1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Assurance Associate Each day, I will work from the client site where I will perfom tasks that aid with the audit process. I do exactly the same job as the graduates (who's programme is 3 years rather than 5), and train for my exams at college every couple of months. I am given the opportunity to lead other members of the team (ie if I have worked on the client for longer than them I will know more about the client than them)
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am currently studying towards the ACA, having completed 2 exams so far. I have learnt a lot about audit since I started, as I had never done accounting before. I was rated one of the highest in my year (school leavers and graduates).
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
If you ask, you can get on clients you're interested in. I find resource management difficult to deal with and it can be hard to book time off. The hours have been very antisocial for me (working until past 8pm for 5 months with no holiday). However, a lot of the people I have met have been very helpful and encouraging. I did not expect the hours to be as consistently long as they have been, but I guess that is what it is like in audit and maybe I should've been more prepared for what audit entailed before I accepted the position. I was also expecting to work at my office in London Bridge - but this never happens. I do not mind being on clients in central London (I don't live in London), but when it is deemed acceptable to have a 2 hour commute to work when you are put on clients, I don't think this is fair.
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
If you work hard, you are valued by your team. It is more dependant on how well you get to know people than how well I feel valued as part of the organisation. If you ask for feedback it can be encouraging, however when we put in extra work, we are rewarded by managers with £50 vouchers to redeem against gift cards, which can be a nice surprise.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Although I think the programme is well structured, I do not think it is well communicated. When I started, I had no idea how many exams I was to take or how often I would have to take them, which lead to me being incredibly confused.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We undertake training at Kaplan, a private training college located in London. Some of the tutor's I have found very good and very supportive but other's I have found difficult to talk to.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
We are all allocated a buddy before we arrive who contacted us to introduce themselves and offer support. We are also all given a counsellor who helps us with any work related problems we have. I've found my counsellor incredibly useful, and he helped me when I was having problems with a team etc. I find resource management incredibly difficult to deal with, and they tend to ignore emails they just don't want to deal with. I find the holiday booking process of sending an email to resourcing to get confirmation you can take holiday when you're not on a client unbearably slow and inefficient.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
First year salary is £21k. Given that none of the people on the programme live in London, I don't think this is a very generous package. I cannot afford to move to London as this would not cover rent and living expenses. I think it is slightly unfair that we are paid £7k less than the graduates for performing the same role.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
We have numerous department socials, CSR time, there are many societies and clubs and we also have a lot of external organisations come in and do talks for us.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
I think for anyone looking to go into accounting, there is no point in going to University. The programme is worthwhile, and school leavers are treated no differently from the graduates in the workplace. If you work hard you will succeed.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
- Talk to someone at the firm/new in the industry before you apply so you can get a realistic opinion of what the job involves.
- Research the application process (online tests, interview and assessment centre) online well before - there is a lot of help available online. If you know someone at the firm then reach out to them to ask for help.
- Consider that everything that it says on the website may not be true - audit involves antisocial hours and travel arrangements often made at short notice.
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