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  • Role: Assistant Manager - Audit
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: Aston
  • Degree: BSc (Hons) Accounting for Management
  • Organisation: KPMG

Waqas Ahmed

What is a typical day like for you?

As an assistant manager in audit, there is hardly a typical day. The type of work you perform is always changing – it’s dynamic.

However, my main duties during an audit may include the following:

  • Managing a team of assistants on site for the audit; this would include assigning work, answering questions they may have and reviewing work to ensure the quality of performance is high and consistent across the engagement.
  • Tackling the complicated audit areas myself and holding meetings with clients to discuss any issues found or additional information required.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most enjoyable part of the job for me has to be that the work is fast paced. In the middle market audit you cover a wide range of industries and learn a significant amount about business and accounting practices in various industries very quickly.

What are the most stressful parts of your job?

You are generally responsible for an audit from start to finish. Therefore, whilst managing an audit team on site with a challenging deadline to meet, the responsibilities of arranging planning meetings for upcoming audits, completing statutory accounts and audit files and running final meetings for your previous client can be with you all at once. This can become very challenging in busy audit periods.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into the industry?

Research the industry and your target employer as much as possible. It is important that you understand clearly what the job entails and how your skill set suits the functions you are applying to.

Good understanding of the role, function and the industry will demonstrate your desire and strong motivation for the chosen career. This is sure to set you apart from the competition.

What was the interview process like?

I was very impressed with the efficiency of the KPMG recruitment process. The communication was clear, and the responses at each of the stages were prompt.

There were four stages in the recruitment process, which are:

  • Submission of online application form
    This included filling in the generic personal details, the academic background and any previous job details. There were a few questions which served to understand further your motivation for the career choice.
  • Online tests
    Psychometric tests which included a numerical and verbal reasoning test.
  • First Interview
    A competency based initial interview was then held. This was with a manager and lasted about an hour. The questions centred on my CV, competencies, experiences and some commercial/business understanding discussion.
  • Assessment Centre and Partner Interview
    A full day assessment centre was then arranged; this included an e-tray and a group exercise.
    The day ended with a partner interview, for which all candidates were instructed to prepare a 10 – 15 minute presentation. This led to a discussion on the ideas presented and some additional competency based questions were asked.

What challenges have you come across, and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge has to be time management when handling a number of projects simultaneously. As you progress through your career you learn to work efficiently and delegate tasks effectively.

What ‘soft skills’ have you found useful?

Communication skills are very important in this type of work. You are expected to be the main link between the client, team and the manager/partners and therefore have to be very clear and precise in your communication to ensure that work runs smoothly.

Can you briefly describe an interesting/exciting project that you have worked on recently?

I have recently been involved in an audit of a new client, who had never been audited before. It was initially a simple audit project, but it soon became apparent that relevant accounting systems and controls were not in place to perform the audit effectively.

The work was then focused to assess the controls and accounting environment with a view of providing advice on how the relevant controls and policies can be implemented within the business.

It was exciting for me to understand the business in its entirety and provide value adding reports, for betterment of the business.

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