Anyone regret leaving the big 4 early on in their career? There is usually too much information to remember. Go where you want to be. I say this despite #1 above because it’s the truth. 5 years from now no one is going to give a shit about whether the 2017 audited accounts payable balance should have been $125 million or $130 million or whatever. That said don’t make it a rushed decision. Had a choice to either try to jump up as an accounting manager in a larger company for several years and build that cred or boomerang back. You also learn a lot about how the company works. Switching service departments after you join full-time. The process is slow and usually they try to cut a deal with you to stay in audit for a couple more months or finish another busy season. One thing is true though - you gain technical experience faster at a firm, so it can never hurt staying longer. Yes we work late nights once in a while, but on average I work between 40-55 hours per week. Expected a shitpost, but end up reading through all 30 useful and well-written advice. Now they're working a more comfortable 8-6 every day as managers without having to deal with the grunt work and working 8-12. Scumbag Steve was undoubtedly one of the most popular advice animal memes which proliferated on Reddit throughout 2011-2013. You aren't looking for fraud (surprise! Coming from personal experience, unless they work in finance/accounting, most people will assume you are either do tax stuff or are some kind of business consultant. Big 4 isn’t the only way people. Big 4 pays for your study materials (Becker is like $4,000 out-of-pocket…), they give you a bonus ($5,000 at EY) if you pass, and you automatically qualify for the work experience requirement (all you need to do is wait one year). It’s important to get with a team that you enjoy working with. Resume for leaving Big 4 I have seen plenty of advice on here regarding resumes for obtaining internships or new associate positions at big 4 firms, but I have been unable to locate any information regarding resume advice for people potentially leaving big 4. There is more prestige with advisory. If you can get to senior, the supervisory experience will open up a lot of job options for you as well. What have a learned since? There are very few careers that allow you to start obtaining direct managerial experience by age 24. So if you study at UIUC, you will be recruited by Big 4 from the Chicago office. All three methods are very difficult to do (first one is impossible for basically everyone). Everyone starts somewhere. Personally, I think the most important one is #27. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. I'm starting at a Big 4 soon and I didn't do an internship so I have no idea what to expect. I would guess that 80-90% of my peers in the Chicago office are from Big 10 schools with strong accounting programs + a smattering of Depaul, Loyola, NIU. The pay is good, but I'm not sure it's justified by the feeling of anxiety I get every time I step into my building. 3. Give it a minimum of two years. Whether spots are available when you request the transfer. Translation: it will make you very unique. How far down do you have to go to find one where you can have a life too? There's always politics, always gossip, etc. All because of the nature of their clients – some clients are headquartered in Iowa and some clients have their corporate office in downtown Chicago. Also be careful when getting career advice from the higher ups. Early in your career, public is the best place to start. Public is the best way to guarantee you'll learn quickly and consistently. Expect oil and gas clients. On top of that, most of my projects seem to be around proprietary tools used by my firm that don't seem applicable to other jobs/companies. At the same time, I hate my job and would really prefer to work someplace else. What is important is that you make an effort to understand your work and that you maintain a positive attitude towards your work and the team you work with. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Another benefit to working with very motivated and smart individuals is the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from a job well done. –  Annual promotion. But it's true that the higher you go in public, the better the pay is when you get out. This can be incredibly stressful because when your senior gives you a deadline, you often cannot meet it solely because the client didn’t get it to you in time. Being an audit superstar can be doable but the problem with this one is that if you are really good at auditing, the manager/partner from your team will try to keep you on their team because they don’t want to lose you. A few additional points that came up after my initial post: (31) You get to work with your peers. Take the advice at your own risk. In my opinion, you are basically useless for the first 6 months to 1 year in any job, depending on how difficult the job is. There are also hundreds of boutique consulting firms out there. That’s a hefty amount of money. Is it that because they plan on staying only temporarily, they don't have to be decent to people? Disclaimer: The following information represents only my personal feelings and ideas about public accounting at a general level.