It is well known that there are pros and cons to everything in life, both in a personal capacity as well as professionally. Whether we are talking about the Moconna that you are sipping on while working from home compared to your $4.50 flat white from your local cafe. Yes it saves you money and it is quicker but it doesn’t taste the same or do quite the same job, or is that just me?

Back to the point, I have worked within two different sized Accounting Practices myself and I have been a Specialist Recruiter within the CA space for over four years now. Over the years I have spoken to what feels like millions of clients and candidates within Big Four, Mid Tiers, large through to boutique firms. From my personal experience and the IP I have gathered, I can truly say that from both sides of the fence, there are differences.

Big Firms


  • Strong training and development
  • Complexity of clients
  • Reputation & value added to your resume
  • Structure for progression
  • Secondments and/or changing stream


  • You can feel like a number more than a person
  • You can get pigeonholed into specialising too far
  • Longer hours
  • Strict salary banding under “normal” market rate
  • Based in most CBDs which can be a sizable commute

Medium Firms 


  • Structure for progression
  • A mix of different sized clients
  • Market salary
  • Some located in suburbs closer to home
  • Arguably the best of both worlds


  • Progression can be limited due to longstanding staff
  • Not as many high-end IFRS clients
  • Less structured training and development
  • Less client-facing work due to structure
  • Projects & BD are often done by Partners

Boutique Firms


  • Ability to get more involved in a range of work
  • Focus on office culture and fewer office politics
  • As a general rule, pay the most salary wise
  • Some of their clients are surprisingly large
  • Some leadership are ex-Big Four or ex-Mid Tier


  • Are either dynamic/forward-thinking or dated/traditional
  • When someone resigns there can be a strain on the rest
  • If you’re overpaid when moving you take a pay cut
  • Some of their clients can be small & limit your exposure
  • Flat structure & limited progression

So what does this mean for you? Basically it boils down to these questions:

  • What are your long term goals? What role do you want to have in the next 5-10 years?
  • What do you need to do now to get you there?
  • Is your current role going to get you there?
  • If not, what type of role or firm is going to be the right “stepping stone”?

Yes, it is a risk to move, but it is equally risky to stay where you are without growing, developing and getting you closer to your goals. I am more than happy to share my knowledge and expertise to give you advice on your career. Do get in touch for a confidential conversation.


09 930 9827