Getting to interview


Hi guys,

I am just getting ready to apply to some accountancy firms for roles in Audit. For the last year I have been applying for training contracts at City law firms, but I have had a change of heart after a recent vac scheme. The law isn’t for me.

I was wondering how difficult it is to get to interview at a big 4 firm, providing you meet their minimum academic requirements? I know with law firms you are lucky if you get 1 interview for every 10 applications, is it a similar case here or do they interview more people? Is it less competitive to get interviews for other roles such as Tax and Corporate Finance?

Thanks for helping a noob



I don’t really know much about city law firms but from my experience with the big4 accountancy firms, I think you’ve got a higher than 1 in 10 chance of getting an interview. On the application forms you still have to be able to answer their questions coherently, but a little research on the company website or on websites such as this and the correct academic requirements and I don’t think it’s too difficult to get to the first interview.

I don’t know the facts and figures though so maybe someone else knows more!


I haven’t got the statistics to hand either, but in my opinion a candidate with good qualifications would probably find easier to get an interview at a [[Big 4]] accounting firm than at a [[magic circle]] law firm. Accounting firms hire more people.

The only thing you need to watch is that if you academic and work experience in in law, you need to be able to show on your [[application forms]] and in your interviews, why you’ve decided to switch to accounting. You wouldn’t really want to say too much about how you didn’t enjoy your practical experience of the law, but would need to suggest you realised accounting was a much more suitable career choice. Saying something like you realised most board members of large companies have accounting qualifications (and that this is where you want to end up) would be good.

Interesting that you should feel so strongly against law after your vac scheme. What was it that put you off, and out of interest where was your vac scheme? I’ve known friends who didn’t enjoy [[internships]] at law firms - what interests you in accounting?


Statistically, you have more chance getting into a Big 4 professional services firm - a large law firm in London might hire 100 grads whilst the biggest of the Big 4 are hiring around 1000 each year. But your specific application is very little to do with stats! You’ll need good academics, a decent response to some interesting questions on the application forms and be able to articulate why Professional Services is right for you at an interview. In terms of comparing it with a legal practice, steer clear of the negatives about the law expereince and concentrate on the positives about Prof Servs - i.e. yo’ll get some cores skills which are a great grounding into business, lots of opportunities to do different things as you progress (a tour overseas or specialise in a technical area or an industry for example).

Some of the Big 4 are already closed for this year’s intake - generally you need to apply much earlier to get the full pick…


redsuperted - I just had the impression that so many grads are going up a blind alley with law. People go into it thinking that they are going to be some rich big shot when in reality you are going to be dotting i’s and crossing t’s for 10 years. Accountancy is obviously the same at junior level, but I just feel that accountancy is a more general business qualification and opens up more doors in the world of finance. I just think that I will be taking a big short term drop in income by choosing accountancy over law, but the long term benefits are a no-brainer.

If I could get a TC at a Magic Circle firm, I would maybe choose that. The point is though, I had my chance at 1 MC firm, wasn’t offered a TC. I would rather do top level work at a big 4 firm and have lots of options to move on in the future than slog my guts out at a mediocre law firm liek I experienced.


It’s solely down to the strength of your application. They do interview a lot of people though. If you applied to all of the [[Big 4]], I would very surprised if you did not receive a single interview, assuming you had good grades.