What will the new normal be for the big 4 accounting firms.
The big 4 accounting firms are facing tough times right now. You have to be able to survive during these times.
I’ve put together some tips on how to survive during the “new normal.”
Remote tools & working remotely
You must learn to use technologies like webex, Microsoft teams, and google hangouts. You should also learn zoom. Many people are obsessed with zoom, and it is popular in society. However, zoom is not secure for professional settings yet. Don’t be an expert in zoom and expect it transfer to the big 4 world. The big 4 have not adopted zoom yet. This is because all the work the big 4 do must remain confidential. Zoom has not shown the ability to do this yet. I’m sure that zoom will eventually be able to meet this standard someday, so it would be worth learning this technology. I remember when the iphone first came out. It wasn’t as secure as the blackberry and many people though that it would never be secure. Boy were they wrong. That is why I think it is worth learning zoom. Zoom has enough steam behind it for it to one day be used by the big 4. The big 4 also love jumping on bandwagons, so I think Zoom will one day be popular.
When using the software mentioned above, you need to be familiar with the following tasks:
- Sending out invites
- Make sure your invites have links and dial ins (in case people choose to dial in)
- Learn how to use webcams and make sure they are turned on
- Learn how to mute yourself
- Learn how to turn your webcam on/off
- Learn how to share your screen with other viewers
- Learn how to turn control over to another presenter
- Learn how to mute all other people in your call/meeting
Improve your software skills
Learn new software tools that are geared toward automation. I’ve suggested in previous posts about technologies that you should learn. The main technologies that you should try to learn are alteryx, tableau and uipath. There are other tools and technologies that you will have to learn to be proficient at those tools. Learn about those technologies as well.
Many people think it is ok to lay low during this pandemic. We are all working from home, so we should just lay low to avoid coming up during layoff talks right? Wrong! You need to stay connected with your supervisors and performance coaches. Schedule status meetings. Your superiors are most likely going to be disconnected as well. You will impress them if you schedule status calls. People also get bored during this time period and look forward to connecting with other people. You should take the first step and put some time on people’s calendars. This will also help you build a strong network.
Pay attention to your workload
Are you getting enough work? This is a key question that you should be asking yourself. If you aren’t getting enough work, then you might be laid off soon. You don’t need to be worried if you’ve only been without work for short period of time. However, if you’re group has not had work in a few months you should be worried. You should check whether you have the ability to get your utilization above 75 to 80%. If you don’t have enough hours left in the year to get you above 75% then you should be concerned. You should start looking for other jobs.
Looking for other jobs
If you do have to look for other jobs, you should focus on industry jobs. The world is in a crazy place right now but equity markets are doing well. This means there are lots of public companies out there with excess capital. They can invest money into growing their companies. Many of them will have to build out finance departments to meet the growing needs of their companies. They will be hiring additional accountants because of this. What this means for you is that there are tons of opportunities in industry. Why do I like industry so much right now? I like it because they don’t have a utilization focus. You just have to do your work. You might night get a bunch of promotions, but you will have a good stable job for a longer period of time.
Another key skill in the new normal is not panicking. It is easy to get anxious and overthink the bad things that could happen to you. Learn how to stay calm. You don’t need to be busy every second of everyday. You have to learn how to last over the long haul. You are going to have a long career. You don’t need to be perfect the whole way through. You are going to have ups and downs. Don’t psyche yourself out. The people that are the most successful in the big 4 are the people that stick around. So many people leave the big 4 firms that all you need to be successful is stick around. You need to do all the other things I mentioned above, but if you don’t panic then you have a really strong chance of being successful. Most people look short term. They want to be promoted 4 times in 5 to 10 years. Why does 10 years matter so much over a 30 year or 40 year career. It shouldn’t. You should be mapping out your career over the long term. Build relationships today that will last you the rest of your career. Focus on that. Focus on helping others. Don’t worry only about yourself.