I had the chance to ask one of my Senior Managers a few questions. Working at EY has provided her with the opportunity to work in several different countries, travel across the world, and progress to such a high level in a relatively short amount of time.
In your opinion, why is it beneficial for young people to start their careers out at a Big 4 firm?
Working at a Big 4 provides you with a solid foundation and grounding to then progress in the professional world. There are some basics around professional etiquette (such as relationship building, presentations, coaching and mentoring) plus work basics that I still keep today from when I began my career out of university.
Also, there is also the opportunity to meet very talented and smart individuals that want to see you succeed in your career.
Lastly, another pro for working at a Big 4 is the variety and exposure to different clients and industries. There is an opportunity to specialize later on depending on what interests you.
What advice do you have for university students who are looking to join a Big 4 firm?
Network as much as possible both internally and externally and at all levels – get to know your internal team in as many service offerings as possible and get to your clients externally. The breadth and depth of your relationships, if maintained, is invaluable throughout your career. Also, be flexible and open to new assignments and types of work.
What are a few things co-op students or new full-time campus hires should do to be successful at a Big 4 firm?
1) Do what you say you are going to do: lead by example.
2) Network: get to know people at all levels (in the organization and on client-site)
3) Learn as much as possible: there are opportunities around every corner. Be a ‘sponge’ for knowledge
4) ...Lastly, have fun!
Thanks very much!
If you’re looking to break into the Big 4, one great way to do so is to attend the summer conferences held by the firms.
Networking Opportunities: You have near-exclusive access to recruiters and key employees for an elongated period.
Explore Firms: See if the culture at a particular firm is right for you. Do you like the employees that you meet? Can you picture yourself working in the office you visit?
Get Hired: A lot of people who attend summer conferences get offers for co-op positions or full-time roles.
-Deloitte: Deloitte National Leadership Conference 2017 (Toronto)
-EY: #EYHeadStart (Toronto)
-EY Emerging Leaders Program (Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver; Deadline April 2, 2017)
-KPMG: KPMG Executive Look 2017 (Toronto; Deadline April 2, 2017)
-PwC: PwC Talent Academy (Toronto)
There are workshops, team-building activities, meet-and-greets, scavenger hunts, and lot of other fun things!
Perfect! Conference deadlines (and event dates) vary across the country – so do some research and get applying!
Didn't Get Accepted? Don't Worry!
Several of the large accounting firms also host office visits throughout the summer, in anticipation of the craziness of September recruiting season. Ask your university career centre for more details.
-Neal, yconic Student Ambassador
Although graduating from university is an exciting time, there are a few things soon-to-be accounting graduates should think about well in advance of walking across that convocation stage. Here are 3 of the most important:
#1 Sharpen Your Excel Skills:
MS Excel will be one of the programs you’ll use the most in the workplace; it would be good to familiarize yourself with some common formulas and functions. You may even find it worthwhile to take short course – you’ll thank yourself later!
#2 Prepare For The CFE:
Take a look at the CPA Competency Map to find out exactly what you need to know for the last exam in the CPA process, the Common Final Exam (CFE). Also, organize your notes to make studying more efficient. Although you have a ways to go for the CFE, pre-planning never hurt anyone!
#3 Post-Grad Job Search:
Ideally, you will have a job in hand before finishing university. The bulk of recruiting for accounting roles occurs between late August and early October. That means, you’ll want to spend the summer before (the earlier, the better) doing research on your target firms, perfecting your resume and cover letter, and reaching out to any potential connections.
Is there anything else you think accounting students should do before graduating? What is the single most important thing? Comment below!