.
Help me Going Concern, you’re my only hope…
The Once and (possibly) Future Auditor
A Seinfeld and a Star Wars reference? Obviously this is keeping you up at night. I’m on this. Since you’ve made up your mind that you are pursuing a Big 4 boomerang situation, I won’t pass judgment there but knowing a little more about your situation might be helpful. I’ll be making some assumptions in order to help you with your ordeal.
Personally, I’m a “honesty is the best policy” type, so telling your boss about your ambitions is the way to go. It sounds like you’ve got a good relationship with him/her and if you do the march in, drop the news and are gone in two weeks, I feel like you’re torching that bridge. The best thing you can do is explain your reasons for pursuing a return to your Big 4 firm. If it’s because you really miss auditing, I think you need your head examined. If it’s because you think you want to make a run at partner, the odds are against you. If it’s because you think it will better prepare you for a return to an industry for a management position, then you can probably explain this to your boss (assuming he/she is level-headed person); your honesty will be appreciated and your integrity will remain intact.
And if you don’t get the job, what then? Well, that is a bit awkward but if you and your boss have a good relationship and are the only two people aware of the situation (which I recommend), you don’t have to worry about others getting all judgmental on your ass and you’ll eventually get back to business as usual. If your boss knows you well, he/she probably is aware of your long-term career ambitions and knows that a move (regardless of whether it’s a return to your old firm) is inevitable at some point and situations like this will come up occasionally. And if your boss isn’t aware of what you want out of your career, this is a perfect time to start talking about it. May The Force be with you.
Welcome to the maybe-we-should-start-pointing-out-who-really-isn’t-winning edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future advisory professional wants to know what kind of exit opportunities he’ll have when he’s had his fill of Big 4.
Need some career advice? Concerned that you’re being unfairly portrayed by someone? Have you recently found a mistake at work and aren’t handling it well? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll, at very a tie score.
I will be starting at a Big 4 firm in TS this fall. I have seen posts and comments on GC primarily about KPMG’s TS group, and commenters mention a “mass exodus” from TS.
I was interested to know what the exit opps are for people in TS? I have been searching around banking blogs and it seems that TS is not held in high regard in I-banking, so what offers are they receiving?
Dear Interested Viewer,
The advisory space isn’t my strong suit but I’ll take a stab. You’re starting with a “Big 4” but then mention KPMG so I’m not exactly sure where you’re ending up so I’ll keep things fairly general. All of the Big 4 have various services within their TS practices including due diligence in various forms, restructuring, accounting advisory and valuation among others. A common exit opportunity for many in Big 4 TS people is to go to…wait for it…another Big 4 firm. None of these firms have a monopoly on the services offered so if you’ve heard good things about Deloitte as opposed to your living hell at PwC, you may jump at the opportunity to join a rival firm. And we know how the firms like to poach from each other, don’t we?
If that’s not of interest to you, the top consulting shops like McKinsey, Bain & Co., Boston Consulting et al. (check out Vault for their list of the top firms) are a possibility but in reality, not a very good one. These firms like their people with smarts – frightening smarts – and Ivy League degreed. If you’ve got both, you probably already work at one of the best firms. If you’re lucky enough to have one of those two, you might have a chance. If you’ve got neither, than you have virtually have no chance.
You mention I-Banking and again, the odds are against you here if you want to work at the top firms, for the same reasons as we mentioned above. Some more realistic options include due diligence, acquisitions or analysis work for a private equity or hedge fund shop or working in the finance group of a firm with M&A aspirations or that needs other complex transactional analysis.
The other option is that you work for awhile, get an MBA and then try to land the BSD job at McKinsey, Goldman or wherever. Of course hitting the big time after going to a prestigious B-school doesn’t mean your dreams of rainmaking are a lock, so it’s a big risk but obviously many have taken this road and made a decent run.
So, there you have it, Interested Viewer: some ideas, at the very least. Any Big 4 TS types out there with some first-hand accounts of the comings and goings are invited to weigh in at this time. I’ve got to get caught up on the #winning Twitter feed.
Welcome to but-what-does-Emilio-think? edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition we revisit the age-old debate of a senior associate wondering if they should stick with their firm until they get the bump to manager. It’s been awhile since I’ve addressed this, so it’s about time we went for another go-round.