1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an audit trainee in the assurance department, this involves planning, executing and completing audits of our clients. On a day to day basis I am out on client site planning or completing audit field work (execution). If I am planning then I am completing system notes, preparing the budget, information request list, VAT questionnaire etc. If I am completing audit field work this involves P&L testing with the main areas I look at being payroll, revenue, cost of sales, expenses etc. Furthermore, I also work in the office and normally cast accounts for audits nearing completion. Finally, for companies year ends I perform stocktakes.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I've developed existing skills relating to general computer proficiency especially excel and customer/client relationship skills as it is an essential part of the job to build and maintain client relations. I've learnt new skills with respect to using the computer software needed for the job such as: APT, APT next gen, CaseWare etc.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my programme as it is very rewarding and I feel myself developing further with each audit I complete. Up to now I have felt that good work is acknowledged through job appraisals and instant awards which enhances the job enjoyment. I find the education side of the programme is hard work due to balancing studying with the job but it is worth it especially when passing exams.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme is well organised/structured. Our time is planned through retain and from the start we have had all study time clearly booked out which means jobs and holidays can be booked around study leave. We have encountered some issues with our education supplier BPP in booking exams as there is no longer a BPP exam centre in our local area, this has caused some issues and stress during exam season.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive quite a lot of support from my employer. Every month I have had a progress review meeting with my counselling manager as part of my probation period, within which we talk about how I am getting on both on the job and with studying and any support I need is available in this time. Up to now my employer has been good with letting me book additional study leave days through holiday or TOIL to support my studies.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
When studying at college I have received support from both the tutor teaching the module and the support staff via email. Tutors are available both before and after class to help work through problems and contactable via email once tuition has concluded in the lead up to the exam. However, for modules which are taught through online learning there is little to no support available. Again, booking exams have caused problems and stress.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
The qualification relates to the role and gives me the knowledge to complete my work with a better understanding of it. For example, the accounting and tax modules at certificate level have helped with P&L testing massively. Furthermore, the assurance module has given me a better understanding of why we do what we do during an audit.
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.)
Yes. Social events are organised periodically by people from work and everyone is always invited/included. There was a new starters social which was specifically designed to fully introduce us all to the rest of the office outside of work. There is a Woman's Netball team which competes in the ICAEW Women's Netball League as well as Men's Football which practice periodically and occasionally play friendly games with other accounting firms.
9a. Would you recommend BDO to a friend?
They are a very good employer, especially for the graduate and school leaver programmes. They provide an excellent working environment both in the office and when out on site. The salary is in line with the industry with a good annual leave allowance, also unlike some bigger firms overtime is paid. The education side of the job is good as plenty of study leave is offered and all costs covered. However, the only bad element of the education side is that failing exams more than once almost always results in your contract being terminated which puts a great deal of stress on us especially when taking 2-3 exams at a time and working full time alongside revision.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BDO?
Take the time between each stage of the application to make sure it’s as good as it can possibly be as you only get one shot. Be yourself on the assessment day/video interview. Make sure you know about BDO and their values and understand the job role before you apply to make sure it’s for you.
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