By Pauline van de Voorde
To get a better insight in big accounting and consulting firms, I went on a business tour with Asset SBIT. This was a two-day event that started in Tilburg. Together with 11 other students we would go visit three companies. On Thursday November 17 we started close to home and went to BDO, after that our bus took us to PWC in Amsterdam. Friday morning we were expected at Grant Thornton. The companies all focused on IT auditing. In this blog I’m going to tell my experience of the different firms.
The first company we went to was BDO in Tilburg. Many of my fellow students were familiar with this company because of the old SBIT members that started working there. For me it was the first time going to such a company so I was quite curious what they had to offer.
BDO gave us a nice presentation about their company. First some insights about the company itself, and why it is different than the “Big Four”. Later some employees of BDO shared their experiences of their work with BDO. After that we had to make and present a case. The culture of BDO seemed very pleasant and friendly to me. The biggest advantage of working with BDO instead of the “big four” would be the diverse kind of assignments and companies. The assignments are smaller but of the same importance as for example KPMG or EY. An IT auditor works closely with the customers, which makes this job interesting.
The second company of the first day was PWC. PWC is one of the famous “Big Four”. I was very hesitant about those big firms before going on this business tour. My idea of these companies was a bit negative, mostly because I disliked the hierarchic culture. That image changed completely over the day. The presentation was very attractive and lively told by the employees and recruiters. They focused on the advantages of working with a “Big Four”, like great learning opportunities and time for formal and informal activities with your colleagues. After the presentation we went to their own escape room within PWC. This was a fun part of the company visit. When the case was done there was a nice dinner planned by PWC. We had time to talk with the employees and recruiters in a more informal way. PWC changed my opinion completely in a positive way about big consultancy firms. I’m even considering applying for an internship there!
On Friday we went to Grant Thornton, the last company visit. We were all a bit tired from the night out in Amsterdam before, but nevertheless we were excited about this firm as well. Grant Thornton is originally an English firm, which operates in countries all over the world. Same as BDO and PWC, Grant Thornton operates in the accounting and advisory business. Their presentation was also specific on IT auditing. The case we had to make and present was very interactive with interview. The case itself was very educational. We had to give advice on how to change the IT Strategy and implement the risks of the current strategy. One drawback for me was that we didn’t get to know the company or people that well. Nevertheless, overall it was a very nice day.
All firms changed my opinion on working with a big firm in a positive way. The negative factors like working 30 hours overtime or “being a number” instead of a valued employee within a firm didn’t seem to apply anymore. The culture within the “Big Four” but also the smaller companies like BDO and Grant Thornton has changed over time. When I spoke with employees of all firms I noticed that they were all very proud to talk about their workplaces and really happy to work there. Choosing a company to work for in the future becomes even harder with those three nice ones added to my list.