• Role: Assurance Associate
  • Location: Milton Keynes
  • University: Warwick
  • Degree: Accounting and Finance
  • Organisation: PwC

Leah

I work in PwC’s Milton Keynes office. Having completed a summer internship here during my penultimate year of study in 2013, I was fortunate to be offered a graduate role. I really enjoyed the culture of the office during my internship, and was excited to return after I’d finished university. The best thing about a smaller office is that you know everyone else which makes it a very friendly environment to work in.

How did you get your job at PwC?

In my first year at university I did a spring internship with another one of the Big Four and whilst I enjoyed the work, I didn’t feel the culture of the firm was right for me. This led me to apply to other professional services organisations when I decided I wanted to do an internship. PwC was an obvious choice to me due to their presence on campus and willingness to offer help and advice throughout the application process.

I applied for a summer internship during the penultimate year of my degree. After being successful in the application process, I worked for six weeks over the summer and was offered my current job based on my performance during that time. My internship gave me a varied experience – I was able to shadow people of all grades, attend various meetings (both internal and client), as well as gaining responsibility for some audit work.

What was the application process like?

The application process can seem daunting at first but the best advice I can give is to take each stage at a time, and make good use of the PwC UK careers site. There’s a lot of insight and help that will prepare you. PwC have just launched an interview e-learn which will really help your preparation and know what to expect at interview, so I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking to apply.

PwC also hold lots of events throughout the year that offer advice on the application process and the chance to come and speak to current employees of all grades (you may even get to speak to the Partner/Director who ends up interviewing you). I’d really encourage you to attend one of these events as you’ll gain knowledge and build valuable relationships than you may not get online.

Why did you choose a job in accountancy?

Even though you don’t need a maths or accounting degree to join Assurance at PwC, I knew I wanted to become a Chartered Accountant fairly early on, which is why I chose to study Accounting and Finance at university. I knew PwC was one of the best places to join to study to become qualified.

What are your main duties?

I’ve worked at PwC for 18 months now and the majority of my time is spent out at the client’s offices interacting with them in order to audit their accounts. This involves working on specific areas (cash, for example) and getting the client to provide me with support to back up the numbers that are in their financial statements. This support is then used to assess whether the figures are reasonable.

Alongside my main client-facing role, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in other areas. You can join the Welfare team who focus on looking after the people in the office, or join the Business Development team who focus on going into the marketplace to win new work. These among many others provide the opportunity to develop different skills.

What are the most stressful parts of the job?

The most stressful part of my job is multi-tasking and working on lots of different things all at once. On some jobs, due to their structure, you have to start all the areas assigned to you at once in order to request the information required from the client. Initially this can feel like you aren’t fully in control, but everything soon comes together when the client delivers the information in good time for you to be able to audit their processes.

Is it a 9-5 job?

There are busy seasons where you may have to work long hours to meet deadlines and it’s very time pressured. However, you work in teams, so although the hours are sometimes long, you all work together to get through it. There’s a real sense of achievement after putting the time in and achieving an outcome together, knowing you’ve put all your time and effort into it.

PwC is a great place to work, it offers a path to quick progression for those who have the desire to work their way up through the grades, but it also provides a great platform to other careers for those who are not 100% sure about what they want to. You can do as many or as little extra roles as you like. You really have the chance to drive and shape your own career in the direction you want.

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