Bored auditor wants to know how to get into Big 4

I am currently an auditor for a mid-tier firm in the federal sector, auditing large federal agencies. The work is interesting, when there is work. After busy season which is only about one month for my engagement, there is literally nothing to do and I am bored out of my mind. I have tried reaching out to my managers if other engagements need help, but many engagements require a high security clearance and client approval, which could take months to process.  

Honestly, I wanted to work commercial from the beginning, but due to circumstances, I had to take the opportunity given at the time. Now that I have completed 1 year as an associate and have my CPA, I would like to try and switch to commercial, specifically SEC clients, with one of the Big 4. Although my firm has a commercial practice, I’ve decided it would be more beneficial for my career to start with a larger firm. However, I do have some questions on how to go about this, so any input would be a huge help.

 

1. Also, even though I have the basic skills and experience of an associate at my level (ability to document, communicate with the client, understanding of GAAP), I am worried employers will only look at my federal experience making the switch to commercial difficult. For those of you who have been part of the Big 4 hiring process, would I still have a good chance to switch over to the commercial sector? 

2. I do not want to wait too long before I make the switch because I am worried of being stuck into Governmental audits. Should I try and get out as soon as possible? I am planning to apply after commercial busy season so maybe sometime in the summer.

3. For some reason I am getting paid extremely well as an associate right out of college, 60k+, will the big 4 match that amount? 

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