working at PWC - what's it like?



I happened to stumble accross this forum while googling for info about working at Pricewaterhousecoopers. It’s really good, I wish I had found it earlier!

Anyway I’ve just received an offer from PWC for a graduate traineeship in Business Recovery Services/ Assurance and need to decide if I want to take it. I studied history and philosophy at uni and to be honest had never thought about going into accountancy/ consultancy until very recently. I’m now really scared that I’ll take the job and it’ll be totally different to what I’ve done before and I’ll hate it.

Does anyone know what its like to work for PWC? I’m expecting hard work and long hours but I want to know if it can also be interesting and if the company treats you reasonably. Also what are the other trainees/managers like? Are they mostly people who have wanted to be accountants since they were 12 or are there plenty of people like me who apply in a flurry of “what on earth am I going to do when I finish uni”?

Hope someone can help, I’m sooooo undecided at the moment!


Well firstly, well done!!

I have just accepted an offer myself and, coming from a legal background, had never considered accountancy prior to making the application! I got the feeling it was a mixed bag of people. Some who did indeed want to be accountants since birth but many like us who have jst fallen into it. The hours can be long and arduous, especially through busy times, but there are apparently lots of social events and everyone I met was really friendly.

I received a call from my buddy the same day as I received my offer. This was a good person to talk to as they were in your position a year ago! If they haven’t assigned you one yet, give them a call and ask if you can speak to someone to answer some questions. They’ll totally understand there are some things you don’t want to ask recruitment!! What office will you be working in? Hope this helps…



Accountant1981 - congratulations!

I haven’t been assigned a buddy yet, but thats a good idea I think I’ll phone up and ask about that. I had an individual assessment as I’m living in Germany and wasn’t able to make it to the other assignment dates, so apart from the people who assessed/ interviewed me, I’ve not met anyone else.

What kind of age group were most of the people you met? I’m also a bit worried that a lot of people are going have been straight through school, straight through uni and straight into this job. I’ll be 25 when I start and my uni career has been a bit more varied than most, so I’m also a bit worried everybody will be 21/22 with no other experience and I’ll find it difficult to relate to them.


It was pretty varied. I will be 27 when I start and I’d say, whilst some people are fresh out of uni, there seemed to be a varied age group. I read somewhere the average age was 25, which seems to fit with the people I met. Also, you’ll be working inteams with people senior to you, thus older, so I wouldn’t worry too much about being a bit older!


I used to work for another Big Four. Don’t worry about the age factor. I remember a guy who started as a grad when he was 37. Only a couple of guys in my grad group where straight from school-uni-work. A lot of them where 24, 25, 26 etc. - They wouldn’t hire you if they thought you wouldn’t fit in! =)

PWC are the best to work for mate. You’ll be surrounded by switched on motivated people. The grad program at a Big Four is better than any MBA in the world, you’ll be pushed and you’ll learn a lot about business; you’ll also make alot of life long friends along the way and enjoy a great social life!

I say go for it! If things don’t work out, you can always leave! (with a great name on your CV).


I worked for a Big 4 and don’t regret it at all. I quit because I decided accounting wasn’t for me but this doesn’t mean it isn’t for you. I can guarantee there will be a lot of difficult days- there’s no doubt about it- training for an [[ACA]] can be extremely difficult, arduous and monotonous sometimes (especially if you are in audit). If you have the right teams though, the time will pass more easily. Fortunately, the firms know how to entertain their staff and you’ll have a pretty good time doing that!

Prepare for 3 of the hardest years of your life if you enter. The rewards are more than worthwhile- good money, reasonably hassle free and assured life, not too many problems thereafter. I don’t know anyone who’s regretted getting the [[ACA]]. And, as said before, if you don’t like it, you can always quit, and you’ll still be miles ahead, just like me.



chrism - could you say why you decided accounting wasn’t for you? I’ve never done anything related to accounting before and so I’m worried it just won’t be for me and if I drop out before the end of the training I’ll have to pay back the fees for my ACA which won’t be cheap.


First- repaying the [[ACA]] training costs isn’t the end of the world. I had to repay £2000, which was fair, considering my salary was £26,500.

Secondly, training in accounting and finance is boring and tedious by nature- but some people love it, and others it doesn’t sit so well with.

The kind of people I met who found accounting satisfying work (as opposed to myself):
*Liked attention to detail and making sure things were absolutely right
*Could work in a slow and methodical way
*Didn’t mind doing what is essentially a paperwork job, rather than a people job.

It wasn’t really for me because I felt like I was being underutilised in audit. Maybe I should have done consulting instead. I had a 1st class degree in theoretical physics and felt they were taking me through it all much too slowly. Eventually, I got bored and sick of it, failed an exam and finally resigned. I don’t regret the experience though- I learnt a lot- without it this site wouldn’t exist for one. So all in all, worth doing.

I think the training is a particularly miserable experience, but once you’re through that it will open up many doors to an easy life which would otherwise have remained forever closed.


Hi Chrism,

So What industry you are working since leaving PWC? I am also confused if I am really have interest in accountant but I really wanna give a try and see how it’s goin. Moreover, I dont know what’s different from ACA and ACCA? Anyone can explain to me?


Yeah. Now I help run this website- I set it up after I left. I am also thinking about going back to science, which is what my degree is in. I think for me it would be more fulfilling- I learnt that money isn’t everything.

The difference between [[ACA]] and [[ACCA]] is quite substantial. Both are very respected accountancy qualifications, however [[ACA]] is considered to be the best. This is because you have to complete 3 years of work experience to obtain it, and the standard is a bit higher. The [[ACA]] focuses on giving advice to clients as much as it does on technical knowledge- something which is particularly unique about this qualification. If you are given the choice, take the [[ACA]]. I warn you from the outset- it’s much harder than any degree course you’ve ever done. The exams are very rigorous and a lot of people fail. You will still study every evening and every weekend in the run-up to exams. But, there’s only 9 of them over 2 years and the benefits are very worthwhile if you make it through.

There’s nothing wrong with trying accounting- I did. In the worst case you can just quit and do something else, no big deal.