Leaving PwC early



I’m considering leaving PwC before the end of my training contract, and would like to hear from anyone else who has or has heard of someone who has done the same?

In the terms of my contract is says they can charge me for courses/exam fees, but I’d like to know from experience whether they actually do this, and what the typical costs are.



Ive known people leaving to complete their training with other firms. How come you want to leave? Is it the role or the firm? How much of your ACA have you completed? Market is tough, do you have anything else in place?


theyll charge you for the tests that youve done within the past 12 months (this is if you fail and get sacked, its probably the same if you just want to leave as well)


Are you really sure you want to leave? There are so many people that would pray to be in your position!


If there is anyway you can stay finish the ACA even if you don’t want to be an accountant for the rest of your life as gradtrainee says lots of people would love to be in your place

Yes they charge people who leave - they take it out of your last pay packet - chris one of the guys who started this site got charged.

However I thought if you get sacked then they don’t charge anything


Can i ask, why exactly do you want to leave?

Your living the dream dude!


I think that working as a trainee accountant is NOT in any way shape or form living the dream. I have seen too many graduates drift into accountancy and absolutely hating the whole mind numbing experience. Sure, once you’re qualified it can open doors to some very challenging and interesting careers but honestly, not many trainees enjoy their training years. It kills creativity, imagination and it’s dull. Survival is the name of the game.
Now, I survived it but still kick myself for not having the courage to go for a more exciting vocation.
My idea of living the dream? Michael Palin’s travel documentaries or John Simpson, correspondent in hellish places.



I was wondering if you could say why you want to leave PwC. I am going to start with them soon and i find it quite difficult to get a ‘real’ (and not just the marketing) idea of what it is like to work for them. I am one of those people who just kind of drifted into it and I am scared I wont like it but I do think it would open up opportunities for me to do other things. So sorry I cant help more with your question but it would be great to hear about your experience!


I’ve been made an offer in Corporate finance at another company. Whilst I have learned lots at PwC, auditing is not where I ever intended to be in the long term.

Whilst I could stay and complete my training contract before looking to make a move, having been made an offer here and now, it seems to me foolish to turn up the chance to move into where I want to be.

I was hoping someone would come forward who has actually left, with PwC’s intake being the size it is, I can’t believe there’s not a fair number of people who’ve gone through what I’m thinking about.


Let me just throw in my two cents here. I was doing audit & assurance ACA at PwC in London. I personally didn’t get on very well there and the work was making me depressed. I wanted to get sacked to save the expense but my parents advised me that it was better to leave with a clean record.

I had taken 4 exams, failed one (tax) and was due to retake it (at my own expense).

Ultimately, I had to repay £2000 which docked off my final pay check. I left a little over one year after I started.

I have heard since that the legality of these types of contracts has been called into question, and it is likely that they are not defensible from the employer’s point of view, but I am not a legal expert here.

I’m just going to add here that that one year at PwC, while I hated at the time, has set me up in such good stead for everything that’s happened since that I don’t regret it one bit- indeed I’m grateful for it.

Equally a number of my friends stayed and completed their [[ACA]] and have gone on to get pretty good jobs on pretty tasty salaries. Accountants rarely go unemployed.

Hope that helps, let me know what you decide to do!



thanks chrism2671, have private messaged you!


The ICAEW website states:

“Our lawyers have advised against including a clause in the standard training contract requesting the student to repay training fees if the contract is terminated. This type of clause may not be enforceable as a court of law could rule that it restricts the ability of the student to change their employment.”


However I wonder whether that would hold any weight …


Hi, firstly, thanks for replying to my post!

I was wondering whether you could provide me more specific information regarding the charges you were hit with when you left. Did they provide you with a breakdown of what they charged you, or would you be able to look back to see what the total bill was?

Essentially I want to work out what I am likely to be charged. How long ago was it that you left? Had you taken any profesional stage exams, or just the knowledge ones (although I’m not sure if you were taking the old ACA syllabus).

Any help you can offer would be much appreciated.


Hi chrism

After reading your post above i am really worried me. You see I have been made an offer by Deloitte London(audit), which i have accepted, and am excited by a career in audit. However, your post has really cast a shadow on my excitement; is the work really depressing? you seem like an intelligent person, were the ACA exams that difficut? Is it common to find students terminating their contracts? Your experience would be much appreciated…


Sure no problem.

*The charges totalled £2000 exactly.
*They were deducted from my final paycheck.
*They did not tell me what the charges would be until I opened my payslip, only advised that I may be charged.
*They did not provide a breakdown, despite my repeated request for this to be provided.
*I took the old syllabus, and took 4 professional stage exams (Audit, Tax, Accounting and another (I forget).
*PwC calculated the tax incorrectly, deducting it from my net earnings when it should have been deducted from my gross earnings before tax (as training courses required to maintain your position are tax deductible). After countless months of arguing with HR I instead recovered the tax from HMRC instead.

I should point out that although it was a complete kick in the teeth at the time (cause after all, a £2000 bill right after you loose your job is just what you want), I must admit the training has been completely invaluable and in retrospect, I would have paid £4000 for what I received. It was with that knowledge that I could start WikiJob, and all the technical knowledge means I deal with accountants and banks on an even footing.

I don’t blame PwC for the misery I suffered at their hands- it was really more that accounting and working for a large corporate was not for me.


Chris, did you ever finish your ACA exams or take ACCA?


I’m afraid I didn’t. I was doing [[ICAEW]] [[ACA]] at [[PwC]] but never qualified after that. I did a brief stint at the BBC and then started two businesses, the first of which failed (selling medical equipment), and the second of which was WikiJob :wink:


What year was it that you left PwC? I wonder whether their policy is still the same etc, not telling you what they are charging you for seems rather unreasonable.

Had you had college study for all of the 4 exams you had taken before you left? Did you ask them about the charge before you left? 2000 seems very steep, more than my monthly salary in fact…



yes the ICAEW website says that - however pretty much every accountancy firm has such a clause in their contracts and if you object to it they will withdraw the offer and employ someone else

I doubt any trainee who has quit had the cash or inclination to take them to court

I am pretty certain that the policy is still the same - simply because they can (and the risk of someone taking them to court is so tiny)


I left in 2007. I did the college study for all four exams. I did indeed ask them about the charge but they just didn’t say anything- they kept avoiding the question until I finally saw it on my payslip. I didn’t even know it would be taken out of my pay, I anticipated I would receive an invoice.

At the time I felt it was unreasonable however I have done really well out of what I learnt so I don’t feel bitter at all.

re: going to court. All accounting firms do not like going to court, so if you threaten them they will certainly pay up. You can use a medical problem such as the work was making you depressed, get a doctor to confirm it, and that will be fine, they will likely let you go. The work made me very depressed and I may have been able to explore this possibility.

As I am now an employer I should point out that a standard question that I ask anyone I interview is ‘have you ever taken, or attempted to take, a previous employer to court, or has any previous employment ended in mediation or tribunal?’. You can use your common sense to tell you how this looks. I would not take any employer to court for £2k- too risky.