Articleship is primarily hard core work. It goes around with an on job training methodology. In most firms you will be joining the assurance and advisory div. and be sent on to a client as an assistant / junior to help out the Job in charge of the team. Initial work would relate to basic tests as advised by your job in charge say vouching expenses or completing an audit programme (following a series of steps) for an internal controls walk through. Most of your work will not include planning and client discussions (which you will grow into as a senior or a job in charge)
At a junior's level (for a year at least) you will be expected to learn a lot of things (so you have a cushion wherein deliverables are concerned) and then implement out of your learning curve at the third or fourth job. Of course all this will be in line with stuff that you have already learnt in accounting and audit.
The big four are the consultancy firms that have worldwide presence and have the highest revenue from fees based consultancies. These include KPMG, E&Y (Ernst & Young), Deloitte, and PwC (Price Waterhouse Coopers). Technically these are consultancy firms and therefore one cannot do articleship in these. However one can do articleship in the audit firms that are linked to these firms. Here one must remember that while the consultancies are private limited companies, the audit firms are partnerships.
This is because that unlike any other company, the auditors doing statutory audits cannot have limited liabilities. The stipend in Big four (4) firms for first year can range from 4000 to 6000+ depending on the firm and the city. This would go upto 8000 to 10000+ in the final year of articleship (2008). The good thing is one gets good exposure to work methods of Big Companies (most of which are listed companies). The flip side is one should be ready to travel and do onsite audit – someone working on audit would be doing say 15 to 20+ days of travel a month on average. Even otherwise, the work schedule can be hectic and there can be problems in taking leave.
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