The Big 4 Dilemma

The Big 4

A job at one of the Big 4 (#KPMG, #PWC, #Deloitte, #EY) has always been a dream in the journey of CA at some point. Yes, they are the top accounting and auditing firms in the world but again, the bigger they are the more diverse profiles are offered to the prospective candidates. So, should a candidate join a Big 4 (B4)?

A prudent answer will be, it depends on your aspirations. To simplify, let us break it into phases of a CA's life and the impact of joining Big 4 at that point of time.



This is the first time an aspiring CA must make a choice of the firm. The options are sole proprietary firms, mid-size firms or one of the B4. Unlike the other firms, the B4 offers super-specialisation generally in only one field.

For example- If a candidate is selected for internal audit, he/she must remain in the same department for the rest of his articleship period. Yes, some firms do offer a chance to shift to other departments but likelihood of getting a shift is very slim. This has both pros and cons. An article becomes a specialist in the field but at the same time does not get to learn practically about other aspects of CA curriculum. So, only a candidate who is inclined in perusing a specialisation should ideally opt for a B4. To add on, an articleship in B4 also entitles you to a higher designation on qualification as compared to a non-B4 candidate.

Candidates should also keep in mind that B4 offers specialisation which may not be limited to just Tax and Audit. To give a perspective, Tax will be divided into Direct and Indirect Tax. Direct Tax will further be bifurcated into various sub-levels like BFSI, PE, M&A and so on. A candidate will be placed in one of the sub-levels. Nomenclature and the depth of levels vary in different B4s. So, in fact, it’s not just specialisation but super-specialisation. Just like orthopedics and radiology being a branch or super- speciality in medical science.

Apart from the previously mentioned advantages, B4 will give you a taste of corporate culture very much in advance as compared to your peers and will help you in polishing your interpersonal communication skills.



The world is open at this stage for a CA and ample career options are available not being confined to the two widely popular CA related branches of Audit and Tax. However, keeping the different options for some other post, lets discuss about what B4 offers. The answer is simple, ALMOST EVERYTHING. The only exception being some service profiles which are starkly not related to a CA like data science and analytics. But offering everything does not tantamount to job, because B4 at this point gives a 'reality check' to the freshly passed out CA.

Take this with a pinch of salt but now the actual 'game of attempts and ranks' start. Most of the candidates with multiple attempts in clearing CA are rejected for niche profiles (management consultancy, valuation). It’s a sad thing to judge based on number of attempts but yes, that's how it works. Concisely, higher the number of attempts, lower are your chances. But, having said this, we don't mean that only first attempt or rankers make the cut. One should always try because there are instances of even multiple attempt CA being selected.

Openings and opportunities are maximum for core CA related profiles like Tax and Audit, again with specialisation being involved and the chances of getting shortlisted in these profiles is relatively easier than niche profiles. B4 is globally known for its accounting, tax and audit practice and being a part of these profiles gives you a global brand recognition, a CV point worth bragging. Monetary compensation is the best in the industry and non-monetary rewards are in abundance. Also, an employee gets to work with global clients at times. Further, switching a job in the same domain is a relatively an easy task for a B4 employee.

Experienced CA

We believe that you know the game and drill by now . However, to summarise, it’s much easier to switch amongst B4 once you have earned work experience. Also, for a non B4 background CA with work experience, it’s not a challenging task to enter provided you prove your mettle in the interviews.


Feel free to comment if we missed any point or you have a query which is not addressed. Also, B4 employees are welcome to share their experiences.@Share Experience