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Choosing the right accounting firm to start your career

Team GradAustralia

There are 3 types of accounting firms: the Big Four, mid-tier and boutique. We give you the lowdown on each to help you choose where to start your career.

Now, friends, it’s time to get yourself a job! You’ve already considered your own skills and assessed which areas of accounting you might be suited to, so now it’s time to think about the type of firm you want. What’s your flavour? Big? Little? Specialist? All-rounder? Do you hanker for a party firm? One with the fastest pathway to partner?

Choosing the right organisation is integral to your short and long-term success. Finding the right colleagues, the best mentors, work that will really push you to greatness, is essential. It’s not enough to just like accounting. Now you have to find the environment that will help to bring out the best accountant in you.

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of accounting firms

Although it feels like a dirty class system, complete with prestigious firms and their runners-up, bigger isn’t always better. There are actually several benefits to working with any type of firm. The goal is to choose a size and style that best suits your needs when it comes to lifestyle, training and growth.

Some firms offer more personalised mentoring programs while others are all about hands-on experience. Some work with the biggest brands in the world, others focus on SMEs and startups.

Although the nature of the work might be similar amongst firms, the company culture will differ wherever you go. For example, KPMG is widely known for its excellent training and friendly teams, whereas KordaMentha has long hours but interesting work on some of the country’s biggest insolvency cases.

Below we’ll try to detail the overall ‘package’ offered by each type of accounting and professional services firm. These include things like pay packet, corporate lifestyle, community benefits, prestige, non-financial perks, travel or relocation opportunities, growth and education, and lifestyle commitments.

Big Four accounting firms

These include PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG.

Mid-tier accounting firms

Examples of mid-tier accounting firms include Findex, Pitcher Partners, Grant Thornton, BDO, William Buck, PKF, KordaMentha, and RSN.

Small or boutique accounting firms

Examples of small or boutique accounting firms include CountPlus, UHY Haines Norton, Kelly+Partners and Prosperity Advisers Group.