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How Can I Get a Job With One of the Big Four Accounting Firms?

big fourYou have earned a degree in accounting and you are contemplating the best possible route to acquiring a position with one of the Big 4 accounting firms. There has been a great deal of mystique built around landing a job at one of the top 4 accounting firms in the world. One would believe that supernatural intervention is necessary to earn a position with accounting’s elite. There is a myth that the Big 4 will only hire the best and brightest accountants. This is a somewhat inaccurate, or at least exaggerated, assessment.

The truth is that there are some accountants working for the Big 4 that couldn’t successfully complete a 1040 Tax form. Although the previous statement is more sarcasm than fact, you get the point. Well, if these people did not get their jobs because of their elite skills, how did they get them? This article will take a look at some effective ways to increase your chances of working for one of the Big 4.


The saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” may sound like a cliché, but it has a great deal of truth embedded within it. According to a report by Narrowing the Gaap, networking is one of the most effective ways to get your foot in the door at some of the most prestigious firms in the world. Even fortune 500 companies are influenced by natural social paradigms. It has been proven that employers are more inclined to hire individuals that were referred by someone they know. The accounting world is not as vast and disconnected as you may believe.

This does not mean that you don’t have to have any marketable skills, it simply means that your skill set may not be your most powerful asset, especially considering the coveted few spots that you are competing for.

Dynamic Resume

Your resume or CV is a powerful tool when you take the time to develop it. One mistake that many job applicants make is to use a general resume. A general resume does not consider the specific nuances associated with a particular company. It does not consider company philosophy or specific areas of focus. You should take the time to sculpt your resume to highlight your strengths that correlate well with a specific company’s hiring and operational philosophies.

Make your resume flow smoothly with a linear affect. Your resume should be formal, while having enough personal elements to make the person reading it feel as if they are having a personal encounter with you.

Research the Company

Of course you can’t tailor your resume to match the culture of the company you’re applying to without knowing about that company. Take the time to perform your due diligence by researching the company. Learn as much as you can about their hiring practices, operational philosophies, and their top clients. This not only helps you build a powerful resume, but it will also prepare you for the interview process.

According to a report by CPA Zone, acquiring a job with one of the Big 4 sets the stage for the remainder of your accounting career. Even if you do not remain with the firm for the long term, you will have definitely loaded your resume. Having worked for the Big 4 opens all types of doors in the corporate world.

The suggestions presented in this article are foundational; meaning that you can use them to build your marketability. Getting a job with the Big 4 is no small endeavor, but taking the right approach will definitely increase your chances.