How to Get Into The Big 4 For Articleship? Where Should You Do Your CA Articleship? Big 4 or Mid-Size Firm? by sjc institute

How to Get Into The Big 4 For Articleship?

  • CA

  • CA Satish Jalan

Articleship is an essential component of the CA Course and provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop professional skills, work with prominent clients, and gain valuable experience.

During each attempt, there are numerous CA articleship vacancies available in the Big 4 firms, making it an appealing option for aspiring CAs. In this blog, we will look at how to get an articleship in the Big 4, how to understand their requirements, when to apply, what to expect during the application process, how to prepare for the selection process and interview tips, and how to understand the stipend provided.

Securing an articleship with one of the Big Four firms requires careful planning and preparation. So, let's dive into the details and find out how you can pave your way to the Big 4 CA firms and make your CA articleship experience truly exceptional.





1. How to Get Articleship Opportunities in the Big 4? 


There are several methods you can utilize to find articleship vacancies and apply for a position in the Big 4 CA firms:


Company Websites:

Visit the official websites of the Big 4 CA firms. They often post vacancies on their career pages. Look for specific instructions on how to apply and follow the given guidelines.

ICAI BOS Articleship Portal:

The Big 4 firms, along with other CA firms, often list their articleship vacancies on the ICAI BOS Articleship Portal. Visit the portal to explore and apply for available opportunities.

ICAI Notice Board:

Check the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) notice board on a regular basis for updates on articleship vacancies in the Big 4 firms.

Online Job Portals:

Apply to online job portals to look for articleship opportunities at the Big 4 accounting firms. These platforms may include CA-related job filters or categories.

References and Connections:

If you have connections or acquaintances who work at one of the Big Four accounting firms, contact them for advice. They can provide information on open positions and recommend you for them.

Read More: All About CA Industrial Training



2. What are the Eligibility Criteria for  CA Articleship in Big 4 Firms? 


To be eligible for an articleship at one of the Big Four accounting firms, you must meet the following requirements:


Completion of at least one group:

Students who have passed at least one group of the CA Intermediate examination or both groups are typically considered by the Big Four firms. While they prefer candidates who have performed well in their exams, students with average grades or who have taken multiple attempts to pass the exams are also considered.


Good communication skills:

Candidates with strong communication skills, particularly in English, are valued by the Big Four firms. During tests and interviews, your ability to speak and understand English fluently and spontaneously is evaluated.


Confidence and industry knowledge:

Demonstrating confidence and staying current on industry changes can improve your chances of landing an articleship with one of the Big Four firms.


Completion of ICITSS:

It is mandatory to have successfully finished the Integrated Course on Information Technology and Soft Skills (ICITSS), a four-week program offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).


Graduation degree (optional):

A graduation degree in any regular course can add value to your resume and increase your prospects.


Department preference:

Consider which department you want to join, such as Taxation or Audit, and see if there are any specific requirements or vacancies available at the time of your application.



3. When should you apply for a Big 4 CA Articleship?


To increase your chances of securing a pre-results placement with the Big 4 companies, it is advisable to apply before receiving your CA Intermediate exam results.

Many students typically wait for their results before applying, but this can put them at a disadvantage as the Big 4 firms tend to make their selections early. Therefore, it is beneficial to have confidence in your exam performance and apply early for pre-results placements


The selection process for Articleships at the Big 4 accounting firms typically consists of several stages. While the specifics may differ between firms, here is a summary of the common steps:


Online Registration:

Begin by registering for a CA articleship using the instructions provided online. Refer to the earlier mentioned methods for applying for Articleships at the Big Four firms.


Aptitude Test:

The first step after registering is an aptitude test. This test evaluates your general aptitude as well as your knowledge of relevant subjects.

After passing the aptitude test, candidates move on to the group discussion round. Performance in this round is evaluated based on your participation and communication skills. General and current events may be discussed.


HR Interview:

Candidates who perform well in the group discussion round are shortlisted for the HR interview. The HR interview focuses on personal details, educational background, qualifications, and understanding both your and the firm's expectations.


Technical Interview:

The next round is usually a technical interview conducted by a Chartered Accountant (CA). It is critical to respond confidently and accurately. If you are unsure about an answer, you may state that you cannot recall it right now or are unsure.


Partner's Round:

The final round consists of a discussion with a firm partner. The partner may ask a variety of questions, such as technical inquiries, general information about yourself, or scenario-based case studies. This round provides the partner with an opportunity.


Selection Confirmation:

If you are chosen, the HR department will contact you to confirm your selection. You will receive a rejection email or communication if you are not chosen.



4. How to Crack CA Articleship Interview?


It is important to note that the Big Four firms' selection processes differ slightly. It is recommended that you be well-prepared, demonstrate your skills and knowledge, and present yourself professionally at each stage of the selection process.


Making a Resume:

Make a well-organized resume by including personal information, educational credentials, work experience, extracurricular accomplishments, and technical and computer skills. By using a readable font, capitalizing headings, along with a readable font, you can keep the design simple and modern.


