Accounting Question:
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Why have you applied to our firm?


Answer #1
Quantifiable differences between chartered accountancy firms are often found on the basis of size rather than between individual firms. In general, the Big Four offer more international opportunities, household-name clients, more structured training, the chance to specialise in particular industries … Smaller firms usually market themselves on factors such as greater client contact, greater variety of work (shorter audits at smaller clients), early responsibility, work-life balance, friendliness and smaller audit teams. In the end, graduates often choose between similar types of firm on the basis of the company culture and atmosphere, which often boils down to which of them seemed the friendliest at interview!

The interviewer will have expected you to have done your research on the firm – not just reading the careers section of their website but looking at the pages for clients, press releases etc. You should also look in the general business press for mentions of larger firms. Factors you could mention include:

Answer #2
* the specific opportunities available in that firm: these could be due to the existence of specialist departments, individual clients, recent growth, international links etc.
* locations: this may include the range of clients in a particular city or area, or the fact that the firm has a number of offices (in the UK and./or internationally)
* feedback from past trainees, whether from people you know personally or on the website
* their local reputation
* anything else which is valid and positive about the firm

It is worth noting here that chartered accountancy employers are FIRMS: not companies. A candidate who refers to the firm as a company will reveal a lack of knowledge and annoy the interviewer.

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