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Big Four Accounting Salaries

redhare317redhare317 Posts: 1,449Registered User Senior Member
edited January 2013 in Business Major
Do all the Big Four firms pay the same, given equal experience and position? Also, in public accounting, do the Big Four firms pay the most, or are there any smaller firms that might pay more? It doesn't make sense that a smaller accounting firm would pay more than the Big Four, but in IB it seems like it happens. I know some boutiques pay more than the bulge bracket firms. Is it the same kind of thing for accounting, or is the Big Four the best place to work in the field of public accounting? Thanks.
Post edited by redhare317 on
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Replies to: Big Four Accounting Salaries

  • M.B.A./FinanceM.B.A./Finance Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    what are the big four firms?
  • bestmilerbestmiler Posts: 155Registered User Junior Member
    PricewaterhouseCoopers
    Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
    Ernst & Young
    KPMG
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    In general, the Big 4 pay the most, though there are some smaller firms that try to attract new hires by offering more--this is rare, though, as most smaller firms would rather college grads work for the Big 4 first and then come to them.

    Pay at the Big 4 varies greatly by location, but, in a given area, pay does not differ much between them. You'll find that most offers are within $3k, if not the same. When there is a difference, it's usually not large enough to be a deciding factor.

    I generally recommend working at the Big 4 right out of college for a few years. They are the best at training, it looks like gold on your resume and it's extremely hard to go from a small firm to a big firm (but very easy to go from large to small).
  • southpasdenasouthpasdena Posts: 1,718Registered User Senior Member
    location doesnt affect pay to much, it is the postition you get the determines your salary with annual pay ranging from 45k to 60k with a small bonus of a couple thousand.
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    "location doesnt affect pay to much, it is the postition you get the determines your salary with annual pay ranging from 45k to 60k with a small bonus of a couple thousand."

    I have to disagree. Depending on your area, you could receive an offer as low as $42k or as high as $55k (in New York).

    60K is unlikely for entry-level, even in New York. A senior would probably make 60k after two-years.

    Generally, tax pays a little better than assurance; however, the difference is usually minimal.

    southpasdena: Can you calarify what you mean by "position"? If we're talking entry-level, then there are only two positions--audit and tax--and the pay difference isn't large. If you're talking about large differences in experience (entry-level, senior, manager), then, yes, pay would be very different; however, I think that the original poster is looking for information about entry-level.
  • Teach2005Teach2005 Posts: 228Registered User Junior Member
    I have a friend who worked as an audit accountant for KPMG in Mississippi right out of school. His starting salary was $30,000. This was about 8 years ago, but I would still have to agree that salaries vary a lot by location.
  • dcfcadcfca Posts: 1,552Registered User Senior Member
    Maybe Southpasadena was talking about group, for instance -- Transaction Services is probably the best group to land yourself in if you join a Big 4, they've probably got better exit opps than other groups.
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    In which case I would agree-TS does get paid a bit better--however, the original poster seemed to be interested in public accounting positions and not TS.

    Whether or not TS provides better exit opportunities would depend a lot on what you want to do, I guess--I'm not sure they would be better than having been in audit.
  • Pre-medwannabePre-medwannabe Posts: 809Registered User Member
    From what I have heard of these companies, they literally resemble the corporate ladder, meaning that you satrt out bascially the same and then your career can take off and you can bring in much bigger bucks by the time you apply to an MBA program or master's degree in accounting.
  • TwistyTwisty Posts: 81Registered User Junior Member
    Would working for the Big Four exponentially increase your chances of getting into a top tier b-school? (Assuming your GMATs and UG GPA are within range)
  • dcfcadcfca Posts: 1,552Registered User Senior Member
    Would working for the Big Four exponentially increase your chances of getting into a top tier b-school? (Assuming your GMATs and UG GPA are within range)

    Work experience is work experience.

    If you get a job and can demonstrate that you did great things there then that should be enough.

    This girl that recently graduated from my school did a 2 year stint with Ernst and Young and then a 1 year stint with the Gap, she's now at Wharton.
  • CheapseatsCheapseats Posts: 932Registered User Member
    is it all that hard to get a job at these places? Also do these places do a lot of consulting?
  • Pre-medwannabePre-medwannabe Posts: 809Registered User Member
    Not really if you go to a decent ranked school, but the consulting division might be harder to break into, but most do have them.
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    Keep in mind that a lot of changes have been made to each firm's advisory segments since Sarbanes-Oxley. Firms are no longer allowed to provide advisory services, bookkeeping services or have (just about) any other kind of relationship with their assurance clients. As a result, some firms have sold their advisory divisions (or at least parts of them). If you want to work for an accounting firm doing consulting (which is great from a career standpoint), you'll want to look into how their advisory practice changed. For instance, you'll want to know whether or not they even provide the services in which you are interested.

    As for difficulty of getting a job--it's not the hardest job to get, but there are very specific standards you have to meet. They tend not to hire as many people for the advisory positions (and it is the only Big 4 segment that finance majors are elligible to apply to, so there tends to be a lot of applicants), so the positions are a bit more competitive.
  • Pre-medwannabePre-medwannabe Posts: 809Registered User Member
    Just go to UIUC, you are almost garunteed an accounting job from a Big 4 upon graduation and its their best program. They rank #1 in the country for it.
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