Hi all, I am currently 2/3 years in to my ACA training contract at Deloitte in audit in a regional office and thought I’d give an insiders view.
Work - The work you undertake is obviously auditing financial statements. In your first year you are clueless to begin with, but you do pick it up quite quickly. This is nice as you do feel you are learning. However audit is not particularly difficult, and once you understand it you are essentially doing the same work every day, which can be repetitive and boring.
Audit is also under increasing scrutiny, as a result there is more regulations to meet and work to do, yet the audit time is not increasing. Hence you are expected to do overtime pretty much all year, and in busy season it can be 12 hour days for weeks at a time. Realistic hours for rest of the year are 8:30 to 6-6:30. Contracted hours are 9 to 5:30 with an hour lunch break, which you rarely get.
You are rarely in the office, with most time spent at client sites, which are often on an industrial estate. Clients can be all over, an average commute is normally around an hour each way. If you join audit expect to spent a lot of time driving or on a train.
Pay in 1st year is around £21k, to £22k in second year, then £28k in 3rd year. This jumps to £35k on qualification. This is below other big 4 firms.
College - At Deloitte you are put through your exams very quickly. If you join in September you do the first 6 ACA exams before Christmas, and the next 6 within the next year.
Deloitte are cutting back on training costs, as a result more and more of college is self study as opposed to being in college. PwC also do self study, however they have more time.
Compared to other firms, Deloitte have less self study days than other firms have in college. You learn much better in college, as the lecturers are generally very good at emphasising important aspects and explaining things, which you obviously do not get on self study.
From discussing with other firms I believe Deloitte provide the worst support through your exams out of all the big 4. Everyone ends up purchasing extra holidays and taking these to study and revise. So you effectively end up paying for your own study time.
If you do fail you have to pay for your own resits, and the college fees. This is roughly £100 for the first 6, £300-£400 for the second 6 and £600-£800 for the final 3.
For the first 12 The pass mark is 55%, if you score below 45% this is classed as a bad fail and you can be fired. We lost people in our intake from this who then went to other top 10 firms.
Other-Deloitte has a young workforce, which does mean it can be fun. You rarely work with your own intake, the only time you see them is in college. But other intakes are only a year or two difference. The social side is fun, and colleagues are probably the best part about the job. However within a year or two of qualifying, 50-75% of people leave to other departments in Deloitte or move in to industry.
It is not the most rewarding work, as at the end of an audit, an audit report is signed and nobody sees your work ever again. You do not see an impact from the work you do. Occasionally you will find an error that is actually adjusted for and that is about it.
If you already come from a business background, you do not learn much besides financial reporting (debits and credits). You do learn how to analyse a set of financial statements, and understand them. But in 3 years I’m sure you could learn a lot more.
One of the main benefits of working at a big 4 is having the brand name on your CV. Looking at moving in to industry, lots of jobs require/desire this.