Doesn't RecommendNeutral OutlookDisapproves of CEO
- Work/Life Balance
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
- Comp & Benefits
- Senior Management
I worked at PwC full-time (More than 5 years)
The only good thing of working at PwC is being able to put it on your resume. In the 7 years I was there, I heard the them talk about "work/life balance" and flexibility over and over. They seem to be on a repeat loop that runs every few years. Most people don't notice it because they leave before it starts to repeat. The flexibility they talk about is really you being flexible in working any time, any where to get the job done regardless of your other commitments. That is marketable to other employers and one of the key reasons you will be so desirable as a PwC alumni. You'll think the incremental increase in personal time to be fantastic, but it will remain far below what others have that did not go through the Big 4 grinder. The Big 4 are basically puppy mills. They take "newborn" accountants and give them with their "shots" (CPA license and some experience) before pushing most of them out the door to homes. Some never leave and become part of the machine. PwC happens to be one of the gold standards of puppy mills. You can get some great experience, but need to be in the right location at the right time. Either that, you'll need some great connections. Most of the work is pretty mundane and soul sucking. If you can hold out, stay until you finish your first year as a senior associate (approx 4 years), then leave. You'll have some supervisory experience and have seen some more complex areas of your clients. You'll get a nice bump in salary for leaving. Staying longer can start to hurt you unless you are thick-skinned enough to be a manager (at least 6 years). Potential employers will question your decision to leave when you are close to being promoted to manager. You will fall into a grey area of being overqualified for most senior accountant positions, but not qualified enough to land accounting manager positions. Timing is everything in getting out of PwC.
Is there anything left? The pay and benefits can appear great, but when you consider the amount that you will work and you will realize that, per hour, you get less than minimum wage. That's the beauty of being a salaried staff - no overtime. The rating system. It's basically useless and completely subjective on how the managers/partners feel about you. You can be rated 1 (Outstanding) or 2 (High Performer) every year and find yourself suddenly rated a 4 (Needs Improvement). The problem with being rated "Needs Improvement" is they never give you a chance to improve. You will be shown the door. Quickly and possibly before you even know how you were rated. I've seen it happen to a number of people. That's why the staff will be scared to be rated a 3 (Performer) because it's viewed as circling the drain. The ratings can be reflective of a big project that you were fortunate enough to be on one year. Because of that, you would be more likely to be rated a 1. Then the next year you don't get a similar job and watch your rating fall. It has absolutely nothing to do with your abilities as an accountant. Because of the fear of PCAOB findings, much of what you will do is based on standardized templates designed to take the thinking out of audit. Based on your responses, the template will tell you what to do next. You will become just a data gathering tool and a data input tool. All those years you spent getting the Bachelors or Masters degree will seem wasted. PwC will use you to their fullest extent. They will take advantage of any opening and any sign of weakness. You have to start at PwC with a plan on what you are using them for. If you don't you will be the one who get's burned in the end.
Advice to Management
Stop lying to staff about conditions. Annually you state that it was a tough busy season and the teams were short staffed so everyone was over-utilized. Then you say you have a plan to make it better for next year. The thing is you don't. It's just a smokescreen. Staffing decisions for the upcoming year were made last year so the only thing you might adjust is the number of interns, but that remains unlikely since they earn overtime and can have a negative effect on an engagement's bottom line. I used the old MyClient database systems and the new Aura databases that were supposed to make things easier to document / review. It was supposed to make the audit process more efficient. In the end it made it worse. The time required increased significantly, but the hours budgeted remained fairly constant because managers and partners were scared to show the effect on their realization in order to justify them accommodating the downward pressure on fees from clients.