Corporate Culture and Why Does It Matter?

There are 168 hours in a full 7 day week. Approximately 56 of those hours are spent sleeping/resting, 10+ hours are spent grooming and commuting which leaves 102 hours to be divided amongst work, family and friends.

How much of those 102 hours do you think is split between work and play? 50/50? The typical work week consists of 36 to 40 hours on the job. As a young business professional the reality is closer to 50 to 72 hours when you’re starting out your career. We spend more time with the people we work with and within the business environment than we do with our friends and families, let alone having some personal time to ourselves.

Analysis of time in a 7 day week

Do you want to spend time working at a place with bad culture?

If we’re spending that much time in the office, wouldn’t it be important to work in a place you feel good about? Somewhere where you fit and belong, a comfortable environment to learn, grow and build relationships. The core to finding this is to best understand the corporate culture.

What is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture illustrates how the organization behaves as a group. It’s the unspoken understanding of the organization’s traditions, values, accepted norms and attitudes.

They are highly based on the Company’s unique Mission, Vision and Value Statements in which they all come together to build a Corporate Identity. Executives leverage these three components to develop direction and business strategies while most management decisions are influenced by them.

I’ve included a TED talk on company culture below to help you better understand the importance of company culture.

The values are very well communicated to everyone throughout the business organization, setting clear expectations of roles and responsibilities.

During most Company’s orientation you will be introduced to the Core Values and you will see them over and over again in most dealings of the job.

Your annual goals and objectives will be structured around them, your annual performance review will be based on them and most importantly, every person within the organization will pick up the company’s practices based on them.

The Corporate Culture is the narrative of how people get things done.

The Big Four Differences

Each of the big four recruits and retains great talents from around the world. They all offer top-of-the line formal classroom trainings as well as on-the-job informal trainings. All four has impressive client lists and smart, knowledgeable professionals in which you will be able to work alongside and learn from.

If the Big Four is what you want, you cannot go wrong with any of them. They are all highly respected and a great start to your career. The work will be the same at whichever firm you select, however, the biggest difference is the culture in which you will work.

Our snapshot of each of the big 4 accounting firm’s Values and Cultures is detailed below. We highly suggest that you visit their websites and meet with their people for yourself to learn more and find your fit. Keep in mind that while every firm has their overarching values and culture, every location and even every specific work groups will have their own distinct culture.

This is why we cannot stress enough the importance of getting to know your local team and the group you are interested in working with directly.

PwC Values & Culture

PwC prides themselves on their people.

Throughout their website you see their Core Values of Teamwork, Excellence and Leadership presented in terms of what they do for their professionals.

They emphasize professional development, work/life flexibility and community. They believe in coaching their people with formal and informal mentors, real time feedback and a variety of career progression programs for every step of the way.

Not only do they offer the standard internships program for Juniors and Seniors, they also have several other discovery and exploration programs for freshmen through graduate students.

It doesn’t stop there. Once you begin your career with PwC, they offer an array of professional leadership programs ranging from milestone experiences to national and international rotation programs.

Outside Buzz

PwC has been recognized as the No. 1 Most Prestigious Accounting Firm and is known for being “the Best of the Best.”

Deloitte Values & Culture

Deloitte commits to adding value to the marketplace and their clients. They work towards having a competitive advantage in helping the capital markets operate more effectively by developing a strong reputation based on integrity.

Deloitte strives to strengthen their client relationships by promoting trust and leading solutions to business challenges and complex problems.

Deloitte believes in relentless leadership development by offering a state-of-the-art Deloitte University which has a bold commitment to their people and, ultimately, to our clients who will be better served by the transformative learning and leadership development that occurs there.

Outside Buzz

Deloitte is ranked the No. 1 accounting firm in the U.S. by annual revenue. They are known for their variety of client experiences with an emphasis towards consulting style work engagements.

Ernst and Young

Ernst & Young is all about getting everyone involved in a high-preforming team culture. They enthusiastically encourage every member of the team to contribute towards their global work force approach by reminding everyone that everyone’s opinion is valued.

E&Y’s leading people culture is seen in their commitment of inclusiveness, coaching development style and their engagement in each individual’s professional and personal aspirations. In return for your confirmations and ideas they are committed to giving their people the experiences needed to progress and develop in their careers.

Outside Buzz

E&Y has been ranked No. 3 for both Hiring Process & Client Interaction. When people think of E&Y they reflect on the relationships and the inclusive team building environment.


KPMG upholds the highest level of professional standards and good business practices. Their deep foundations of trust, quality and collaboration helps drive progress and confidence in the capital markets and economy.

Their policy of open and honest communication builds trust and respect to each independent individual as well as within their working team and client relationships. KPMG continues to strengthens their reputation by leading with integrity and positive contributions to society as a whole.

A career at KPMG is an opportunity to build a global network of resources and experiences ranging from their Graduate Case Competitions to their competitive Global Internship Program.

Outside Buzz

KPMG has been ranked No. 2 in formal training and work place diversity. KPMG is a great firm with a large international presence

Bring it all together

As you get to know each of the Big Four, their people, their culture and their opportunities keep in mind each firm’s culture and try to see how its woven into their daily work environment.

If their values are in their people and/or team work, how is this reflected in available employee programs and/or work assignments? Is the hierarchy well defined or do the leaders see their roles as empowering and coaching their teams?

If their values are professionalism and client services, how is this shown in the professionals you have met and interacted with? How do they communicate with each other? What is the energy level, respect and openness with each other?

Most importantly, how does each firm’s value system align with your personal values and leadership style?