1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role as a trainee associate in Assurance Audit is to carry out various controls testing (also SOX controls for a multinational US SEC listed), performing an array of substantive audit testing on Cash, Accounts Receivables and Payables, Fixed Assets, Intercompany, Loans, Admin Expenses. In my role, I have already worked with 10 different clients whilst still having 2 main clients. My role enables me to build working relationships and networks with finance experts across my specified industry (Real Estate and Hospitality). I have worked directly with senior managers, directors and partners for clients and have been given access to communicate audit issues directly with senior client members such as FCs, Directors, VPs. My day to day role can vary depending on the client I am engaged on however the nature of the tasks are pretty similar so there is loads of opportunities to build on your working skills.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt an array of new skills in Audit. I have learnt on many auditing standards under UK/US GAAP and IFRS such as IAS 18 and 40. I have completed two ACA exams within my first 6 weeks at the job which has enabled me to understand complex accounting and assurance audit issues. I have developed my networking skills and have become much more confident than when I started (which has surprised me even). I am able to communicate in meetings openly and have no nervousness due to the development of my skills. Looking back at the last year, I cannot believe how much I have learnt and have developed as an EY School Leaver. Managing a work/life balance has been one of the newest skills I have learnt.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoy my company culture as we are so diversity and inclusiveness focused. I am able to carry out my normal duties of praying at work without being judged or frowned upon. I am able to work out flexible working arrangements when there is a need. The work itself at first was extremely difficult however after receiving effective coaching from various executives and managers on my various clients I have been able to learn a lot. The work can get repetitive on different clients however this allows me to build on my skills. I have worked with various teams and have found each one amazing. Small teams are very effective at building close friendships and big teams are a great way of expanding your networks. The pros are limitless. I have met some truly astonishing people on the programme and yet I have not moved out of one department. I cannot wait to move through different departments and offices and countries too!
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
EY makes you feel valuable by gaining feedback on each different engagement from your executive/manager in charge. I have found this a great way to self-assess your performance and get reviewed by your seniors to see how you have done. I have also been rewarded with two impact awards (£100 vouchers) which allowed me to share my success at work with family which was great! I am able to make contributions in team meetings and these are valued and assessed like a contribution from any team member.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme has been well structured from day one and feels as if it has been run by EY for decade, so considering it is a fairly recent programme the structural organisation of the programme has been top notch. The induction was carried out at a beautiful 4 star hotel, where we got to network with our fellow school leavers. Training has also been with fellow school leavers so it is a good way to relax from the stresses and struggles of work and do some learning and socialising. EY has an internal planning system which allows you to see what you will be doing for the foreseeable few months. This allows you to pre plan your social life and you're able to now when you will be working on what and with whom. As a school leaver, you're assigned a buddy and a counsellor. A buddy is an informal contact within your department who is a year ahead of you. This is a nice touch as you can ask them the 'silly' questions without any fear and nervousness. A counsellor is like your permanent mentor and manager and looks over your progress and deals with any issues you may have. Counsellor is also responsible for your year end review whereby you get rated across your peer group and this has an impact on your salary and promotions. Overall, the programme has been structured well however there is a very limited information on what happens after the 5 years though it is to be noted, I am still in my first year so maybe nearer to the time this will be more clear.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Whilst at college, we received great support from our teachers who were readily available via phone/email for any questions we may have had in regards to the examinations for the ACA.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
In regards to EY training, we have regular training and the 2nd week in the programme was full of training. You are trained on the job through your executive whose job role is to mentor and train first years like me. This is the best way to learn in my opinion as on the job training shows me first hand the impact of my work.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is excellent for an 18 year old and it has really helped me a lot. My salary is well enough for me to meet my daily food costs and travel costs and has increased my social activities as I can afford them now. As I am staying with my parents, I save on rent and mortgage but I am still able to save a substantial amount every month. However, for the hours which are contracted in and the hours you put in as an auditor, there should be more incentive based pay on the hours you put in.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Yes, there are an array of opportunities from Football to Rugby to Cricket to Community events to International events. I myself have been involved with EY Foundation (a separate charity set up by the firm) which will involve me working with teenagers from deprived boroughs to get into jobs at big multinational firms. I really enjoy the opportunities outside of work.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
As it is a great platform to build your networks and working skills and relationships. It is an excellent name to have on your CV and to have spent 5 years with this firm and still be 23 is an excellent opportunity for any professional.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
Just be yourself in the application process - EY is more focused on you as a person when recruiting. Being quiet or too formal will not help your case, you have to be bold, exciting and confident. Your hours will depend on which service line you work in. Some service lines are the normal 9-5 whilst others, like Audit, can be well in excess of 50 hours a week - so make sure you know which service line you're choosing when you apply! And finally good luck!
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