September 24, 2021

What Is It With Big 4 Hot Shots and Their Politics?

Alright, we need to sage this joint out a little bit. I'm posting the following reader question not to start another monkey dung-throwing match in the comment section but to spark a real discussion about this matter. I have some theories but let's get to the question first:

I've been working for one of the big four for about five years now in a few different geographies. Throughout that time I've naturally spoken to quite a number of audit partners. I find that almost reflexively they are right-leaning. Is that a thing? Is it just that they're typically older white men or is it a Big 4 or a leadership thing?  Just wanted to hear some other people's rank speculation on the topic.

As I understand it, here's generally how it works: when you are young and not yet jaded, you believe in some utopian world where we look out for one another and don't mind paying more than our fair share because it's the right thing to do for our fellow man (and woman… and corporation). Then you start making some real money and have a mortgage to pay and don't feel so hot about your wealth being spread around. Winston Churchill never actually said “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain" but that's the premise here.

It's also worth acknowledging that by its very nature, public accounting is an attractive profession for conservative types. I'm not talking did you see Hannity's hair last night conservative types, I mean the other kind. They are not interchangeable but for the purposes of this conversation, let's just say the Occupy types aren't the ones lining up for Big 4 internships and crawling their way to partner.

Here's a question: what makes you feel like these partners are right-leaning? Did they actually display signed photos of Ronald Reagan in their offices or are they typical old white business guys who want to make as much money as possible? The latter does not make them right-leaning, and I'd be willing to bet some of them even voted for Obama (look at the 2008 and 2012 political contributions from firms and tell me that it really matters to them who wins as long as "their guy" wins).

But while we're on the topic, what say ye, GC faithful? Is this a thing?


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