Degree/university: Civil engineering, Southampton University
Year of graduation: 2004
Occupation: Audit assistant: financial services assurance, KPMG
What do you do in your job?
I am on the ICAEW training scheme and training to become a chartered accountant. I spend one third of my year at college and the other two- thirds on audit engagement. I work mainly with investment banking clients. A typical day could involve meeting clients and discussing their business, process and controls. I also carry out audit tests, and write up documentation and reports. Quite a lot of my time is spent engaging with clients.
What was your motivation in applying?
I liked the fact that it was a broad qualification and it didn’t narrow my options for the future. It is very well respected across industries and internationally recognised; I like having the option to be able to work abroad. I wasn’t finding civil engineering all that interesting towards the end of my degree. I wanted to do something else and I wanted to work in central London. I found I had more interest in financial services than in engineering. I chose KPMG because I found they were the most friendly and I enjoyed the application process. I liked the people I met, who seemed welcoming.
What did the application process involve?
There was an application form, then online testing (verbal reasoning and maths). Then there was a first round interview with a manager. I then went to an assessment day: I had to do an e-tray exercise; then had a partner interview; I did a presentation, and undertook a team exercise.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I like the fact you get to work with lots of different clients and you are not based in one place. I deal with lots of banks in London, so you don’t get the chance to get bored. I like the fact audit is quite organised; you can plan a few months in advance what you will be doing. Most of all, the company is really young: there are hundreds of other trainees so the social side is a lot of fun.
Most challenging part of your job?
No one knows how to audit when they join, but you meet clients straightaway. You need to learn to manage time and other people early on. Because I work in banking it is quite technical and I had to pick up an understanding of the area from scratch, which was challenging because I am from a non-financial background. Overall the exams are the most challenging part.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
Research well and find out as much as you can about training schemes. Speak to people who are doing it; there are so many people on training schemes at the "Big Four" accountancy firms you’ll find someone to talk to. Give it a go – if you really don’t enjoy it’s not as if there’s no going back. Try it while you’re young.