1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I work in the Transfer Pricing team (part of International Tax Services) and have a number of different clients and projects that I am involved with at any one time. Day-to-day work involves working on projects through researching, discussions with overseas teams and preparing reports/slides for clients summarising our advice. I attend client meetings which are great experience and fast paced. I have responsibility for managing client correspondence and delivering advice to clients. There are always changes to tax law being discussed or implemented, so a lot of time is spent understanding these changes and how they may affect our clients. Time is also spent on administrative tasks such as project managing/coordinating overseas teams and keeping track of budgets.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
- Research and application skills - Tax technical understanding; this involves understanding the law / guidance and how parts impact our clients - Presenting skills; I have opportunities to present at client meetings and lead client calls, also there are many opportunities to present for example at internal training sessions - Mentoring others and delegating work - Ability to work under time pressure - Organisational/time management skills
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
Overall, there is a positive atmosphere at EY; the people are friendly and keen to see your development within the firm by taking time to discuss and explain, as well as giving you responsibility to stretch yourself. Within my team, the work is interesting and constantly evolving. There can be challenging deadlines to meet and therefore time pressure – this does vary greatly between teams.
4. How valued do you feel by fac365?
As mentioned, people are keen to see your development within the firm. There are regular team meetings to address any concerns and when you join you are assigned a counselling manager who oversees your development as well as a buddy of a similar grade. Everyone is encouraged to regularly provide constructive and positive feedback.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is structured over 5 years with approximately 15 exams (to gain your ACA qualification, the chartered accountant qualification); there is also the option to gain other qualifications for example CTA, chartered tax advisor. The exams are spread out and much less pressurised than the graduate scheme where although the scheme is 3 years, they do approximately 14/5 exams over the space of 24-6 months. It can be tricky to plan as we are only given a few months notice of when our next college blocks are. Also, the exams are a little too spread out during the first few years and then the pressure ramps up in the final years as the exams are more complex and closer together.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
We train for our professional qualifications with Kaplan; the tutors are generally very good and are always open to questions/happy to discuss any areas of uncertainty. There are great resources online including progress tests and online tutorials for difficult topics. We have mock exams too which are marked to exam standards, which give you a good idea of your progress.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The team is relatively supportive, there are regular meetings where you can raise and discuss any areas for improvement. During exams you should make people aware that you need to study in the evenings, so that they should not expect you to work late and instead encourage you to focus on your studies.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I am currently living at home, therefore do not have substantial living expenses. Therefore, I do not have an issue with covering expenses. However, overall there is a substantial difference between the school leaver / graduate salary package, despite the fact that we do the same job / have the same amount of experience in the office.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are various groups that meet outside of work, for example, EY’s netball teams who regularly hold matches with teams from other businesses. Also, EY has created a charity called the EY Foundation, which encourages employees to get involved in activities/trips to raise money for the EY Foundation, which involves anything from mud-run obstacle courses to Sahara treks!
9. Would you recommend fac365 to a friend?
In general, EY is a great place to start working as it is a positive and supportive environment. In addition to learning a lot about your service line, it's also a gateway to being introduced to a huge range of businesses, understanding what they do and the challenges they face.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to fac365?
Make sure you are aware of what the application involves and the various stages (e.g. online tests, interview, assessment days). Be careful of when applications close, as this can be earlier than you would expect. My interview was a strength-based interview, where I had to provide examples of where I demonstrated team work, leadership etc. Think of examples you could use, like sports teams or Duke of Edinburgh. Be confident, be enthusiastic and be yourself.
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