By Rob Starr Big4.com Content Manager
Dave Matthews, CPA, has been involved in the investment management industry for 20 years and his experience cuts a broad swath through finance, operations, compliance and tax. He’s worked with both KPMG and Deloitte and recently shared some of his knowledge on career development in the Big4 firms.
“At KPMG I started and finished as a Senior Tax Manager,” he told us, “but when I was at
Deloitte, I started as an Associate and worked my way to Senior Tax Manager.”
Even with that storied history and solid career path in the Big4 ahead of him, Matthews decided to leave like a lot of others that heed the call of a different road to success. For him, it was the entrepreneurial challenge of being a Managing Member of Soundings Financial LLC. He explained the reasons for his departure when he spoke with us recently.
“I wasn’t on the Partner track at KPMG so I was looking to an environment where I could create and be involved in the building of a business.”
It’s a common theme for many of those that have left the Big4 firms and enjoy the increased input they have working for smaller firms. Matthews detailed the environment he found in the Big4 and characterized it as demanding.
“There’s an expectation in the Big4 that you’re a very strong contributor twenty-four-seven,” he says. “You can never get to the point where you feel like you’ve done your work and can expect to get rewarded for past services. It’s always a case of ‘What have you done for me lately?’ ”
In other words, Matthews stresses that having an entitlement attitude in the Big4 and looking to rest on your laurels won’t work. He also spent some time talking about how disorganization can affect the path you’re travelling on.
“There’s an expectation that everything is 100% correct from the public so you need to be very organized and client service driven in order to maintain the level of service that’s expected from the public.”
All of these things considered, Matthews concluded our conversation highlighting a shift he’s seen whereby some people graduating from college no longer see themselves staying in the same job for the duration of their careers.
“For some people, it’s a great life,” he says of the Big4 specifically. “They go there and they like it and they stay and track right up. Others would prefer to have an experience that’s a little less rigid and allows for some creativity.”