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Now, imagine twenty (random number) other practices such as PAS which falls under the RAS umbrella. Now once again try to imagine ten or so other service lines like RAS with once again a bunch of sub-service lines such as PAS. New practices form and old practices consolidate just about every year. Here’s an example: Imagine for a moment that a new regulation to govern “Wall Street” firms is passed and will be enforced in one year’s time.

These groupings also vary from country to country and region to region depending on client demand in that particular geography. This is a possible scenario, I might add, given today’s market conditions.

The Professional Services Career Path: A Big Four Employee Perspective What is it like to work on the advisory side of a Big 4 firm? Typically, if there’s time to discuss and there’s mutual interest in the exchange, I’m immediately bombarded with a slew of follow-up questions like: What do you do exactly? I respect all of the Big Four firms, especially mine, a great deal but feel that the only way to offer up a truly unbiased perspective on the lifestyle is to provide genuinely candid insight.

Click to learn more I’m frequently asked by friends, family, clients, job candidates and random people I encounter on my travels what it’s like to work on the advisory side of a Big 4 firm. Its goal is not to solicit top talent or self-promote services offered or whatever other angles you might have running through your head right now.

The reason I’m so consistently willing to discuss my perspective with so many people, especially young professionals, is that I was once in their position and had many of the same questions.

The primary purpose of this article is to offer a balanced perspective to those who may be interested in such a career path regardless of industry focus or subject matter area.

After some time contemplating the potential challenges that such a job would offer, I decided to pursue a chance opportunity to join the ranks of Ernst & Young LLP. Looking back, I feel as though the six years of professional experience I had accumulated prior to joining E&Y, although invaluable on many levels, simply did not hold a candle to the client exposure, professional networks and shear rapid-fire experiences afforded to me in my present capacity.

When I received answers to my inquiries from people in the profession, many of whom continue to this day to be my friends, I was intrigued.

My practice then rolls up into the “Risk Advisory Services” service line.

Let’s forget what these groupings actually do for the time-being. Because they have to so in order to remain current with the rigorous demands of an ever-changing market landscape.

Auditors during the busy season can easily spend sixty or more hours per week combing through data, searching for anomalies, and ultimately preparing reports that highlight their findings to a client.

Depending on the engagement, assurance work generally staffs younger personnel to handle the lion’s share of the research, which is then reviewed by seniors or managers and ultimately signed off by a partner before the findings are presented to a client.

A former colleague of mine summed it up with the following catchphrase: “What we sell is the space between these two ears.” This bit of Yoda-like wisdom was followed by a slowly pointed finger to my forehead.

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