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Ex-Big 4 Auditor Needs Advice on Next Career Move


Big 4 trained (4 years – got to assistant manager)

Left for a financial accountant role on the same money (18 months – excellent work/life balance but got desperately bored. I took the first role I was offered, and it was a poor unresearched choice)

Joined mid-tier firm as Audit Manager (6 months – hated it and got the hell out. Worse than B4 audit).

Right now I'm working a 6 month contract in London as Finance manager in a listed company, on a very attractive day rate. I don't necessarily want the uncertain life of a contractor, but I figured the 6 months would give me time and money to figure out what to do next.

Problem: I still have Big 4 contacts, who are pushing hard to recruit me back as an audit manager (as far as giving me a formal job offer). I'm finding it hard to remove the rose-tinted spectacles. Maybe audit wasn't that bad, and I should take the permanent job?

As the years have gone by I've always regretted not doing something a bit more… 'techy'. I did accounting and information systems at uni, and right now I feel like I'd love nothing more than to work as a software programmer in a chilled, casual environment – however, as I have no real skills it seems a bit of a whim and completely unrealistic.

I see the following choices from here (in no particular order:)

1. Go back into B4 audit, and take what comes but at least it's a permanent job with prestige.

2. Carry on the contacting gig, while taking the time to apply for private accounting jobs in the right atmosphere/culture with an appropriate amount of challenge – maybe companies like Apple, Google etc. (in London).

3. Try to go for a role as a bit of a bridge into more technical stuff – maybe a systems accountant role, and build up VBA/SQL skills on the side.

4. Total career change – save the contracting money, then study a full Masters conversion course in computer science, and take a grad programmer role at less than half my current salary (But, maybe I'd actually be happy?)

Thoughts, please? Honest and brutal welcomed.

(Also – I know it seems ridiculous to even consider going back to B4 audit. I think what I find difficult to get past, is the act of actually turning them down, given that not too many years ago I was desperate to get a graduate position with them and would have done almost anything.

Thank you