Who are Big 4s and how to apply?

Big 4s are basically the world’s biggest accounting and consultancy firms. They have great reputation all over the world and are available in many countries, including India. In India, although laws do not permit any foreign firm to set up as the audit firm or can do audit in Indian companies and other firms. Big 4s have rooted in India by linking with many Indian CA firms. So there can be many CA firms which are actually Big 4s, but have other names. For example, one of the Firm related to E&Y is SR Batliboi & Co etc, similarly one of the CA Firm attached to KPMG is BSR & Co, for Deloitte one is AF Furguson & Co. In PwC, the firms attached go by the name of PriceWaterHouse and Lovelock & Lewis.

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Almost every CA student have aspirations for entering in Big 4s, but entering in these firms can be very difficult. You need to develop good communication skills. They need someone with great personality and capability to tackle pressure. Also they prefer students having rank in their Intermediate or atleast have cleared both groups of Intermediate in one or two attempts. So if you want to enter in these big organisations, then start working hard!

Basic Profile of these firms:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited:

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, popularly known as just “Deloitte”, emerges as one of the most successful brands in the world. William Deloitte founded this firm in 1845. It went through a series of mergers and reorganizations but kept its brand name along with its quality standards and company values. Now, it emerges as the biggest professional service organization in the world.

It have presence in more than 150 countries demonstrating excellence in consulting, financial advisory, providing audit, risk management and tax services to clients worldwide.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC):

PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) is ranked as the number two accounting firm in the world. The company founded by Samuel Lowell Price began in London, 1849.It employs 223,468 professionals in 159 countries around the world.The company was formed by the merger of two large accounting firms — Price Waterhouse, and Coopers & Lybrand. The two decided to merge in 1998 and dedicated themselves to provide services of value while establishing and maintaining good customer relations.PwC provides excellent Audit & Assurance consulting, IFRS reporting, tax services, and others.

Ernst & Young (E&Y):

Ernst & Young is rated number three out of the top 100 accounting firms in the world. Ernst & Whinney merged with Arthur Young to create Ernst & Young in 1989. Ernst & Young is a global organization of member firms in more than 150 countries. It employs people equipped with professional skills and values of integrity, respect, teamwork, enthusiasm, and motivation.

Ernst & Young offers advisory, advisement, assurance, tax, transactions, and many other specialty services.

Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG):

KPMG is last of the big four accounting firms with more than 670 offices located all over the world. KPMG is a global network of accounting firms providing audit, advisory, tax, special interest and industry-specific services. It employs approximately 188,982 professionals working together to provide quality service in 155 countries around the world.

How to apply in these firms?

CA Articleship training is for 3 years in which you have to compulsory undergo your first 2 years training under Chartered Accountant(CA) in practice. In last year, you have option to either continue your training under CA in practice or you can go for industrial training, where you have to work under CA in employment. You can do your Industrial Training in Big 4s as well as they have status of Private Limited Consulting Company. So this is one of the way of entering in Big 4s. Other ways for applying in these firms are listed below:

  • ICAI BoS Articleship Portal:

    Students for articleship may visit to ICAI Portal to get the information about the firms who placed their requirements to have articles. The scheme has been evolved to provide an opportunity to the firms of Chartered Accountants having vacancies for Articled Assistants to interact with the candidates who have either Passed Group-I or both Groups of the IPCC examination , or have been admitted under the Direct Entry Scheme and are eligible for undergoing articled training for selection as articled assistants in the CA Firms.

  • Direct Apply to Big 4:

    Instead of going in indirect routes, there is the direct way, i.e., to approach directly to Big 4s. It is advisable to to get the contact number of such firms and speak out with Articleship recruitment department, take their time and deposit your application form and resume directly to them. You can also apply for the articleship by mailing them your application form and resume through email. But, their are least chances that Big 4’s reply to you for your email.

  • ICAI Notice Board:

    Many times Big 4’s puts their advertisement of requirement for articleship on the local ICAI office notice board. So, one can apply through this mode mentioned in such advertisement. You should watch this as well!

  • Reference:

    Having contacts with employees in Big 4s can also work in giving you chance in these firms. Atleast it can help you by providing preference to your resume and speeding up the process.

How Big 4s select applicants?

The usual way of inducting an Article is interview. In big firms there may be two levels of interview – HR interview & Partner level interview.

Working in these kind of big firms is the great honor for everyone. I personally think that everyone should think about it and work on their skills and personality to get in these firms.


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