1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Assisting on audit projects, either interacting directly with the client on site or working out of the office. Day to day work requires an understanding of IFRS or GAAP and assessing whether clients are presenting their financial in a true and fair way. Almost all the work will be done in excel, or the in-house audit software. For the junior staff, you are normally assigned small sections of the project, you prepare a sample of requests of information from the client (there may be a discussion to be had about the quality and volume of information your client needs to provide). Finally you assess the information provided against what you will be expecting from the planning done on the project. Any issues you investigate yourself or report to a more senior member of the team.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have developed my knowledge and experience of accounting, audit practices and data analysis, as well as my commercial acumen. The work provides you with growing insight and awareness of financial statements, instruments and complications that can arise in those areas. I have also gained confidence in communicating directly with the client.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
How long is a piece of string? Busy season is the hardest part of the year, but the summer months are usually quieter. For most projects, the work you do is often very similar to other projects, so it's the people in the team that will make or break an audit job. As a more junior member, you can often find yourself not booked onto a client for certain weeks, leading to just doing small jobs for seniors. I personally found this highly demotivating, but some people enjoy the change of pace.
4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Exam schedule and revision/college days are planned far in advance, so you know what to expect. There is an online resource for allocating staff to projects, but it is reliable to only 60% of the time as projects often change due to the clients. This can lead to sometimes being placed in the office with no clear job to do, and a lot of the junior staff end up either waiting for work or doing small tasks to support seniors.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
There are a few days dedicated for each exam, which you can book to study at home. Always feels like you don't have enough time left in the day to prepare for them despite this. Senior staff are friendly, but due to the company changing so quickly work methodology can often be unclear. Sometimes managers will pass on newly implemented worksheets to you thinking that the most junior staff will have had the training, which is often not the case.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
BPP is very good about providing support: we have access to a dedicated online hub for our learning, with video lectures available for all our topics. It also includes practice questions and normally a test per module section. We are also able to use the facilities when no tutor sessions are taking place, which means there is always somewhere quiet we can study. Almost all the tutors I have had have been excellent.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I believe the qualification is integral to helping me perform in my role: auditing requires knowledge of accounting practices, financial regulation as well as other areas that may impact the preparation of financial statements or the numbers themselves. The ACA covers this extensively, and I find myself understanding more of my job after every exam I sit.
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.)
There is a clear social atmosphere in the office, though this can vary depending on your team. The company does have some sports teams and they are still growing, but at the moment this area needs improvement: often teams will not have a set schedule for training or squad selection, and will follow more of a match by match planning set up. Can be very fun if you are just looking for the sports social side. Networking events occur quite often, for my team there was at least one a month. These I found very good, and the company made a clear effort to emphasise the need for a healthy social atmosphere.
9a. Would you recommend BDO to a friend?
The office has a professional yet social atmosphere: it is a perfect place for someone young who is looking to pursue a career in the professional services sector but doesn't want to sell their soul and all their free time from the start. The company offer just enough support to stay competitive with the market, though it can feel at times like you are in a less fortunate position. The paid overtime and TOIL policies are very generous however, and I almost never feel that working extra hours is excessive.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to BDO?
The most important thing is to be honest to yourself. Otherwise I would highlight aspects of your experiences/ personality that align with the following: Being comfortable and willing to enjoy a strong feedback-based workplace culture. Working well in a team environment: respectful, inclusive and valuing everyone appropriately. Being an effective communicator, especially in a client- facing environment. Be an eager learner. Admitting to your own mistakes and taking action to correct them.
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