1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working in corporate audit I am involved in the audit of a range of entities from small charities to large shipping companies. I visit clients mainly in London, but also in other parts of the country. I have mainly been involved in the fieldwork part of the audit but I have also gotten involved in the preparation of financial statements.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I had no experience of finance before so everything is new to me. I learned how to use microsoft excel and also powerpoint. I also improved my skills in using Microsoft Word. I have become much better at planning and organising my work and my schedule. I have also gained experience of talking to and working with senior people such as managers and partners.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I very much enjoyed the learning aspect of the programme. I always looked forward to attending college, although not necesarily the exams themselves! I also met many new people who I became friends with as well as colleagues who I looked up to and learned from. I did not enjoy the times that I felt there was undue pressure placed upon me at work.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
For the most part the programme was well structured. I knew when I would be in college and when my exams would be. However, there was less organisation around the portfolio aspect of my apprenticeship. It was unclear when assignments were due and what the requirements of each assignmet were. In addition, the portfolio was not well aligned with the requirements of the professional body (ICAEW), so when it came time to submitting my portfolio to them I had to rewrite it even though I had already done alot of work.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The support I recieved was hit and miss. Some people were of great help, but there were also times it seemed disorganised and that it took some time for my queries to be responded to. I did not find my line manager or my "buddy" to be of much help to me.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I found the support from the training provider to be of overall high quality. They were quick to respond to queries and good at teaching. However, there was an issue around the end point assessment which I did not feel as well prepared for as I could have been. There should have been more time spent on this aspect.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification is essential to my role. Although there is much that I can learn on the job, the knowledge from the professional exams directly relates to the work that I do in the office. The soft skills aspects of the training courses were also useful in helping to navigate the professional workplace.
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
The main social activity is going to the pub after work. There was a basketball session that I attended, but that was a one-off. There were also socials were I got to attend events with people of various levels withing the firm which were very good. However, with the recent merger these seem to have ended which is a shame.
9a. Would you recommend BDO to a friend?
It is a well established name in the accountancy world. There are oppportunities to to a wide variety of work and they are generally understanding of issues around your personal life. The work-life balance is better than what I have heard exists within the big 4. Managers have been overall helpful and people want you to learn and succeed.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BDO?
Be honest and personal in your interview. Although academics are important they seem to also be very focussed on you as a person, and how an individual will fit into the team. They look for people who are focused and driven to succeed, but also friendly and good at dealing with clients.
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