I'm a Big 4 First Mover - Get Me Outta Here!

Josh Hawkins
June 6, 20173 mins read

On June 1st, the Morgan McKinley Commerce & Industry Finance team held its first event specifically aimed at educating young finance professionals thinking of making the move out of the Big 4 Accounting firms and into the wider world of Finance.

An intimate audience was organised at the Morgan McKinley offices for any of our Big 4 candidates who had an interest in leaving professional practice. With drinks, snacks, and a meet & greet opportunity to mingle and connect with the speakers after a panel of questions, there was a great buzz that led to some of those burning questions commonly asked by potential movers being answered in an inclusive and supportive atmosphere.

We were thrilled to be joined by Clem Murdoch, Corporate FM at CPB Contractors, Richard Torrens, Head of Finance for Pinnacle Drinks, and Donal Cahalan, Finance Manager for Transactional Services at Qantas Group. All three of our speakers made the move from Big 4 under different circumstances and were keen to share their thoughts and insights on their experiences.

The panel covered a huge range of commonly asked questions including;

  • “When is the right time to leave the Big 4?”
  • “What area of business is best to move into straight from practice?”
  • “What advice would you offer to yourself looking back?”
  • “What was the main driver to take the role you did?”

And much more. For now, here are the key take aways from this event:

  • It’s not about the role – Your first role out of practice will unlikely be the one you stay in long term. Most first movers stay in their first role 18 months on average. Instead focus more on the kind of business you want to be working for.
  • Look at more than just the industry – it’s important to consider industries you’re interested in, but also look at growth markets in the economy, look at the culture, the hiring manager, the benefits, speak to people in the business, or look at the recent news to find out where might be a good move for your career long term.
  • There is life outside the CBD – most first movers are insistent on sticking to the CBD because it’s a familiar environment that’s considered very ‘convenient’. Nowadays though, a majority of the ASX Top 100 companies outside of Financial services are scattered around places like Chatswood, Macquarie Park, Ryde, North Sydney and Mascot. It’s important to understand that an extra 15 mins to work and back can make a huge difference to the potential roles you can find.

We’re looking forward to being able to hold these events more regularly as people we connect with express interest in forging their own career paths outside of practice, and if you are interested in receiving news of the next one – email Josh Hawkins at jhawkins@morganmckinley.com.au or call +61 02 8986 3143 for a confidential discussion about your career and current roles we are working on.


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Associate Manager


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