For many accountants, the Big Four accounting firms represent the dream. Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are each enormous in size, with incredibly stable career options—and plenty of ways to work your way up within the company. If you’re looking for career stability, a high salary, or the potential for long-term growth, you won’t find many superior options.
However, it can be a real challenge when pursuing a career with these major accounting firms—the level of competition you’ll face is fierce. There are hundreds of thousands of people working for each of these firms, and each year, they face more applicants than they can reasonably handle. Which means your application may get buried amongst the crowd.
So, how can you be one of the applicants who lands a job with the Big Four?
Ultimately, there are three ways you can dramatically increase your chances of getting a job with the Big Four:
1. Qualifications. First, you need to be sufficiently qualified to work at one of the Big Four accounting firms. These are prestigious businesses, so they tend to only hire the most impressive candidates with the right educational background, training, and certifications.
2. Differentiation. A Big Four firm receives tens of thousands of new applications every year. Why are you worth hiring over everyone else? If you have the same resume they’ve seen a thousand times, you’re not going to stand out. You need some way to differentiate yourself in a positive way.
3. An “In.” It’s also helpful to have an “in.” Have you ever heard the phrase: “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know?” This saying exists for a reason; businesses are much more likely to hire and work with someone if they have an existing successful employee vouching for them. It’s much less risky than taking a gamble on a total stranger. You may debate the merits of this approach, but that doesn’t change the fact that getting your foot in the door with a warm introduction can be a massive advantage.
These individual tips can all help you increase your chances of getting hired with one of the Big Four accounting firms:
As discussed, one of the best ways to increase your chances of landing a job with the Big Four is to pass the CPA exam as soon as possible. This exam is challenging even for experienced accountants, so it’s important to do your homework ahead of time. One of the best ways to prepare is with Wiley’s CPA Review Course, which will introduce you to all the fundamentals and make sure you have all the greatest content and tools you need to pass.
Get your free eBook: Essential Guide to the CPA Exam and get everything you need to know about starting the process of becoming a CPA.