Originally Posted by pauldoo
Thats a pretty big claim to make, you cant tell the standard of work of a large firm on one audit file. Im on the other side now and im dealing with PWC, some of the people im dealing with dont know much to be honest, but i wouldnt claim all of PWC to be rubbish because of that, cause its simply not the case. As well as that im sure all big firms have changed dramatically in the decades since the paper files.
I would go with the feel you get from the people you have been dealing with so far in the interview process. I wouldnt take advice off someone on a message board on such a big decision. The person you get the advice from might be very biased one way or the other,the experience of the big four can be very different from person to person
I've worked in PwC in the past, and lived with people working in all big 4 (and as a result seen working papers and methodology from each of the firms). The company I currently work for has recently gone through an audit tender process which involved all of the big 4, plus 2 "Top 10" firms.
In general, PwC audit methodology is the most onerous of any of the big 4. There is a higher threshold of testing required for acceptable comfort levels. Whether that results in a "better" audit is debatable. PwC has a huge focus on getting documentation on file, doing large amounts of substantive testing and seems to value controls relience a lot less than the other firms. Whilst probably the most thorough, they are as a result also probably the least efficient.
From what I've seen, the threshold at which a partner seems to sign off seems to be lowest in EY, and highest in PwC. KPMG and Deloitte are somewhere in the middle.
Personally, I think that PwC over-audit to a degree, with a certain element of value-less testing in their methodology. That said, if any of the firms were to be hauled up in court during a fraud case, I'd imagine that PwC would have the strongest defence, due to having more evidence "on file" and less reliance on professional judgement.