The top accounting and audit firms in Singapore are Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Collectively, they are known as the “Big 4”.
Many fresh graduates in the NTU Accountancy and SMU Accountancy degree programmes aspire to work in the Big 4, never mind the relatively low starting pay.
So after an accountancy graduate gets in, how much money can she expect to make as she builds her career and move up the corporate ladder in a Big 4 firm? Thanks to our reader-contributors at Salary.sg Forums, we now know the following information:
How much does a partner in an accounting Big 4 firm make?
If you are at the entry level partner level 200-250k all-in is quite common. The very senior ones will of course hit above 1 mil, but those tend to be executive level, I don’t think there is any local executive in any of the big 4 based in SG now, a couple of caucasian expats at most.
Don’t be fooled by the “partner” tag… there are many more internal levels for them to climb. But once you make partner you’re 99% assured of a job all the way until retirement. It’s up to you whether you retire with a 20-30k salary or a 50-100k salary.
How long does it take to make partner?
Step 1. Keep grinding through the ranks. It will take you around 10 years to reach senior manager, by then you know whether you stand a chance at partner. Step 2. Now that you are SM, you need a partner slot to open up. One way is you create a new line of business that is so profitable that you are able to be promoted to partner and manage that line of business. Another easier way is when your partner’s time is up and he retires, creating a hole that you can potentially fill.
Unfortunately after SM you still need to climb 2 levels of AD and 2 more levels of Director. Generally even if you are a high flyer (being made partner is by definition high flyer), it will take at least 20 years to reach junior partner level.
There you go. To make about S$200k as an accountant in Big 4, it will take at least 20 years. Also, bear in mind that many don’t ever make it to partner level.
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