Hi everyone, I’m in a bit of a dilemma.
After a gruelling time trying to secure a graduate job, I finally succeeded and got two job offers for graduate roles in Audit - one from a Big 4 firm in London and the other from the National Audit Office, also based in London.
It sounds a bit silly but after trying so hard to get offers from the Big 4, I’m now feeling apprehensive about actually working there. Work-life balance is important to me. And without going into too much detail, stress wears me down physically. At the Big 4 Assessment Centre, the current trainees didnt hesistate to tell us that they often had to work past midnight in Financial Sector audit, but couldn’t offer much advice for the other audit business areas. I’m worried about the logistics of me getting home so late etc. as I live in outer London and the commute will be dreadful. I’ve also read on this forum about previous graduates hating their experiences. But I am an ambitious person and understand the value of being trained from and having a Big 4 firm on your CV. I don’t want to regret turning down such an opportunity.
On the other hand, the National Audit Office role seems pretty much to be a 9-5. It offers the ACA training contract. The study leave appears better. The graduates seem happier, but you don’t get the prestige of the Big 4. It also primarily involves public sector audit so will this limit what you can do after being qualified? Or will the sheer value of the ACA open doors regardless? The starting pay is similar for both roles. After qualifying with the Big 4 firm, it would be around £40k-£45k I gather; with the NAO it would be £47k.
My head is saying to go with Big 4, but deep down I think I may be happier at the NAO.
I’d appreciate ANY advice at all, thank you.