The Big Four conjures images of industry behemoths — four firms that dominate accounting, overseeing more than 80% of audits for public US companies.
In many ways, getting a job at a Big Four is a career springboard. It opens doors and broadens your network. However, when I left KPMG to get into consulting, and eventually operations management for Gappify, I was still processing my experience and crystalizing everything I had learned.
Now that I have been out of public accounting for several years, I want to share the three most important skills I acquired while working as an accountant for a Big Four firm — and how it has ended up being so crucial to success in our start-up environment.
Coming out of college, you’ve been taught all the fundamental accounting concepts in a theoretical manner. But putting them into practice solidifies and deepens your knowledge.
Though my scope has broadened quite a bit, at its heart, Gappify is still about the accounting. While I’m overseeing bookkeeping, finance, legal, HR, etc. (operations encompasses a lot!) I still bring my accounting background to the table.
The more companies you work for and with, the easier it becomes to recognize that certain concepts and practices are universal across industries. You end up seeing patterns.
This was critical in the early stages of developing Gappify because identifying and solving the accounting pain points that affect every team and industry was at the heart of our mission. We recognized that corporate accountants were doing certain manual tasks over and over again, and we thought, why isn’t there automation for that? Then we set out to be the solution.
Needless to say, working at a Big Four can be intense. Hours can be long and you have to balance getting the work done fast with getting it right.
Unsurprisingly, a start-up environment is similar, but from my Big Four experience, I knew that no matter how much pressure you’re under, you can’t rush and put out a product riddled with mistakes — that doesn’t help anybody. I always reinforce that with our employees. Get something done right the first time. The only thing that ultimately adds value is quality.
If there’s one thing that’s been unchanging across my many career stepping stones, it’s that I want to help accountants do their job with more ease and precision.
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Director of Operations
Gappify, founded in 2016, is a cloud-based provider of accrual automation solutions for mid-market and enterprise accounting teams. The company is headquartered in Oakland, California, with offices in New York City, and Manila, Philippines.
Its team consists of accountants and CPA’s from Big Four accounting firms and software innovators. Gappify is also supported by strategic advisors from some of the world’s most recognized technology companies and is affiliated with the top companies & accounting organizations.