I HATE THE BIG 4!!!
If you made it to this page, then you likely hate your job at the big 4 or you’ve heard about how bad the big 4 is.
Does big 4 life really suck that bad? Like all things in life – it depends.
It depends on a lot of factors. It is common to hate your big 4 life though.
Reasons to hate the big 4
Big four working hours – the big 4 accounting firms have some of the longest hours of any industries. This is why big 4 accountants get paid so well. Not many people can work hours on end with little recognition. When is busy season (link to another post)
Is The Big 4 Toxic – yes the big 4 can also be toxic. What this means is that there are many people with toxic personalities. Why is this? This comes from the point before. You have to work long hours. Not many people want to do this. Because of this, the big 4 is willing to accept a lot of people that other companies won’t. Professional services is also a communications-based industry. This means that great communication is key. You pair that with that there are lots of tight deadlines. It doesn’t make for a good combination. If communication isn’t good, then this can lead to a lot of frustration and a lot of confrontations. Many people quit on the spot over confrontations.
As recent as 2021, the big 4 was facing multiple bullying allegations.
Clients – Clients can also make you hate the big 4. If you have a bad client or clients, then you will hate your time at the big 4. What types of clients make life difficult.
- Clients that push back on everything. This can be anything from providing workpapers or scheduling calls
- Clients that are mean. Some clients are just mean to you on purpose. This is especially true for auditors. Clients feel that auditors are out to prove that they are wrong.
- Complicated clients – some clients are just too complicated. They might have a different way of doing every workpaper. Maybe they conduct a lot of transactions that are hard to keep track of. Complicated clients can make you hate your big 4 career.
The benefits aren’t that good – Big 4 benefits aren’t that good when compared to industry. Industry typically has better bonuses and better retirement plans. The big 4 use consulting firms that tell them the lowest cost human resource benefits to provide to their employees. The medical plans are also expensive when compared to other companies. They don’t have good benefits compared to startups and similar companies like google. This makes it hard to stay for many people as they grow their families.
Many people talk about the ability to expense things in the big 4. You can only expense meals if you work an insane amount of hours. This is not a good benefit compared to many startups that provide food in common areas.
You don’t feel like you have a purpose – A lot of times you feel like you have no purpose when you work at the big 4. This is one reason I hate the big 4.
Big 4 Accounting Depression
Is it common to have depression at the big 4 accounting firms? I would say no.
If you are prone to depression, working at the big 4 accounting firms won’t help.
Big 4 accounting depression is possible thought because of the working hours. Big four working hours are so long and can take up a majority of your day. If you find big 4 work depressing, then it might cause depression because it is your primary focus.
This is why the big four push for worklife balance. Having any kind of worklife balance is truly difficult at the big 4 accounting firm. You must force it to happen otherwise you can spend your whole day working.
What to do about big 4 hate
What can you do about your big 4 hate?
Should you leave the big 4? This is one way to deal with hate for the big 4 life.
Leaving big 4 after 1 year – Many people give up at the big 4 after one year? They wait to see what it is like, but they just can’t make it another year. Is this a good solution? I don’t think so. It doesn’t look good on the resume, and you don’t really learn anything.
See a therapist or executive coach – Talking to a therapist will help you deal with the hate you have for the big 4. This is also better than talking about work with your spouse. Spouses and significant others often can’t deal with your stress either. They just don’t understand big 4 life and that is why I suggest therapy.
Change groups – Many people want to change practices or groups. This is a good solution but changing groups or lines of service is difficult. If it is truly your wish to switch groups, then you should try to switch. Many people do it. It’s just a little difficult.
Understand that you will face difficulty when trying to switch groups.