Auditors during the busy season can easily spend sixty or more hours per week combing through data, searching for anomalies, and ultimately preparing reports that highlight their findings to a client.Depending on the engagement, assurance work generally staffs younger personnel to handle the lion’s share of the research, which is then reviewed by seniors or managers and ultimately signed off by a partner before the findings are presented to a client.Now, imagine twenty (random number) other practices such as PAS which falls under the RAS umbrella. Now once again try to imagine ten or so other service lines like RAS with once again a bunch of sub-service lines such as PAS. New practices form and old practices consolidate just about every year. Here’s an example: Imagine for a moment that a new regulation to govern “Wall Street” firms is passed and will be enforced in one year’s time.
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After some time contemplating the potential challenges that such a job would offer, I decided to pursue a chance opportunity to join the ranks of Ernst & Young LLP. Looking back, I feel as though the six years of professional experience I had accumulated prior to joining E&Y, although invaluable on many levels, simply did not hold a candle to the client exposure, professional networks and shear rapid-fire experiences afforded to me in my present capacity.
When I received answers to my inquiries from people in the profession, many of whom continue to this day to be my friends, I was intrigued.
Now that you understand the demand from the client side, let’s take a look at the delivery or firm side.
Firms as you might expect are structured in such a way as to meet client demand.
These “service lines” then roll into four major divisions which are: Assurance, Transaction, Tax and Advisory. The new regulation will have a significant impact on these companies for obvious reasons.
It may be a “bad luck” scenario for companies, but it could be a “big opportunity” for their professional advisors.
As advisors to industry, we provide a valuable benefit, since large businesses are regularly confronted with a bevy of challenges that range from the commonplace, such as not having the internal subject matter experience needed in order to execute upon critical initiatives, to the less mundane, such as perhaps a regulatory mandate to leverage independent third-party consultation.
The list in-between these two examples are vast to be sure and vary greatly in complexity.
This event could provide the foundation for a “business case” to create a new practice in order to address this potential need of the future.
Once the business case is formally presented and a firm commits to the investment…Recruit, train, sell and bam! This exemplifies why professional services firms cannot have a flat or rigid hierarchy.
Ernst & Young, like any of the Big Four or large professional services firm, is composed of a series of “practices” or unique groups of resources, ranging from a handful of people to several hundred, which tout similar subject matter experience.