PriceWaterhouseCooper, now known as PwC, is a professional services firm headquartered in New York City that provides a wide variety of accounting, audit and tax advisory services to customers around the world. In business since the 1800s, PwC has grown to over 169,000 employees, in over 158 countries worldwide.1 PwC is one of the ‘Big 4’ accounting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG.2
PwC’s customer base includes high net worth individuals, small businesses, attorneys, Fortune 500 companies and various levels of government and their agencies. They also offer a wealth of free information on their website, including business resources within their ‘PWC Open University.3
There are a number of PwC careers for aspiring financial professionals. Obviously, the majority deal with the accounting and auditing of financial statements but there are a large number of related jobs that don’t fall directly under the accounting banner. These include management consulting, capital markets and certain types of advisory services. There is also an extensive training done prior to starting employment, which can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.
In touch with modern concerns, PwC has also developed a Financial Crimes Unit, led by former FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce.4 The division assist customers with cybersecurity efforts, forensic accounting services and AML (anti-money laundering) assessments for a variety of customers.5 300 PwC employees currently make up this unit.6
Working at PwC
PwC was named ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’, currently #53, according to Fortune magazine.7 The list cites PwC’s diversity training and new parent benefits for employees. This is the twelfth year PwC was named to the list and their ranking has improved from last year’s #74.
To get an insider’s view of working at PwC, we read some of the reviews and comments from employees, on Glassdoor. There, you get a mostly positive opinion of the company, a 3.8 out of 5 star overall rating.8 If traveling is OK, PwC will be great for you. You could very well be tasked with traveling to customer’s offices located in different cities or states. This has been known to occur on just a couple days’ notice, so don’t get used to making elaborate plans, at least early on in your employment at PwC. The majority of PwC’s employees are located outside the U.S.
As a quick intro, we like citing Glassdoor’s statistics when focusing on specific companies because the numbers come from actual current and former employees in those positions at that company. Contrarily, the Bureau of Labor statistics uses a much broader definition of a job title and it may skew statistics too low.
There are a couple general paths that employees take at PwC- audit/accounting and advisory. According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for an ‘audit associate’ at PwC is $61,664.9 Remember, associates are typically employees who are within the first six years of working at the firm and the term is more of a rank than a job description. Among associates, entry-level salaries range from $43,312 to $110,397.10 Most of the additional compensation comes in the form of a cash bonus but there is also a stock bonus. Even though the company is private, there is stock-based compensation through their employee profit sharing plan. ‘Advisory associates’ enjoy a slightly higher average base salary, $64,266.11
That might seem like a high starting salary for an entry-level or recent graduate. And it is, but Big 4 accounting firms are notorious for working recent college graduates pretty hard. It gets better if you’re further along into your career there.
PwC Senior Associates
The average base salary for ‘senior advisory associates’ is $94,268 with total compensation bringing in $100,286.12 Here, the additional compensation comes in cash, stock bonuses plus profit and commission sharing. These are professionals with extensive experience and probably advanced degrees such as Masters in Accountancy or a CPA designation. Above this level is management.
Obviously, an undergraduate accounting degree (sometimes a 5-year degree) is probably the most common way into PwC. But for those that didn’t receive an undergraduate degree in accounting, that’s OK. You can always catch up with an advanced accounting degree.
Perks at PWC
PwC employees enjoy a wide variety of benefits outside of their traditional compensation. As noted in a CNN Money article, PwC pays employees $1200 per year towards the repayment of outstanding student loans.13 This perk is for all associates, which generally cover entry-level workers to those with six years of experience. Since PwC hires a large amount of recent college grads (often carrying hefty student debt) this is one way they stand out in the battle to recruit top talent.
PwC reportedly hires roughly 11,000 recent college graduates per year, depending on economic conditions.14
PwC has a rather generous benefits program. Full-time employees accrue 15 vacation days every year, jumping to 22 days per year after 2 years of employment with PWC.
PwC also offers competitive benefits and for its employee’s child care and related expenses. New parents get 30 days of parental leave. One female employee shared “I was able to extend both my maternity leaves using unused vacation time without any negative consequences to my job when I returned”.15 Maybe the best endorsement was the story by Fortune magazine that a PwC employee, a mother of three, was promoted to partner while working part-time.16
Further, the company offers an adoption assistance program where they reimburse up to $5,000 for adoption-related expenses. Also, primary care parents get some salary continuation up to six weeks following the adoption. PwC also offers up to $6,000 for a special needs child. The only thing we could find fault with was no onsite childcare. Still, reviewers gave PwC 4.5 out of 5 stars in this category.17
Online Masters of Accountancy (MAcc) Degree
If you’re contemplating a PwC career, an online MAcc degree could put you in a very competitive position. And if you don’t already have an undergraduate degree in accounting, it might be a necessity.
With a Masters of Accountancy degree, you will become highly proficient in accounting and auditing techniques, as well as financial statement analysis. In other words, an online MAcc degree could put you on a management track within the realm of accounting and possibly PwC.