Are you interested in finding a job at PwC, but not sure where to start? We will try to help you find the job you want by providing a brief overview of how the PwC careers process works.
PwC offers opportunities to experienced candidates and graduate candidates.
Before you get a job at the big 4 you have to make sure you fit in with the big 4 culture. Then you have to drill down even further and make sure you fit in with the culture at Pricewaterhousecoopers.
Once you figure out if you want to work at PwC you still have to figure out where you fit inside of PwC.
Choosing the line of service
Even if you currently work at PwC and are looking for a change, it’s hard to decide where to go. Should you choose advisory, tax or audit.
It is fairly difficult searching PwC’s website for career opportunities. Their careers page is largely built upon you searching their database which can be hard. I suggest searching through Indeed and then applying on PwC’s website. Indeed’s website is good for searching for jobs because you can search by description and you can search by salary range and and location.
Let’s take a look at what the current mix of careers by line of service are at PwC.
The mix of staff at PwC is currently
- 44% Assurance,
- 25% Advisory,
- 20% Tax and
- 11% internal firm services.
Because of this mix the most PwC Jobs will be in the Assurance line of service.
Audit(Assurance) is PwC’s largest line of service and what the firm is built upon.
Advisory is PwC’s second largest line of services by revnue and is growing rapidly. You also don’t necessarily need an accounting degree to work in their Advisory practice.
Advisory represented $11.5 billion of the 35.9 billion of PwC’s Revenue.
We go over the different lines of service further below, but make sure you think long and hard about the line of service you choose. It will impact the rest of your career. Don’t choose your line of service based on stereotypes.
Debunking myths about Lines of Service
There are many myths about the difference in lines of service that will lead people to choose them for careers. Don’t let these influence you. Make sure you do your research before choosing a line of service(we provide details about various PwC jobs below). You ultimately want to choose your big 4 career based on what your passion is, whether they offer that in your city, your personality, and the culture at the firm you will work at.
Don’t choose audit because you think that you want to go into finance one day. Many people that go into audit want to take a backdoor route into finance and becoming a CFO. I don’t want to say it’s not possible because I have seen many people do it. The problem is that you will first have to establish your brand in audit by doing grind work. You will then have to learn what a controller does and then learn what a CFO does. If you want to be a CFO, go into finance and operations directly and work very hard. If you become a CFO after being an auditor, it is most likely because you are very personable and very hardworking. It is easier to become a CFO starting out in finance. Your passion and hardwork and finance will serve you better to becoming a CFO.
Some of the reasons you might choose audit is because it is a secure job, you like audit work, you like the people you met in the audit practice or only audit is offered in your city. More specifically, you might choose PwC audit because they have a client that you want to work on. Another reason you might choose PwC Audit is because they have the most openings and clients in your geographic region.
Many people choose tax because there is a myth that you don’t have to see or interact with clients. Audit people camp out at client sites while tax people just prepare returns.
This is false. Tax people interact with clients on a daily basis. The big 4 accounting firms are pushing revenue goals more than ever which means that all lines of service have to be in front of clients selling and entertaining.
Some good reasons to choose tax are that you like conducting research. You have to research the tax law frequently for clients.
Another reason that you might choose tax is to problem solve. There is a lot of planning and problem solving situations in the tax line of service. You have to help clients plan for tax positions and situations with taxing authorities.
Choosing the Industry
You also need to make sure you head into the right sector at PwC. Obviously where you work will often dictate the sector, but sometimes you have choices. In New York, you will have a much easier time finding a job in the financial services practice of PwC than you will in the technology practice.
Alternatively, if you live in San Jose, technology services would be an optimal sector for you to work in.
Overviews of PwC Lines of Service
There are 3 core areas of Assurance
In external audit you will be auditing the financial statements of the clients of PwC. This is the core practice of PwC Assurance.
The risk assurance team within PwC really helps the external audit function of PwC. They do work around the IT internal controls of companies.
They also provide governance and risk & compliance services.
Their core service offerings are internal audit services, process auditing, third party assurance and IT and project assurance.
The transactions services side of the assurance practice would be more of the M&A consulting side of the audit practice of PwC.
They help with due diligence, M&A strategy, valuation, accounting, and financial reporting. This would be a hard group to break into without previous experience.
This would be a good group to look into if you ultimately want to end up in a finance role later in your career.
I’ve listed some areas of specialization and services that PwC offers in advisory below. Not all of these services are staffed with accountants, so just be cognizant of that.
If you aren’t an accountant and are looking for a job, PwC is a good place to look because of the many different types of services that are offered by their Advisory practice.
