I understand that securing a job in this climate is very hard, I wish all of you the best. For anyone interested in a career in accountancy, before you jump for joy like I did when I was offered a role with one of the Big 4. Let me warn you, and honestly if you do care about your future and potential exit options, don’t sign with any accountancy firm unless you are very certain that you want to become an accountant, if you are thinking of just getting a ACA, CA, ACCA or what ever, go do self study cause you will have less stress and besides the big 4 will gladly take you once you are qualified. The churn which Big 4 has is absolutely scary…
Please read the contract very carefully because some firms are out to do you in, because if at any point in time if you want to leave (i.e. hate the job, found a better opportunity, have a crappy manager), you will be left with a hefty bill to repay because they ‘paid’ for your studies. In my humble opinion if a good company is one that really wants the best for you, they would pay for your studies and not bind you (yes there are these kind of companies out there, go search). The Big 4 are making cheap labour out of you because it is an employers market now, and you cannot even negotiate your salary! This is because there will always be some mark out there to suck up the lovely carrots they dangle in front of you. They will dangle the £7000 loan in front of your face and all the wonderful “benefits” which you have to pay out of your salary. I cannot imagine that one do not even get private healthcare as a trainee in my firm (that was shocking! You actually have to pay for it!). Some people I know in my firm really hate their work but don’t dare to quit or leave because they are extremely afraid of getting into debt due to the extremely unfavourable terms in the contract (i.e. being inundated with additional debt burden).
So dear boys and girls don’t be fool by all the corporate marketing that they do to entice you students, think carefully and just because you are desperate to get a job, you sign 3 years of your life away. 3 years is a long time my friend and in 3 years there are many things that can happen.
Sure the impact of having a Big 4 on your CV is great but to be very honest, the pay is crap, quality of people you work with are sometimes not exactly ideal, and the working hours are sometimes akin to investment banking. So to put it in short, you are a underpaid, overworked monkey and the best part is you don’t even get a decent bonus, it is laughable.
I can rant a lot more about the unfavourable treatment of graduates, my final advice is this if childhood ambition is to become an accountant, (yes I know there are some of you out there that love you debits and credits, go on they will receive you with open arms), otherwise look before you leap and don’t think that the studies are easy, trust me, with the pressure they put on you and with their 1 retake and you are out policy, the lovely beautiful image that you have of the firm will disappear away really fast.
Take good care of yourself and take a stand against your employers. Good luck boys and girls