1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My title is a service charge executive, day to day I complete mini audits on commercial buildings to make sure that the service charge expenditure on the building (utilities, security, repairs to the building and any other costs incurred etc etc) is materially correct for the client before issuing a certificate of expenditure for the year end to issue to the tenants. My daily interactions include speaking to surveyors, accountants and property managers to get the answers I need to finalise the expenditure, as well as lots of interaction with internal managers/Seniors when complicated issues arise. I often visit client offices, usually a couple of times a month, where I assist with service charge related issues in the clients office.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am studying ACA as well as all the school leavers, so I have learnt new knowledge through my exams and studying. There are advertised internal training for things like business writing and excel workshops, but I haven't been to any.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy working with my team and the clients I work on and visit are all friendly and make work more enjoyable. With the school leaver scheme they work you quite hard so I have found it very hard to find a work life balance, especially with exams and in busy season.
4. How valued do you feel by BDO?
I feel valued by my manager and team, who have given me a lot of responsibility from the start, I also am involved in other projects outside of my day to day job, which is good.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel this is one area where BDO fell short, although this can also be the case for other firms. As I am not in Audit or Tax stream I was pulled from the BPP apprenticeship scheme after a few weeks as I would not be able to complete some modules due to my line of work, meaning I gain one less qualification in my training. BDO have also decided to pull trainees from college based learning and switch the majority of exams to self study, which hasn't sat very well with my intake. In my personal opinion I also feel that the scheme could be completed in 4 years rather than 5, as there is a gap year in the 3rd year where no exams are undertaken.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
As it is switched to self study you get a faster response from your training provider.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I had exams during busy period, I found it was frowned upon if I asked to not do overtime during revision period. Apart from that I feel that the support is good, and if you are struggling you are usually not the only one.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Bristol is one of the most expensive cities to live in besides London, As salaries are based on geographical location to London we are paid the least in the country. As I had to move out to take this job I have found that I have very little spare money after expenses have gone out. This isn't fair as I have friends in other offices get paid a lot more and their cost of living is less/the same.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
From collegues I am told that the social budget has been cut significantly since they joined, and every year there is less social events. But when we have them they are really fun. The city is great, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. The firm does seem to do a lot for charity, and encourages charitable work with 10 paid days off for such work, which is good.
9a. Would you recommend BDO to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I would recommend accountancy to anyone, as its a perfect foundation for any career, doesn't even have to be finance!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BDO? *
Be aware that it is hard work (and so are the exams), I was shocked at how hard you are worked and the responsibility you are given, you have to remember that it is a career not a job. In the assessment centre always try to find a balance, you don't want to come on too confident or too shy.
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