Based on the above data, it seems that the Big 4 are fairly evenly matched when it comes to how they pay their initial candidates. Those starting candidates earn well above the average CPA starting salary. In many cases, beginning associates at the big four accounting firms earn more than the average CPA. Jobs at the big four accounting and consulting firms have long been considered lower paid and less prestigious than jobs at investment banks.
If you work in auditing or assurance, this could be true. But if you hit the right place, the Big Four can afford it very well.