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Introduction – The Big 4 Playbook

I sat in the car, staring in disbelief. I could not believe what I was holding in my hands. For 5 years, I dreamed of this piece of paper and now here it was sitting in my lap, the golden ticket for an accountant, a written full-time offer from a Big Four Accounting Firm. The long hours of study, the interview preparation, the internship. All of it had paid off. This was indeed the best moment of my life and I was ready to sign on the dotted line so that I could join the ranks of the best accountants in the world.

Dream of working at Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or PwC? Do you dream of walking into the partner’s office and being handed the ultimate prize in the accounting industry? Have you worked your butt off for the past few years in hopes of obtaining a job offer from the Big 4? Do you want a job that will launch your accounting career from day one?

If so, then this book is for you.

I’ll be the first to admit that earning an internship or a full-time job at Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or PwC (The Big 4) is hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes good grades, strong leadership skills, and a certain inner fortitude to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

You could be an ideal candidate for the Big 4 but ultimately fall short of a job offer because you did not know how to sell yourself in the interview process. Or you could have the grades to work at the Big 4 but lack the necessary leadership capabilities to succeed at the Big 4. Or you know you could kill a one-on-one interview if you could only pass the test of the firm social events.

With this in mind, I created the Big 4 Playbook for the aspiring accountants in college, high school, or elsewhere who dream of working at Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or PwC. It is my goal with this book to help make the process of earning a Big 4 job easier and less stressful for you.

Based on my multiple years of firsthand experience, I will offer you tips and advice on how to earn a Big 4 accounting job.

But before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about my Big 4 experience.

I have been through the Big 4 recruiting process twice, once while at Boston College and then again as a graduate student at Vanderbilt. My first attempt to earn a Big 4 job did not go so well unfortunately. Luckily, I regrouped while at Vandy and earned an audit internship at one of the Big 4 Firms.

The audit internship went really well for me. I earned great ratings from my engagement teams and even received the highest rating an intern can receive on one evaluation. Because of this, I received a full-time offer.

Before I started full-time at the Big 4 Firm, I spent the summer studying for the CPA exam and ended up passing all four sections on the first try. As a result, I was able to earn my CPA license after a year of working as a full-timer, and I am still a licensed CPA today.

During my time as a full-time employee at the Big 4, I worked for over two years as an auditor and for almost another year as a tax consultant. In both instances, I worked my way up from staffer to senior. In fact, I earned the title of audit senior in less than two years.

Now, I have made it my priority to share with you all the lessons I learned along my Big 4 journey.

It is my goal to provide you with the valuable insights and secrets that I learned and utilized in my career to become a top notch employee at one of the best accounting firms in the world. Armed with this knowledge, I believe you can not only earn the job you have dreamed about but you can also outshine the rest of your colleagues and shoot to the top of your class.

As you read on, the Big 4 Playbook will answer the following questions:

  • Unsure of how the recruiting process works? I will walk you through each step of the Big 4 recruiting process starting at Step 6.
  • Fearful your GPA automatically eliminates you from consideration? You will love my insights on how to overcome this in Step 3.
  • Want to dominate the on-campus interview? Have a leg up on your classmates with my PROVEN answers to the most important Big 4 interview questions in Step 7.
  • Terrified of the Big 4 social events like I was? Learn in Step 6 how I overcame this fear and convinced the firms I possessed the social skills needed for the job.
  • Struggling to decide whether to go into audit or tax? It can be a tough choice. I struggled with it myself. My insights in Step 5 help to determine which is best for you. I wish I had known about them when I was in school.
  • Already landed a Big 4 Internship? Great! Now become a star intern like me with my PROVEN tips for interns in Step 10.
  • Still on the fence as to whether a Big 4 Accounting Firm is the right career move for you? Read in Step 2 what working in the Big 4 can mean for your career.
  • Afraid your school already eliminates you from consideration? Don’t worry. It doesn’t, and I will tell you why in Step 4.
  • Can’t decide which firm to sign with? In Step 9, I give you the checklist I used to determine which firm was best for me.
  • Applying to undergrad or graduate school? You will want to read in Step 4 the criteria I used to determine which school gave me the best odds of earning a Big 4 accounting job.

If any of these apply to you or you just want to add these valuable secrets to your already strong resume, read on and you will be closer to realizing your goal of earning a Big 4 accounting job.

The Big 4 Playbook is divided into 10 easy to follow action steps for you. The order of these steps was designed to first educate on who the Big 4 Firms are and what an ideal employee looks like. Then from there, you will learn about the steps you must take to make yourself into this ideal Big 4 candidate. Each piece of the process is vital and should not be overlooked.

By the end of this book, I am confident you will have a strong game plan in place that will convince the firms that you are a person they NEED to hire.



About Russell

Hi, I'm Russell, author of The Big 4 Playbook and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Texas.

Before writing The Big 4 Playbook, I had the privilege of working as an auditor and tax consultant for several years for a Big 4 Accounting Firm. I am one of the few CPAs to serve as both an audit senior and a tax senior for a Big 4 Firm. During my time at the Big 4, the clients I served included Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies, government organizations, hedge funds, and more.

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Boston College and my Masters in Accounting from Vanderbilt University. I experienced the rigors of the Big 4 recruiting process at both levels of my college career, and I created The Big 4 Playbook to share the lessons I learned along the way with you.
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Introduction – The Big 4 Playbook

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