What do the Big Four Accounting Firms offer their staff?

This is a question that all good employers should ask themselves at some stage of their existence, although the most effective employers will tend to ask themselves this question once a year – given the fiercely competitive job market.

If your business is going to attract the cream of this year’s top graduates or to attract the most talented accountants from the competition, you need to provided a similar package to that offered by the best firms out there – the so called Employer’s of Choice.

But, what exactly do these employer of choice accounting firms offer their employees in relation to pay, benefits and perks?
Well, I have reviewed the offerings of the big four accounting firms, (arguably the most popular employers in the sector) and summarised these below.

Performance Based and Competitive Pay

This is more than just words. Typically, the big four will offer performance based pay and this will be bench-marked against the market on an annual basis to ensure they are not falling behind.


Incentive Scheme

All the Big Four offer some kind of incentive scheme. Typically this will mean that employees may receive an individual bonus based on their performance and a team bonus based on the company’s and team’s overall performance.


Superannuation Contribution

Pretty much all of the Big four will make a contribution to a Superannuation scheme for the employee – they can pay this to the company fund or the employee’s own fund.


Vacation Days

This is one of the most popular perks which most employees hold dearly, and the average offering here tends to be around 20 days annual leave with the option to purchase an additional 10-12 days. Ernst and Young allow employees to purchase an additional 30 days leave per year.


Paid Study Leave

As most of you will know this is a crucial part of the benefits offering for trainee accountants and all of the Big Four will provide paid study leave and financial support for examinations. Some of them provide financial assistance to buy books.


Flexible Working

All the Big Four have advanced flexible working options including giving the employees the option to apply for part-time work or alternative hours, job share and telecommuting. They also offer employees the opportunity to apply for career breaks to enable further study or to achieve personal goals.


Health and Well-being Initiatives

All of the ‘Big Four’ have evolved far past the traditional ‘absence management’ doctrine and are proactively engaged in Health and Well-being programs. The most commonly offered benefits under this program seem to be discounted/free health insurance, subsidized Gym, employee assistance program, and a social club.


International Work Opportunities

This is admittedly not a perk that all businesses can offer and largely confined to large multinationals like the Big Four. Nethertheless the Big Four know that the prospect of international assignments is a very attractive perk for many employees and this is why they all seem to continually promote this unique feature of international businesses.

We are not suggesting that smaller firms can compete with the Big Four in terms of employee offering, but this knowledge of what the competition is offering can at least help smaller business to build a counter offering which draws on the unique virtues of small business.