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Most of us as students have this big question running in our minds whether to be articled assistants under the Big 4 or Small or Medium sized firms. The articleship period is rightly the golden period of a CA student. Most of the learning happens in this period. This period boosts a student's confidence either to face the Corporate World or have an Individual Practice.

The Big 4 are: KPMG, EY, PWC and Deloitte, which are illustrative and under general parlance.

A big question: Articleship in a Big 4, Medium or Small Firm

Let us make a comparison of the pros and cons.


Big 4

Small or Medium Sized Firms

Practice or Full Time Job

If taking up a Corporate job is on the cards, then joining Big 4 will be an added benefit .

If practice is an area of interest then small and mid size firms will help in establishing your own practice.

Field of Expertise

If the area of expertise is specifically concentrated on one. Choosing Big 4 shall be convenient.

If the area of expertise/exposure is more than one, choosing a small or medium size firm shall be feasible.

Exposure to Multinational culture of work

The exposure to MNC culture of work is available in Big 4.

Most of the small or medium scale firm are not exposed to MNC culture.

Work Pressure

Since it is mostly a corporate oriented service the pressure of work is high and competitive.

Work pressure is client oriented..


The stipend is higher than what has been recommended by ICAI

Stipend is usually as recommended by ICAI.

Study Time (The most important aspect)

Undoubtedly the study time is as per schedule fixed by the firms.

The study time is flexible.


However it is the choice of the student considering one's ability to handle both study and articleship and strike a balance without compromising on quality of work and or underperformance in exams.

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Category Students, Other Articles by - Poojitha Raam