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New Year Blues January 4, 2010

Posted by Audit Monkey in Working Life in Britain.

Strange what difference a fortnight makes. One moment, there is a degree of elation having reached Christmas without succumbing to destitution, then the grim reality of the New Year and the prospect of enforced job hunting again. Admittedly the latter is a long way off and is one of the perils of contracting but there is one big hurdle in the way. I’ve never worked in practice or for the ‘Big 4’.

‘What difference does this make?’ I hear you ask. Well, in the UK internal audit market there is a strong preference for candidates who have been ‘Big 4’ trained. For those candidates who haven’t got the prerequisite experience, one’s application or curriculum vitae doesn’t tend to reach the recruitment consultant’s e-mail outbox.

I have it on good authority that the bias exists due to the fact that those interviewing have previously been employed by the ‘Big 4’, thus recruit in their image. Fair enough but a quick look at thinkgr.com and gaapweb.com this evening shows an awful lot of job vacancies which demand ‘Big 4’ training or ‘Big 4’ experience. It may be the lateness of the hour but I am concerned about my next job move. While I have a tremendous amount of internal audit experience, I don’t have a particular specialism. It is moments like this I question whether all time and effort spent qualifying as an accountant was worth it as Internal Audit seems to be a prison from which you can not easily escape.

So what will my next move be? Answers on a postcard please.


1. ITaudit - January 10, 2010

I hear you. Fortunately, I’m on a long-term contract, but you never know.
As for the Big 4 bias, it’s no different in the US. A Big 4 background is gold, but I find the same is true for the Big 4 as everything else — the Big 4 has a big variety of talent, and a surprisingly large amount of inexperienced auditors.

I remember back in 2003 when I was rolling out SOX and had to train 2 sets of EY auditors. Remember in 2003 and 2004 when you couldn’t find any auditors? EY was hiring them right out of college with no experience and letting their customers train them. I trained 2 rounds of EY folks who didn’t know Unix from Windows or local accounts from Active Directory. Of course no one complained a whole lot as those kinds of auditors can’t find any serious problems.

At another company, I remember two senior EY auditors that understood the basics of IT and auditing, but couldn’t fathom anything that their checklist didn’t apply. So sad.

Good luck, friend.

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