This Article is written to give an idea of how is the articleship experience in BIG 4
This is a Personal experience of an articles student
My article here is about Life in the BIG 4’s. Since I was privileged enough to pursue my articleship training both from a mediocre firm as well as a BIG 4, I can easily tell that there is a huge difference and training in BIG4 is better!
I did my final year of articleship training from Deloitte and before that I had worked with a mediocre firm for 2.5 years.
How did I get into Deloitte
I seconded myself with Deloitte for a period of one year which is the maximum possible duration of your secondment. Generally ICAI does not allow transfer of articleship but secondment is allowed so it’s easy to get your final year of articleship as Secondment or Industrial Training.
My First day experience at Deloitte
It was my first day in Deloitte and I was all charged up and somehow I always wanted to go to a place from where you see Huge buildings, lined up cars, and the people all dressed up in formals
In all the BIG4 I guarantee you, you definitely find such an exhilarating experience that you just do not want to leave it once you are in it. So as I was walking towards my office in DLF cyber City, I realized it is a huge compound. It must be 1 km long from the car parking to the Building10, Tower B of the Infinity Towers in Gurgaon. So when you walk, the rush of the air on the face and the sunlight just gleaming all over makes you feel as if you already are a star or something.
I had never experienced such an intense moment when I was working in a mediocre firm. Since it’s such a big area you certainly get confused the first day where to go, what to do in so many buildings so latakte patakte I managed to reach office just in time. The time I stepped in the office made me realize yes, this is it. This place is just PERFECT! Separate cabins, different departments, neat and tidy…. wowww…
So I moved on and finally met my senior manager. He introduced me to other team members, I got my laptop and was straight away sent on work. There is separate software named AS2 for working for audit here in Deloitte which I got to know once I started working on it.
There was no previous 10 day training or anything which you are given, so it was all On the Job Training.
My first client was a BPO. It was an outsourcing agency which provided many services. So I met my seniors there and they guided me regarding how the work is done and I was allotted expenses checking.
For reference I had previous year working paper and then I started to check the expenses. One thing I noticed that we had a method to select samples for checking. In mediocre firms we had to do 100% checking. But here I was given sampling method named as CMA.
Next after I checked the expenses I realized how the organization works, what are its major areas of working, what are the major sources of Revenue etc, there is so much new to learn that it opens up your thinking cap.
Then after that there were methods of Documentation. Gosh! that was one big task. Not documented means not Done!! This is the BIG 4 policy. So one had to attach all the reference documents, all the synopsis had to be made for rent, loan agreements, all references had to be given to ensure authenticity of your work. This gives you a experience that okay, for everything whatever you do you need to have a source for reference and attach it, in life also it helps you though
Then after operating expenses were done I was given payroll checking. In the payroll you realize what all is the company salary structure, how is the payment done, different deductions done, how is payment disbursed. The authorities responsible for signing, the approvals required for giving any advance to any employee, allowances of all sorts. Then Provident fund, EPF etc.
Everything is just so detailed that it can leave no margin for error. Then after Operating expenses and Payroll checking I was given Fixed Asset checking. Since it was my first year I was only given these areas.
So after working for 2 months at the BPO, I was then allocated a manufacturing concern. There I was given the same work but I was given Revenue Checking as well. In revenue checking you check the major sources of Revenue generation, you check how the revenue is being collected, how the taxes attached with the revenue generation is being paid. So that makes Income tax also linked with it.
Then I was given production checking, so since it was a manufacturing concern, excise was applicable. For the first time I checked Excise registers, and Oh my God! I was spellbound that ohkay, aise bhi hota hai…..
Then after checking Revenue, Operating Expenses, Fixed Assets, Payroll, I was finally able to learn the details as to what all is required to be checked, how do you proceed with other checking.
Then after that I did a Limited Review for an Air Catering company, then year-end audit for a real estate company, Electricity Company, Leasing and Finance company etc. So there are diversifications in terms of clients and there is very much to learn in a Big 4.
Drawbacks of Big 4
There are serious late nights. One has to report at 10 a.m. and there is no time for coming back home. It could be 11 p.m. or even 2 a.m. in times of pressure. On the whole it is an experience worth taking but you seriously miss out on your coaching and then study becomes a difficulty.
I guess you yourself are your best judge as to how you can manage your studies and obviously if you are working in a BIG4, there is job security, so if your attempt is delayed or you don’t get time to study, don’t panic. You gain some, you lose some!
My Personal View
In the BIG 4 you do get understanding of different Businesses, so you get a fair idea about what would you want to do after you are qualify. So, I guess work is same everywhere wherever you go but I am sure the way the work is done in BIG 4 and the way a CA student overall shapes his personality it can never be done anywhere else..
I would request all my juniors to try for their training in a BIG 4, if you don’t get it then don’t get disheartened, become a CA asap and start working with a BIG 4 but do work with a BIG 4 once in your life