Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 2 – Differences in Work Content, Coworker Relationships & Evaluation of Work Performance

Last week we have already discussed about ¨Work in Big Four or Multinational Banks? Part 1 – Differences in How Busy, Staff Composition and Pay¨. Today we will give you more comparasion of working in both kinds of firms.


  • Work Content
  • Overview

Work in Audit Department (Big Four) is mainly about verification, included whether the number is correct, confirming with the third arty of whether the accounting information is true or not, etc.  You could learn a very systematic method to deal with the problem.

Work in Tax Department (Big Four) is mainly to declare the tax of clients, offer bookkeeping service, build up branches of clients, and offer consulting services related to tax and finance. The associate in any Big Four probably have the chance to do some preparation, but it comes to seniors, they have more complex cases and offer customized tax planning based on different situation of clients, which includes many profession skills of tax administration, e.g. transfer-pricing, merging, and liquidating, etc.

Work in multinational banks is to assess the information of clients and decide whether and how many loan to offer. Also, the work is also included some operating services according to clients´ requirement, like drawings, rollovers, prepayment, etc.

  • Division Inside Departments

In Big Four you have to be a multi-task talent because the division is not specific. The division in audit depends on the client. Sometimes 1-2 people could handle one small client while to handle the big client it is required some people only handle receivable, for example.

Generally you need to know everything in tax department. However, the situation is different in each agency. PwC has different divisions for corporate tax and personal tax, so sometimes there are 3 associates or seniors for one client. KPMG has a special division for accounting related business. There is no division in Deloitte no matter in audit or tax department and normally there is only one person from each work level for one client, which the editor thinks it better for personal development in career.

In multinational banks the division is quite specific and every team has its own responsibility. There are four main divisions

  1. Loan department:  consists of customer managers, who screen the customer and decide how much loan to offer based on their analysis of the financial performance of company clients.
  2. Operation department:  Drawings, Refunds, Collections, etc.
  3. Treasury department: allocate capital funds of the bank, interbank lending, etc.
  4. Foreign exchange department: Exchange foreign currencies for clients
  • Requirement of Accuracy

Tax department requires accuracy in every detail of work because they have to be responsible for clients and the tax bureau, who are both very sensitive in every penny. Therefore work in tax department is a common to double-check or triple check even though the work has been done accurately.

The requirement of accuracy in audit department depends on the client.

Multinational banks normally control the accuracy in big numbers especially in credit analysis and the interest. However, customer has a stronger attachment to banks than to agencies; therefore, work in banks has more flexible space, although accuracy is a basic requirement.

  • Coworker Relationships

Due to every year there is recruitment and promotion every year in Big Four, associates from the same year have a better relationship, in which people are like classmates. In the senior level, co-workers become more competitive with each other because of a more complex composition (senior from associates, hoppers, oversea returnees, etc.)

In multinational banks peer relationship is not as strong as the one in agency because the recruitment of banks is random. However, there is less pressure for promotion in the higher level position so that the competitiveness is less fierce.

  • Evaluation of Work Performance

Evaluation of work performance is directly related to the salary and promotion so that it is very important.

In audit department the evaluation is made by the senior or manager right after every project for different clients and at the year-end there is a comprehensive evaluation based on your performance in all the projects.

In tax department, direct supervisors (e.g. senior to asociate) will have a meeting together and give the evaluation.

In Big Four the evaluation could be more objective because it depends not only one person. However, in multinational banks, due to a specific work division, only one direct supervising manager would give the evaluation.

(To be Continued…)


Edited by Simeng Zhang


The Team

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