Big 4 firms in India are hiring as many engineers as chartered accountants. It's time for people in finance to think technology.
Gross hiring in the Big 4. A total of expansion hiring and attrition refills added up to over 90K for FY2022 in the Big 4 cohort.
What to expect from this article
- Why work in the Big 4.
- Why tech is the big bet for the Big 4.
- What is the Big 4 investing in, both in India and globally.
Each year students in the commerce and technology world look forward to the Big 4 walking into the college and doling out offer letters.
The Big 4, namely KPMG, Deloitte, EY & PWC, are global accounting networks and some of the top places to work in India.
Prasadh M S, technology specialist at Xpheno says:
"The Big 4 have been investing in talent to move their Indian outfits up their internal value chain of skills and service capability. Their focus on hiring senior talent, ten plus years, with experience in strategic finance functions is evident with nearly 30 percent of their Senior Hiring in FY2022 belonging to this category.
Gross Hiring action recorded for senior talent in roles across Business Analysis, Financial Analysis, Financial Reporting, Financial Accounting, Risk Management in FY2022 shows the growing ask for these skills from the BIG 4”.
He adds that the Big 4 in India have grown their tech functions in the last 12 months by over 40 percent in size.
Will this hiring be at all levels?
With over 52K net headcount additions in technology in FY2022, the BIG 4 have emerged as a strong contender for top tech talent absorption.
With internal and client processes increasingly going digital, the Big 4 have been investing to strengthen their digital capabilities.
“We need to understand the organisational pyramid that is always in play where delivery takes place at the junior levels, with growth and expansion being the focus at senior levels.
Hence the focus will predominantly be at the junior & mid-level as they are the growth engines of the business” says Joydeep Roy, Executive Director at Human Resources at PwC.
The current active demand of over 2000 roles in tech function from the Big 4 shows the continued focus of this cohort on building stronger technology teams.
According to data available with Xpheno, the Big 4 had a slow hiring funnel in FY2020-2021 as they recalibrated in line with the pandemic-triggered reactions and responses.
The action shifted gears from Q4 of FY2021 and FY2022 and emerged a massive catchup and expansion year for the BIG 4’s outfits in India.
The Big 4 cohort registered a 36 percent net headcount growth in FY2022, which is their highest headcount growth in India on a YoY basis.
Dealing with heightened attrition rates in the 21-23 percent range, attrition refills has been a prominent hiring action over the year for the BIG 4.
Gross hiring, as a total of expansion hiring and attrition refills added up to over 90K for FY2022 in the BIG 4 cohort.
"The recording of a strong net headcount growth, despite rising attritions shows the pull the BIG 4 has been able to create in the talent space. The growing movement of tech talent from large IT service labels to the Big 4 is an indication of increased desirability among tech talent," says Prasadh.
But… why is there a technology hire up in the Big 4?
The Finance Story has been putting out series after series on the rise of technology and the need for accountants and CFOs to get to know new technologies such as blockchain, AI and Web3.
"When it comes to Web 3 or blockchain, I think there is a huge opportunity for finance professionals because there will be complete transparency and a complete audit trail. In less than three to four years there will be a breakthrough in this technology, which will make it much more transparent, easier, and much more auditable," says Lakshman Gupta, the co-founder of Qapita.
The Big 4 wants professionals in the area of AI, Blockchain, cloud, data science, cybersecurity, and DevOps. This apart, the traditional roles such as functional advisory, business analytics, finance, business operations, forensics, accounting & audit, and risk advisory continue to be popular.
PwC is reported to be investing $12 billion and could possibly hire 100,000 new people in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity by 2026.
A couple of years ago KPMG announced that it will be spending $5 billion on technology and EY will spend $1.5 billion on the same.
This is a global trend, India, UAE, and the Asia region will play a major role in supporting new technologies for these big companies.
Finance Professionals and Technology
“We expect this to be fairly consistent across all our functions such as Audit, Tech. Assurance, Direct tax, Indirect tax, M&A, Financial Services, Corporate finance, FinTech, Risk Consulting, Management Consulting, Forensics, Cyber security. However, technology, integrated platforms, value-led ERP, Data Analytics, cyber, and Forensics are likely to have a larger focus.
With a distributed teamwork culture, employers will look at skill sets such as result-orientation, leadership skills (impact & influence), ability to connect the dots and navigate the ecosystem.
Having said that, traditional qualifications like CA, MBA, and Engineers will continue to be hired but the focus, as I said is likely to increase in the areas of non-traditional qualifications like - applied sciences, design thinking, treasury, salesforce, arts, humanities, ESG, Cyber Security, etc” says Joydeep Roy, Executive Director, Human Resources at PwC.
"Finance professionals will also have to change their life rather than think that they are meant only for compliances or financials. They should think like a decision-maker rather than doing a compliance job. Technology and Accounting are coming together" says Amit Singal, General Partner at Fluid Ventures.
So, if you have the above-mentioned technology or accounting and advisory skills or you are a student of finance or technology then the Big four is the best place for you to start your career.
(Edited by Preeti Mondal and video by Subhankar Dutta)
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