Getting a job at one of the Big Four accounting firms in Asia

Getting a job at one of the Big 4 accounting firms

Have you ever wondered what it’s like working at one of the Big Four accounting firms in Asia?

Rachel Ma CPA has been at Deloitte Shanghai for 10 years, and says while studying at the University of Science and Technology of China, she knew this accounting firm was where she wanted to be.

“It was in 2006, the year of my graduation, when the recruitment team of Deloitte came to my university,” says Rachel Ma CPA.

“I was really impressed by the qualities, skills and professionalism that their speakers possessed which motivated me to be a part of this company and be just like them. I also wanted to see how far I could go and discover my own potential in this field.”

Rachel starting her career in audit and says it was a good introduction to corporate life

“My first role in audit was sampling - most auditors in the firm need to do sampling in their early roles. Sampling is not always tedious, sometimes it can be fun.”

She then turned her attention to tax. Rachel started as a Tax Associate to Senior and then progressed to the position of Tax Senior Consultant. The 33-year-old is now Senior Tax Manager and she gets to work on a variety of different projects.

“I work in the National Tax Technical Centre of Deloitte China.  My role includes providing technical support to the Deloitte China tax team in client services, assisting in issuance of Deloitte China tax newsletters, assisting in communication with Chinese tax authorities and providing suggestions to the tax authorities on tax policies.”

So what is it like to work at a Big Four accounting firm in Asia? Rachel says it has its advantages and challenges.

“One of the best things about working here is that I’m given the opportunity to grow and become better in my field by experiencing new and exciting things every day. The biggest challenge, especially for women in the Big Four, which is no secret, is that I need to manage the pressures of work and home life.”

“The firm adopted some proven work-life harmony programs, for example, a flextime schedule, which can help me to balance my work and life responsibilities.”

How can the CPA Program help you get a job at the Big Four?

When reflecting on her career to date, Rachel says studying the CPA Program has helped her to climb up the corporate ranks. 

“The well-established CPA program has excellent education training programs and networking platforms to help members connect and share information. These two things have been important throughout my career path.”

So what does the future hold for Rachel? She plans to continue pursuing her career as a tax professional.

"Being a tax professional in a country which is experiencing high speed growth and changes, you will constantly find yourself dealing with new policies, new requirements, new challenges, but also new opportunities."

"Together with the fact that the global actions against tax base erosion and profit shifting are high on political agenda, I believe that in my career as a tax professional in China, I will see great prospects."

Tips to get a finance job at one of the Big Four in Asia

  1. Put important things first.  You cannot do everything that comes along, so set priorities and complete those tasks first
  2. Be focused. You will find yourself faced with a lot of choices and opportunities when you pursue your career. I would suggest focusing on one area that you can devote yourself to
  3. Renew yourself. Constant renewal of yourself, not only the physical well-being but also the mental and spiritual health, will help you to be well prepared for the career challenges ahead


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