If you go into this area of PwC’s Advisory practice you’d be dealing with large data. You are most likely going to need a technology degree to go into this area of PwC’s Advisory practice.
Help companies benchmark their operations, product innovation, information technology and finance effectiveness.
Capital Projects & Infrastructure
In this practice you’d obviously be dealing with advising on large capital projects. This is a less accounting focused part of the Advisory practice. Some of the industries serviced in this practice are urban development, technolgoy, power & utilities, energy and transportation.
This practice is where PwC helps their clients understand their customers better. They offer services to help people strategize about how to engage their customers. They also offer marketing advisory services, pricing services, and analytical services.
This would be a good practice to go into if you have a marketing background. This practice services a multitude of industries including financial services, technology and health services.
In tax there are really three focuses. You will either focus on the accounting/audit side, compliance side or the consulting side. Many people also do a mix of all three.
Compliance means that you will be preparing returns for your client. The type of tax you will focus on depends upon the industry you decide to go into.
The asset management industry is primarily composed of partnerships, so you would focus on 1065s and partnership taxation.
The entertainment industry is largely composed of corporations, so you would focus on that side of taxation.
If you know what type of tax you liked in college, make sure that you choose the right industry.
There are also some pretty hot specialties within tax right now where you don’t necessarily focus on one industry. I’ve listed some below.
You will focus on either the consulting side of the international tax practice or the compliance side. Many people want do the consulting side because it is more interesting. You get to help clients structure their companies in a tax-efficent manner.
Mergers and Acquisition Tax
In this practice you will be helping clients on performing due diligence. If a client is thinking of purchasing another client, you will be involved in analyzing the best way to structure the transaction and analyzing tax returns of the company that is being acquired. This is always a popular choice in the tax practice.
Transfer pricing is another popular and growing area within tax because of increased scrutiny around the globe. More countries are focusing on analyzing companies’ transfer pricing reports, so that means more work for PwC’s transfer pricing practice. Transfer pricing is making sure that intercompany transaction are priced appropriately from a tax standpoint.
How to make more money at PwC
If you want to make more money at PwC, you have to be a fortune teller. Just kidding PwC doesn’t have any fortune teller positions open, but you do have to see the future in order to make more money. You have to know which specialties are booming in order to hit the jackpot.
For example, the FATCA practice within tax was booming a while ago while FATCA was being implemented. Many companies did not have the resources to deal with FATCA and hired PwC to do a lot of work. This made certain people partners that were on the edge. Unfortunately the FATCA gravy train has passed because most companies have learned how to deal with it internally.
You have to be able to see trends like this before they happen or use them as they happen and then transition out as they dwindle down.
How PwC Measures their employees
Before you decide to work for PwC you need to understand how they measure their employees.
PwC has a unique approach to measuring their employees. If you want to achieve success at pwc, You need to gain an understanding of this before you join.
They measure employees based on their whole leadership business acumen, technical capabilities, global acumen and relationships.
1. Whole leadership – Whole leadership is just another phrase for being a leader. You have to be willing to lead yourself and others. You can’t just hope to be introverted and expect an exceeds expectations rating at PwC.
2. Business Acumen – Business acumen is how well an employee knows what’s going on in their clients industry. How the employee keeps up with industry trends.
3. Global Acumen – This is business acumen complied in a global perspective. Can you think outside of your region or your country?
4. Technical Capabilities – This skill relates to your technical capabilities in your sector and line of service. Are you a technical assurance associate or technical tax manager?
5. Relationships – This has to do with your relationships in the firm and external to the firm. Can you communicate well? Do you connect with your clients.
Other benefits of working at PwC
Pwc was ranked #1 in Vault’s accounting ranking and Vault’s Prestige ranking for a fourth year in a row.
PwC recently moved to a more casual dress code when you are in the office. Not all the big 4 firms offer this dress code. If you are a more relaxed person, this could be the ideal situation for you.
Flexibility Talent Network
Another interesting career option that PwC offers is their Flexibility Talent Network. This offers job candidates the ability to work during seasonal times. This means you don’t have to work for PwC for the whole year. You can work for them during certain times of the year.
It would obviously be easier to get a job when the lines of service are the busiest. For example, the maximum number of openings for their Assurance practice would likely be during the January to March timeframe.
The PwC paid parental leave program offers six weeks of paid leave in addition to short term disability. Parents that have more than one child are allowed to take an additional 2 weeks.
The PwC paid leave program also offers up to $6,000 in reimbursements for eligible adoption expenses.