Big 4 Regional Office Vs London Office - prestige and future career prospects


I’m currently in the process of applications for the audit programmes at the Big 4. I was wondering how completing the ACA at a regional office, say Manchester for example, compares with completing it in London in terms of prestige and future career prospects. Put simply, is a CV more impressive having worked in a regional or a London office? Are Big 4 trainees from London viewed as ‘superior’, say to future employers, as their counterparts from regional offices? Does working in a London office ‘open more doors’ post qualification?

I have trawled through these forums and have found information on salary and variety of work etc, but nothing on this specific issue. Any help with this will be greatly appreciated.


This response to your query is probably too late and hopefully, by now you are well on the road to securing a position with one of the Big 4.
I suspect that the lack of response is due to the fact that there is no simple answer but many points to consider.
I worked in London and the provinces. I began my ACA training in London and completed it in the Midlands.
I think overall an employer is looking to see that you qualified with one of the big 4 regardless of the office location.
The office location will affect the nature of the audit experience you gain, so you are more likely to get FTSE 250 and finance/banking company experience in London. When I worked in the Midlands I was certainly involved in fewer head office consolidation type work and doing a lot more operating/manufacturing entities.
I certainly did not miss the awful London travel circus and used my car much more in the Midlands.
Usually housing is cheaper outside of London and if you pick the right city/town you could be much better off without the extortionate London cost of living.
If you are on a study regime for ACA that involves evening work during non college block study it sometimes works better not to have the London commute so you get home at a reasonable time to study.
London is fun while you are young and there is a buzz to working in the “London Office”. Some may view it as the top slot. I guess if you look at the stats there are always more applications for London and the least for the satellite offices. So perhaps use this to your advantage and apply to the less popular offices and be more likely to get a job offer.
These are just a few thoughts.