Big 4 accounting firm and an accountant and/or CPA?

How important is it to get into and work for one of the big 4 accounting firm and my career as an accountant or a CPA?

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Depends on what you want to do. There are many small practitioners who never worked for a "big" firm.
My general opinion is that the bigger the firm, the stronger the chances you'll get pigeon holed into one service area. While in a smaller firm, you'll get exposed to all aspects of those firm services.
If you're looking to be CFO of a large company, go with one of the "final 4", where the large corporations usually hire their auditors away.
If you're looking to own your own shop one day, think about a smaller firm where you'll get a broader range of experience that will hopefully be useful to your future client base.
--
Paul Thomas, CPA
snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
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