Audit Trainee at BDO

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Start Date:
2012
Location:
South West
Programme Type:
School Leaver Programme
Review Date:
September 2013

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Review Score

8.7/10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:

8/10

Audit Trainee. Daily Tasks usually include going out on site to various different clients - across many difference sectors. I will usually help and assist the senior on the job (qualified accountant) with different sections of the audit. This may be sitting with the finance team and discussing movements on certain accounts i.e Debtors, or sometimes ticking invoices back to sales ledgers. I will rarely ever be based for long periods of time in the office and so time in the office will be completion work which is checking accounts are correctly worded and cast properly. There are several projects that I can do/have done - usually caseware projects or projects that cross over between audit and tax. These are a really good insite as to how the firm works together across streams.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?

10/10

I'm working towards the CFAB qualification which is the first stage of the ACA. I've completed 2 of my 6 exams so far which include Law and Accounting. The initial internal training course at Cambridge University was amazing!! I met all of the intake across the country for BDO and made many friends/contacts that I still keep in touch with even after a year on. There are many oppurtunities to get involved in external courses too - e.g. Business Challenges with the ICAEW was a great way to meet other trainess like myself from other firms and have a day together learning about other practices but also competing against them. There was plenty of healthy rivalry between the firms! I've learnt a lot of skills already from starting in the workplace i.e. professional conduct out on site, time management, Outlook calendar functions, networking skills and too many more to count!

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?

8/10

The only downside to the apprenticeship is that sometimes as the most junior member of the team (which usually is the school leavers at first) is the repetitiveness of some tasks. Usually the most junior member will almost always be asked to check the accoutns cast/cross reference to working papers/wording is correct - however this is taken in good nature as you soon progress upwards and the new intake each year will then do the casting. When working out on site you usally work in a small team - but each job varies - do you never work with a single staff member for long periods of time - so you get to know the entire office quite well across the year. Especially when on away jobs! The company culture is great - the team banter keeps you going when work gets challenging - all team members are willing to help each other - all team members understand that when exams are on the horizon that studying is important - BDO Buddy Scheme was really helpful in my transition into the office as I already had a point of contact before I went in to ask the questions to, and also once I started they were a really good source of information whilst I was still coming to terms with how BDO operated. I really enjoy my time at BDO, work hasn't become a chore yet and I'm already a year in. The social side with the office was good but we also worked really hard, there were no crazy hours that some other people say that work in the top 4 firms. I didn't really expect to get such exposure to different industries and the Southampton Office's main focus was car dealerships so the insite into the industry was informative in both a professional and personal capacity.

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4. How valued do you feel by BDO?

7/10

The workplace is always thriving and so sometimes appreciation can go amiss by more senior members of the team. However the member of the team that you will have worked the most with is the Senior and so feedback from them is almost always immediate and constructive. There are award systems within the firm to recognise many achievements e.g. extraordinary client service, empowered people etc. There is also external recognition - however at my stage this would usually be unlikely - however it can always happen. These awards are usually published on our BDO insitre page and so acknowledging achievement within the firm is a high prioirity to recognise colleagues' hard work. I do feel valued at my work place.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?

10/10

The structure of the programme is well thought out and planned as BDO have many many years of experience of Intakes. Initially we had an official induction in the central London Office - so all intakes from across the country attended a day in London meeting a few key members of the senior leadserhip team. This was a great way to get everyone together and learn BDO lingo before heading off out into the world of BDO Clients. Then we had a 2 week course of college, which was the first exam study course and we also met the older intakes from our office there. This was a coincidence but it was great to meet other colleaugues in a relaxed situation before heading back to the office. We are now 2 weeks into being BDO employees and we have yet to do a day in the office - easy going right!? Not quite, we then head off for a 2 week induction at Cambridge University. Where we had long days learning about BDO Audit Methodology but actually making friends with other people that have made it through the tough recruitment process and are now in the same position as yourself. I made many long term friends during this time and I still keep in contact and regularly meet up with them. During this 2 week induction we met many seniors, managers and partners that wanted to give us their insight into the firm and inspire us to progress through the firm. 4 weeks into being a BDO Employee and we've still yet to go into the office - but come October we start in the office. The transition into the office was smooth, well organised and well practiced. We had our intake as familiar faces, the older intakes that we had met at college all we needed to do now was meet our managers /partners and get into the world of work. That process was a good challenge as everyone knew you had minimal experience as an auditor. Studying fitted around work and in lunch breaks. It was hard at first to get used to working full time and still have to study in your evenings- but everyone did it so it was alright. The central exams team were really helpful, there are many feedback sessions to BPP our training provider in how to improve courses so it was always good to feel you were making a difference for future intakes after yourself. As I have talked about before BDO had a buddy scheme that got in contact with you after you had received an offer. They are invaluable and make the transition so much easier as you have someone on the inside that is familiar with everything and can help you with many queries into BDO/Social/Work/How to operate BDO systems etc. I would say the programme is well organised but is always evolving and so it will be interesting to see where it is in 5 years time.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?

8/10

BPP is a great training provider. The course content notes are more than helpful, online content, online tests etc the resources are really valuable when preparing for the exams. BPP also set up forums for questions for exams so that there can be discussions on points that maybe someone was unsure of that then also help others. We are given regular updates on who to contact if we have queries. All the tutors wanted you to do well and were eager to offer their time after work to help you feel comfortable sitting the exam. The support in the office was also good as there was a specific manager that looked after all training dates/courses/exams and so they were also a really good source of information.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?

10/10

The support in the office was also good as there was a specific manager that looked after all training dates/courses/exams and so they were also a really good source of information. Also our own counselling managers were familiar with the study as they had gone through it themselves. They were a good support system in helping determine when a good time to sit exams is, they would reflect and chat through your exam performance and ask how they can help accomodate you better. They themselves had contacts at BPP to get in contact with if they had queies/requests/access to information etc. I never came across HR in terms of study so I can't comment. Also the support of the older intakes was valuable as they had recently gone through the exams and would offer lunch time revision sessions if they weren't too busy. I remember getting together with some other people in my intake and having study sessions after work to help motivate ourselves! Everyone was keen to pass as this apprecticeship is well sought after, and people were keen to help each other as it helped them aswell.

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7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?

9/10

Everyone would always love a constant pay rise but the salaries in my opinion are competitive for the market and suitable for a junior member of the team. When I moved out of home my salary covered living costs and bills with enough to be able to enjoy a few luxuries during the month but not go out on shopping spree's each weekend. I lived right beside the office so that helped cut down petrol costs but compared to other apprenticeships of less than £3 an hour - I'm satisfied with my pay.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?

8/10

There are plenty of oppurtunities as the firm has such a large presence. There are office activities days annually - we went to the horse races for the day with food, a few small bets and not many winnings! BDO is very generous and will allow you a certain number of days each year to do community activities i.e. Helping out at the local school, scout camps etc.

9. Would you recommend BDO to a friend?

Yes

9b. Why?

The oppurtunities it opens up are invaluable.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BDO?

Apply early as places are snatched up very quickly. Be prepared for the presentation Think logically on the assessment days - don't overthink things! They aren't always trying to catch you out. Be open but aware that you are being assessed. Show that you know what audit is!!!!!! Talk to the other people on the assessment day, you are competing for a place within the firm but you don't need to hammer people down on your way up!! Get work experience, see if you like what you are applying for. Be ready with 2-3 questions in a partner interview - you need to stand out.

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