Bring extra copies of your resume:

Bring extra copies of your resume to interviews. This ensures that you have a copy for each interviewer and demonstrates your readiness.


Arrive on time:

Punctuality is important. To make a good first impression, arrive early for your interview. Being late can have a negative impact on your dependability and commitment.


Maintain a professional appearance:

Make sure your hair, face, clothing, and shoes are neat, clean, and formal. Being well-presented demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail.


Keep up with current situations:

Stay up to date on the latest news and developments in the accounting and finance industries. Read English newspapers to stay up to date on current events, which can come in handy during interviews.


Tips for group discussion (GD) rounds:

Avoid using counter-attacking others to prove your point during GDs. Instead, emphasise professionalism, teamwork, and clear communication. Mention it if you agree with someone. Utilise the conclusion time to summarise key points.


Stay up to date on recent amendments:

Stay up to date on recent amendments and changes in accounting and auditing standards. This shows your commitment to staying up-to-date in your field.


Before answering questions, consider the following:

Before responding to interview questions, take a moment to collect your thoughts. It is preferable to provide well-thought-out answers rather than rushing and providing incorrect or incomplete information.


Maintain positive body language:

Throughout the interview, maintain a confident posture, make eye contact, and exhibit positive body language.



5. How Much Stipend Will a CA Student Get from Articleship?


The stipend for CA articleship in Big 4 CA firms typically follows the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) guidelines but often offers higher compensation than other firms. The following is the expected stipend structure for articleships in Big 4 firms:


1st Year: Approximately Rs. 10,000 per month.

2nd Year: Approximately Rs. 15,000 per month.

3rd Year: Around Rs. 20,000 per month.


It should be noted that these figures are estimates and may vary depending on the specific firm, location, and other factors. The stipend amounts may also be revised on a regular basis, so it's best to contact the firm directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.



6. Will the CA Articleship Period be Reduced from 3yrs to 2yrs?


The ICAI recently proposed a new education and training scheme for CA students. One of the new scheme's key proposals is to shorten the CA articleship training period from three to two years. However, it is important to note that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has yet to approve these proposed changes.


While ICAI has proposed a reduction in the articleship period, the final decision and implementation of the new scheme will be subject to approval from the relevant authorities. If the new scheme is approved, the necessary amendments and updates to implement the reduced articleship period of two years will be initiated.


Read More: Highlights And Applicability: ICAI New Scheme For CA 2024



7. What Should Students Choose Big 4 or Mid-Size Firms For CA Articleship? 


When deciding between Big 4 and mid-size firms for CA articleships, students must consider a number of factors. Here are the key distinctions to help you make an informed decision:


1. Clientele:

Big 4: They typically serve large, well-established companies that have a significant economic impact. Working for one of the Big 4 firms exposes you to major domestic, multinational, and international clients.


Mid-size: Mid - Size firms may have smaller clients, but they may also work with larger clients, especially if the firm is well-known in the mid-tier category.


2. Specialization vs. Diversification of Skills: 

Big 4: Since Big 4 firms have specialized departments or business units, specialization is common. Articleship students in Big 4 firms frequently specialize in audit and tax.


Mid-size: Mid - Size firms provide a broader range of work, allowing for greater skill diversification. The scope of work can range from simple tasks to thorough audits. This variety can be beneficial if students intend to open their own law firm in the future.


3. Compensation: 

Big 4: Big 4 firms generally offer higher compensation, which can be a significant deciding factor for many. Stipends in Big 4 firms can range from Rs. 10,000 to 15,000 per month, depending on factors such as location and annual raises.


Mid-size firms' stipend is generally lower, with maximum stipends reaching around Rs. 8,000 per month.


4. Workload: 

Big 4: Longer work hours and a heavier workload are frequently associated with higher pay. The demands of Big 4 clients can be taxing and stressful.


Mid-sized firms: While the workload is generally less stressful than in the Big 4, the pay is also lower. It is a trade-off between workload and pay.


5. Work Environment:

 Big 4: The Big 4 firms have established processes and systems that are similar to those found in a corporate environment. Work is more consistent, and employees have better guidelines and policies.


Mid-size firms have a more relaxed work environment with fewer stringent systems. This increases flexibility and promotes an environment of innovation.


6. Networking Opportunities: 

Big 4: Working in a corporate setting provides numerous opportunities for professional networking. Making connections can be beneficial for future career advancement, both nationally and internationally.


Mid-size firms: Due to their small staff size, mid-size firms provide fewer opportunities to meet new people during the articleship period.


7. Mobility:

Big 4: Because the Big 4 have a national and international presence, there are more opportunities for mobility. This is advantageous after passing the CA final exams because it makes it easier to explore different locations within the firm.


Mid-size firms are frequently confined to one or two prime locations, limiting mobility in comparison to Big 4 firms.


Individual preferences, career goals, and the importance placed on factors such as client exposure, specialization, compensation, work-life balance, and networking opportunities all influence the decision between Big 4 and mid-size firms for CA article ships.

Students must carefully consider these factors and make a decision based on their personal and professional goals.  Students surely should watch how much exposure they are getting and consider their decision.


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