1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Whilst on placement my job title is audit associate. My daily tasks are working on a wide variety of areas on the audit file and interacting with the client regarding my testing. I am responsible for the performance of the testing for the areas which I am assigned, the documentation and for following up on any additional comments or questions made upon review by my seniors. I am expected to proactively seek support from my team whenever I am unsure of my specific task or of a response from the client. I am equally expected to provide this same support to other more junior members of the team regarding any queries they have from their testing.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
During my degree programme I have so far obtained ten out of fifteen exemptions to the ICAEW exams. By the end of my degree I will have obtained a further two. The new knowledge and skills that I have obtained throughout these studies have been cemented and further improved by my time on placement. As for my personal and professional skills my confidence has grown considerably particularly when interacting with clients or senior audit team members such as partners. I find it easier to follow technical conversations and add sensible suggestions and comments. My report writing and proof reading skills have also both improved through feedback obtained on my documentation, being trusted to help write reports for US teams and proof reading final draft financial statements before publishing. There are many more opportunities for personal development within PwC across a variety of areas, such as learning a language, although due to the nature of busy season when my placement takes place it is clearly not possible to take advantage of all of these at this stage.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I love most things about my programme, the teams I work with are interesting, dynamic and extremely knowledgeable and the work is sufficiently challenging and interesting. The volume of work can sometimes stretch me a little beyond my limits detracting from the enjoyment however when you put this in context of all the good things about working at PwC it does not put me off a job I otherwise love.
4. How valued do you feel by PwC?
There is a feedback process by which you get feedback from each individual job you work on. You can request this from anyone on the team that you have worked with including the manager or client. This is then collated and a self evaluation submitted by you to your people manager, who after moderation will sit down with you and discuss your strengths and development points. This makes you feel valued as there is a lot of time and effort spent in ensuring that you are able to grow within your role and know what you need to do to progress as well as receive praise for all the effort you have put in over the placement. How valued you feel can vary from job to job as you work with different teams however overall I would say this has been an enjoyable experience with teams offering me a lot of support to ensure I understand my tasks and are happy with my workload, but equally having regular conversations with me to ensure I am able to try new areas of the file that I would like to have the opportunity to work on and am sufficiently challenged. Provided you are happy to speak up and say what you are looking to achieve personally on a job or at PwC in general there are normally people who will work hard to ensure you are given those opportunities for personal development.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I would say overall the programme is well designed. It is nice to have a full year at university in the first year to enjoy the University experience, getting to know your cohort, getting involved in societies and building your technical knowledge and confidence before going on placement. There a number of sessions delivered by PwC employees to help manage your expectations of placement before you start and give you the opportunity to ask any further questions. Intensive week long training is provided each year before you go on placement in order to ensure that you are comfortable with using the PwC specific programmes and software and to give you the opportunity to work through some practical audit tasks that are typical of the work you will be doing on placement. In years two to four all teaching is done during the first term and intensive revision sessions are provided on your return from placement in order to ensure that you are ready for your exams. You have a personal tutor at University and a people manager on placement who are there to support you throughout the year and the university will stay in contact with you during placement to ensure you are getting on well. During your first placement you are the most junior member of the team and therefore receive a lot of support to ensure you are comfortable with all of your tasks. As you progress on to your second and third placements you are given more responsibility and may even be asked to start coaching more junior members of the team however support from managers and senior associates is always at hand and is there to be used.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The tutors at the University of Reading are all extremely knowledgeable and approachable with regards to their subjects. They are always accessible over e-mail or you can book an appointment to go and see them outside of lectures if you have any further queries about the work. They are interested in making your University experience as enjoyable as possible and therefore regularly ask for feedback on how the course can be improved. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My people manager and other older flying starts have been a great support to me at PwC. They are always willing and able to answer my questions and will happily put you in contact with the relevant people to help solve any queries that you have. The HR team are also very approachable and have helped me secure the opportunity to return to work at PWC over the Summer. Technical support is available 24/7 over the phone or via your laptop.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary you receive at PwC is very competitive and if you are unable to live at home they will put you up in accommodation whilst on placement so that you are not having to pay double rent as you are likely to still be paying rent for your university accommodation. Although travel costs and daily living costs in London are high I have still been able to get without missing out on social opportunities.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are numerous opportunities outside of work at PwC. There are plenty of office socials available where you can meet individuals from all areas of the business and people at all stages of their career from associates to partners. There are opportunities to get involved in many different voluntary activities including visiting local schools, charity bike rides and working with other charitable organisations to help different groups of people. There are opportunities to take language classes at PWC and attend events to meet new start up businesses which is something I have found particularly interesting. As we have offices located all over the UK and globally there are also opportunities for transfers and to build relationships with people from around the world.There are sports clubs and a Christmas panto in which is possible to get involved either behind the scenes or on stage. I am sure there are many more opportunities that I have yet to discover so if there is something you are interested in it is well worth asking your people manager about.
9a. Would you recommend PwC to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Despite the level of continuous hard work needed to succeed in this course the opportunity and experience that you gain from the course are well worth it.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to PwC? *
There are a number of stages to the application process and you need to be able to evidence with examples any claims you make of your own personal skills and personal qualities both in the written application and in the interview. Demonstration of your awareness of current industry issues and developments are important and you also need to be able to demonstrate in the group interview not only logic and knowledge but team working skills such as communication and listening as well. The assessment days are a good opportunity to network with other candidates and find out more detail about the courses and to ask questions about the course, the ICAEW exams and the placements from the different leaders in each of these areas. If you are willing to put in the work there are a lot of opportunities and benefits, particularly in terms of variety of experience to be had at PwC.
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