1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I joined EY for 3 placements throughout my Degree as an Audit Associate in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications department, which is in the Assurance sector. This means my daily tasks when on placements were involved with auditing the financial information of various clients. The tasks can range throughout the year from planning through to the final check of financial statements. I found the range and complexity of the work to increase as I became more experience. The majority of my time on placement has been spent working from client offices, working and interacting with the audit team on a daily basis. There is also a lot of client interaction as a lot of the audit work will require client discussion.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
In terms of actual qualifications, the EY Degree has allowed me to attempt and obtain several of the professional exams towards Chartered Accountancy with ICAS. This has also helped in improving technical accounting knowledge. Working at EY has also helped in developing many internal skills such as time management, team-working and communication skills. I have also found my IT skills have improved throughout my time with EY as you learn more about audit software and audit team members teach new IT skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
The EY Degree program as a whole is very challenging as you move between University and EY work placements, this makes the process very difficult but also very rewarding. With several of the placements being in the Jan-Mar period (known as busy season) working hours are also very long and deadlines quite tight which can make the job a little more stressful. However, I have always found teams to be supportive and through making friends on the audit teams it made the long hours more bearable. EY also gave me the opportunity to complete some audit work away from the UK, which made my final placement an exciting and enjoyable experience.
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
Whilst EY expect you to take ownership of your own work and complete on time, if work is completed to a high standard it is usual that you will receive praise from the reviewer and manager on the team. There is also the opportunity to be recognised for this through feedback, where the manager will comment on work completed well but also give points for improvement. Also, through the recent addition of ‘Values Awards’ at EY, this gives you the opportunity to receive some tangible benefit for hard-work. These are usually recommended by a Senior Manager or Partner and therefore provide a feeling of being valued by the more senior members of EY.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The EY Degree program is relatively well structured in that it is organised effectively to split time between University and EY work placements. However, I have found the programme to be very busy especially as it incorporates a Dissertation and a couple of courses that need to be studied in shorter periods in order to fit all the modules into the degree. There has also been multiple changes in the Degree Co-ordiantor at EY throughout my times on placement, this has provided confusion for myself and other students as to who exactly was our contact at EY. This led to some dis-organisation before a placement, where many students had difficulty obtaining short-term accommodation due to University commitments and little help was provided by those at EY.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Support provided at University (Lancaster) and the professional college (BPP) is excellent and I enjoyed my time studying at both. Focusing more on BPP, I have studied there multiple times towards to professional exams with ICAS and found the teaching staff to be the very good. They are very approachable and supportive, providing a manageable pace for a lot of material that has to be covered.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
EY provide a counsellor to all new joiners, this will be someone more senior in the department. Throughout my placements, I have found my counsellor to be extremely approachable, helping with any small questions that I had. They also provided additional support and we met regularly to discuss feedback from jobs and improvements that could be made. I have also found the audit teams to be very supportive in helping if I was stuck on a task and providing support when working on new tasks.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary paid to EY Degree students remained the same throughout all placements; this was enough to cover living costs. EY also cover the cost of accommodation at University as EY Degree students need to come away for a term, which I considered fair.
The cost of travel to client sites is usually repaid by EY based on the travel policy, so therefore minimal travel costs were incurred throughout my placements.
All-in-all it was nice to earn some money as a student whilst gaining work experience.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
EY does provide several opportunities outside of work such as social clubs and societies for those are interested. There are also social events organised for departments that are fun and provide an opportunity to get to know other colleagues. My favourite events hosted by the department include a football, bowling and German beer festival event. There are also team bonding events for audit teams that can range from team lunches or team meals, which help bring the team together outside of work. As I was based in the London office of EY, I also enjoyed trying some of the wide-range of restaurants available and doing some sight-seeing in the city in my free time.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
EY provide an excellent opportunity to gain the Chartered Accountancy qualification that can provide an excellent base for future career aspirations. Also working in the Assurance sector provides the opportunity to work on a wide-range of clients, increasing your knowledge of different systems available. It also helps in improving a range of personal and technical skills that can be taken forward. Whilst my time on the EY Degree has been busy and stressful at times, it has been very rewarding and would therefore recommend the degree to someone interested in the area.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
When applying to EY, I would advise being confident and ensuring that you sell your abilities and skills that you can offer to EY, using any relevant work experience. If through to the psychometric testing phase, ensure to do all of the practice example questions that EY send through to you, these provide an good idea of what to expect when performing the actual tests. For the assessment centre, I advise doing some research around a topic EY will provide, this helps with the group-work phase of the assessment day. It is important have some knowledge in the area so that you can get your view across effectively but also do not be overbearing on other members of the team. There is also a telephone based exercise and note taking exercise, I advise working quickly and effectively to complete the tasks in time. The day will also contain a formal interview, it is important to be yourself, again using relevant work experience and it is important to try to keep the conversation flowing with the interviewer. For anyone with any questions regarding the process, I would advise that EY are active on social media (Twitter/Facebook) and therefore any questions can be asked in an informal environment.
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