The big four are the four largest accounting firms which provide professional accounting services in assurance, audit, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services. The big four accounting firms include Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). These four accounting firms handle many audits for public companies as well as private companies.
One distinct role that is included in the big four accounting firms is Staff accountant. Staff accountants work under the supervision of a controller, director or certified public accountant. Staff accountants are responsible for various duties, but some examples include preparing documents such as income tax returns, monthly reports and financial statements. Furthermore, there are CPA roles in many industries and as well the government sector. An example a role in the government sector is a compliance executive. Compliance executives ensure that a company is operating within guidelines, government specifications and regulations. They protect the public and the company shareholders from accounting errors or fraudulent practices.
Industry roles under the CPA designation are generally titled as a financial analyst. A financial analyst studies the industry the company is in, the current business trends and competition. They help assist in growing a company to achieve profitability by providing accurate financial assessments. Usually, this accountant works in the retail industry, insurance companies, mutual funds, security firms and other financial-type businesses.