Working at a Big 4 Regional Office


I was wondering if people could answer some of my questions, relating to working in a Big 4 regional office?

  1. Does working at a Big 4 firm in a larger regional office e.g Bristol or Manchester etc. have shorter working hours than working in London? I think this would be true but would like some clarification with regards to numbers.
  2. Are the hours in Corporate Tax shorter than those in Audit?
  3. How likely is it to work your way up from a trainee at a regional office to a partner at a regional office? Do most partners at the regional offices train and progress in London before moving out to the regional offices later on in their career?

Thanks for any replies. I appreciate these questions may seem very strange but they are important to me, as I would like to work in a regional office, with shorter hours than London, but am also quite ambitious.


i think Tax guys work fewer hours than Audit does.


I used to work at another Big Four. I wouldn’t imagine that there is any difference in the working hours in London or the regional offices. I am aware however that working in the financial services business stream of audit is particularly nutorious for late hours. Generally Audit works longer hours than Tax, however this is generally only in the ‘substantive’ phase of the audit cycle or what you might know as ‘busy season’. As a graduate I would imagine on an intellectual level Tax would probably be more challenging and a bit more intense, there is also alot of additional training that the tax guys have to do, it’s not easy, and you have to be really motivated. Not sure about your third question. It’s very common to have a secondment to London (or alternatively another country) during your career (your performance dictates what secon’s you might get offered). I think it’s very possible to work your way up in the same office and become partner, if fact your probably more likely to obtain partnership than some one coming in from London as you’ve built a strong relationships within the regional office and with the clients within that office. However London experiance is always a good thing.


To my knowledge… don’t think there is much difference in working hours at regional offices compared to offices in London. Face time and working late are all institutionalised characteristics of being a Big 4 accountant, no matter where abouts in the country you may be!

…your commute will probably be less though!


Ok, thanks for your comments. Could anyone give a definitive answer with regards to question 3? I want to work in my chosen regional office but would like to know if it is possible to work my way up to partner of that regional office (or are those that trained in London, always considered as better candidates). I know that it is very rare for anyone to make partner in general and am not deluded enough to think that it is likely, but I am just wondering in a hypothetical sense.

RedSuperted sais Chrism could help on another thread, so if your around Chrism, any help would be greatly appreciated.


Making partner takes about 10 years minimum, realistically 15. Most regional offices have just a few partners, so making it to partner at one of these offices is a little harder, as is getting promoted all the way through the ranks… however, many people start at regional offices and move to London, and vice-versa, and it should be fairly easy for you to move once you have qualified.

It is worth pointing out though that while all regional offices will do audit, many fewer will do tax.

Hours will probably be less in tax and more regular.

Please forgive me for sounding a little facetious, but asking how long it takes to make partner and how many hours you will have to work is quite a paradox- all the partners work extremely hard to get there and work the longest hours of all- evenings weeknds etc…

Hope this helps!


Incidently, hours at a regional office will be less than in London. Busy season hours for audit are always long, but this is only January-March every year. The rest of the year round it’s pretty tame.


Chrism - Forgive me for sounding facetious that is not how I wanted to come across. I genuinely had an interest in if it would be possible to make partner at a regional office. As regards to working hours, I am comparing them to working at a law firm or an investment bank (so sorry for not mentioning that). I am well aware that working the Big 4 will be a challenge (far more so than many graduate level jobs).

For some background info - I have an offer from Deloitte to work in Corporate Tax at a regional office (I did not apply to London as I having spent 3 years studying there I didn’t want to work there). I have work experience at a large commercial law firm and was wondering how the hours of the Big 4 at a regional office compared. The hours at this firm tended to be 9-6:30PM.

I do not want to work at an investment bank (ever since my second year when I researched what it entailed and quite how long the hours are).

The reason I am asking a few questions is that I have found that the Big 4 are very cagey in giving details on salaries, working hours etc. (much more so than law firms when I was interested in law previously).

My degree is in a science subject from a top 5 uni.

Thanks for your comments. I wasn’t looking for anything that would change my mind about accepting my offer, I just wondered if someone could help with regards to some questions that I didn’t know before I was joining.


There will be fairly long hours during busy season. Aside from that, hours will be relatively tame, predictable and even flexible. Don’t expect much flexibility and work life balance in the first 3 years while you train- if you aren’t working on client stuff you might well find yourself studying at night, but after that the hours are fairly reasonable when there is no deadline- in summer they will often be 9-5 ish.

Needless to say, the top performers always put in lots of extra hours- but nobody is compelled to do this.


Cheers Chrism thats really helpful.

One more question…I have heard from friends that at PwC you get salary increases every time you pass an exam. Does this happen at all Big 4 firms (I’m particularly interested in Deloitte)?


I’m not sure that it’s the same but it might well be. The salary increases at PwC come every time you complete a stage of the qualification, once after the ‘professional stage’ (first 6 papers), then when you’ve completed the ‘advanced stage’ (2nd year), and finally when you qualify.


Chrism, re the exams. Does this mean yo have finished all exams by the end of the second year so your third year is fully dedicated to practical training?

Also, would partner level be 10-15 years after qualification? I have no delusions I’ll get there but may as well aim for the top!


Yes that’s right. No exams in year 3, unless you fail any!

Good attitude aiming for the top!


Hi all,

Just have another question regarding Big 4 salaries in regional offices.

What’s the starting salary of KPMG if you are at one of these regional offices- London satellite?
I suspect it should be lower than London ones, isn’t it


Probably around 24k.


satellite office starting kpmg salary 20.5k


That’s depressing!