Graduated. Working in Private. Want to Transition to Big 4.


From the mailbag:

Hi Andrew,

My name is Rebecca and I wanted to thank you for the valuable information you shared with us during the webinar today.

I have my bachelor's degree in accounting and I'm sitting for all four parts of the CPA exam by the end of this year. I currently work in an entry level A/P job and have a previous internship in taxes, but my plan is to transition to Big 4 firms as soon as I pass all 4 sections of the CPA exam.

Most of the information I find regarding jobs at Big 4 firms seems to be directed to students (get a summer internship, apply for an entry-level associate position). I also can't find any information regarding networking opportunities or career fairs with Big four reps. I've hear about Meet the Firms week, but I don't know exactly when or what that is.

What would your recommend I do to get into a firm, or find networking opportunities with the right people?

Thanks again for the webinar, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


Most people mistakenly think you need to be in University and get an internship to work. Not true. In fact most people are hired right after they graduate (no internship) or from another job in public or private accounting.

When you are making the move from another company, you are known as an experienced hire.

Experienced hires can start at other dates during the year, especially if they have public accounting experience. If you’ve already been working in public accounting, they’ll get you started right away (February, March, August or whatever) and send you to the next available training.

If you don’t have public accounting experience, you can still start at any point during the year. It’s less likely, but I have seen it done on multiple occasions.

What you have to do is get on a game plan to find a job in 3-4 months. I honestly don’t care about you passing the CPA exam before you start the search.

If you have the education requirements and have started studying, you can start applying for positions now!

What will make the difference in applying for positions is:

Are you randomly submitting applications for job postings OR are you reaching out directly to recruiters and partners to share your resume and cover letter?

80% of jobs never get posted. Waiting for a job posting is an extremely passive way of looking for a job, especially in the Big 4.

The main strategies I would use a graduate are:

  1. Directly reaching out to 1 recruiter/HR person and 2 partners per company.
  2. Finding the career fair dates at my University and attending (typically September/February).
  3. Attending any state CPA society events and networking.

I created an entire course with all of the information I would use in step 1:

  • Resume template
  • Cover letter
  • Spreadsheet to track follow up emails with firms
  • Email template to copy and paste (75%+ response rate per firm)

The trick is to keep following with them until you get a response. Yes, 4, 5, or 6 follow up attempts.

It doesn’t take them one second to say: GO AWAY.

But if they get mad, who cares!

You were never going to work there anyway. Good luck and keep us posted on your journey!

  • Telita Hernandez

    Great response. Can you please send a link to the course?