KPMG or Ernst & Young

#1

I’ve just received offers from both KPMG and Ernst & Young for their audit programmes to start September 2010 (though I am still waiting on a formal offer from the latter), but am struggling to decide which one to go for. I have always leaned toward Ernst and Young, but am not so sure following a really enjoyable partner interview at KPMG. Does anyone have any preference or information about working at the firms that might help? The main problem in deciding is that everyone is always too biased towards their own firm!

Thanks

PS. I was going to write up my experiences of both application processes but I will never top the most popular threads on here. However, I’d more than happily answer what questions you may wish to throw at me!

#2

Congratulations on your offers! I’m afraid I can’t shed too much light on KPMG, but from people I know at EY, they find it a very accommodating culture, and say that from people they have spoken to at the other big 4, it has a much more friendly atmosphere rather than the often ruthless nature of many large firms (this is just what I have heard!). They have been there for a number of years now so EY must be a nice enough place to work for them to want to stay! I am going through the application process with EY and only have positive things to say about them and their staff.

As you have been successful, I was wondering if you could perhaps tell me a little about your partner interview at EY. Was the focus on competencies, or perhaps your performance at the assessment centre? Were there any commercial awareness questions at all?

Any information would be very much appreciated, and once again, congratulations!

#3

Thanks. I have always lent towards EY for those reasons and it was a really nice touch when a person from Recruitment came to have a short chat with me whilst I was waiting for my final interview simply because he had gone to the same university.

I was interviewd by a female Director (which, as I found out, is very similar to partner!) who was really nice. There were about 6 questions that she had to ask - they were pretty competency/strength based, but were more concerned with strengths that had been spotted by the assessors at the assessment centre ie. provides examples of them; then she also asked how I would apply them to my time at EY. I was also asked about my strengths in general, though strangely wasn’t asked the usual ‘why do you want to work for them’ etc. Other questions included where I’d like to be in 10 years time and how I would get there, as well as what I think I’ll find difficult (I said finding the balance between work and studying, and potentially never being settled in an office, but then made sure that I was totally prepared for them. Whatever you do don’t try and say that you are perfect and won’t have any trouble!) She didn’t ask me any commercial awareness stuff, which was a surprise given that I am from a humanities background at Uni, but then again one of my strengths that she mentioned from the assessment centre was business-related so she might not have felt the need.

Essentially, she made it clear that she wanted it to be an open dialogue rather than a set, regimented process. It was nice to be able to pick up on things the she said throughout. To be honest, I think that once you are through to this stage it’s pretty much in the bag so long as you come across as likeable and passionate. I then asked questions about auditor independence (the APB is looking into it; KPMG and Rentokil have been in the press a lot), negligence liabilty (Mandelson has refused to budge on the issue), and the move back to the ICAEW, among others.

I got a phonecall a couple of hours later to say that I’d got it and swiftly went to the pub! Hope that helps…

#4

Honestly…I think the decision is one of gut feeling! (I know that really won’t help!) I was so far leant towards KPMG that I only applied for them! Your day to day working life will probably be most directly affected by the people in your team/at the next desk/in your ACA class so you really can’t tell if you will enjoy the ‘people’ and the ‘culture’ until you start the job… If your heart tells you E&Y… go to E&Y (as it sounds to me like you want to really!)

PS. Where did you apply for for KPMG and what service line? I start in Manchester in Audit in Oct 2010 and my partner interview was also very enjoyable (as far as interviews go anyway).

#5

Big cong, avalaugh, you did really good.
Personally i prefer to KPMG, since it is bigger in UK and has a better manner and reputation.
But you still need to consider sectors you like and their clients, to find the one more interest you in deep.

#6

That’s great, thanks avalaugh for the info about the partner interview. I’m sure lots of people will find it useful!

Good luck with the decision, hope you make the right one.

#7

That’s great, thanks avalaugh for the info about the partner interview. I’m sure lots of people will find it useful!

Good luck with the decision, hope you make the right one.

#8

That’s great, thanks avalaugh for the info about the partner interview. I’m sure lots of people will find it useful!

Good luck with the decision, hope you make the right one.

#9

I applied to the Audit Sept/Oct 2010 start in London, which means that I’d be based in the swanky new KPMG offices that are nearly finished at Canary Wharf. Then again, the EY offices at London Bridge are amazing as well!

#10

One thing you may want to consider is the clients of the respective firms. Working in Audit it is more than likely that you will be asked to pick a sector in which to work in, and the big 4 are all strong in different sectors. I may be wrong but I believe KPMG is known to have a firm hold over the financial services sector, and if this is something that you are keen to audit you should think about that. Likewise Deloitte Audit most Barclays Premier League football clubs. If Auditing a particular sector or firm is important to you try and find out a bit about EY and KPMG clients.

KPMG was recently voted the best big company to work for, I don’t believe EY was in the top 20. Obviously it is up to you how much you read into these things but those votes are from staff, and so it may show that KPMG employees are very happy in their jobs.

Lastly as someone mentioned, all KPMG LDN Auditors will be based in the new Canary Wharf offices which are supposed to be very very nice.

Congratulations on getting offers from both firms, your choice is one which many many people would love to make.

p.s. can you tell that I will be starting in KPMG LDN Audit in 2010?

#11

Hey buddy,

bizarrely enough I find myself now in exactly the same situation as you!

I actually made another thread to try and get some other people’s opinions on the dilemma…

http://www.wikijob.co.uk/forum/accounting-professional-services/kpmg-or-ey-audit

Anyway, so have you made your final choice by now? Personally I’m currently leaning very very very slightly towards EY, because I preferred their offices, it’s slightly easier for me to get to, and the firm itself seems just a tad more mature and professional when ive been there…

however, saying that, I’ve been desperately researching this last week or so to see if EY can match KPMG’s apparently really really lively social scene, I know for sure that theres tons of sports clubs etc to join at KPMG, and frankly I havent heard of that at all at EY - I just hope it does exist there too.

Contract-wise, im sure you would also see from looking at the two, they offer pretty much exactly the same, base salary is like £500 lower for me at KPMG, but then I think they give you something like £4 a day for lunch, PLUS im massively liking this AMEX company card you get to use for expenses at KPMG too… :wink:

Also, do you know anything about bonuses at either firm? Apparently youre eligible for exam, performance, and general related bonuses from your second year at KPMG, and I havent heard anything of that from EY - so at the moment thats yet another factor that’s making the two firms all the more difficult to choose between…

Anyway, Id love to hear how you made your decision (and why!), or if anybody else has any decent reasons for choosing one over the other…

Thanks

Stephen

#12

Good work! Congrats! I’ve gone for EY - I have written a brief reasoning on your thread. Let me know what you decide!