Name: Richard Cartwright
Degree and University: BSc Economics, First Class Honours, University of Birmingham
Job: Audit Assistant, Audit Middle Markets
What do you actually do?
I have worked at KPMG for over three years and have experience in a variety of roles within the audit function including UK Companies Act, Integrated US audits, Value for Money public sector audits, audit compliance and administration. I’m in the process of obtaining ACAqualification — eight exams down with seven to go! I sit on KPMG’s National Disability Steering Group. I’m actively involved in engaging clients, suppliers and other service organisations in sharing KPMG’s and others work in the field of diversity. I sit on the Southern Chartered Accountants Student Society committee assisting in the organisation of society events and acting as a mentor to trainees in the southern region.
Why did you decide to go into the financial sector?
I have always had an interest and affinity for economics and business ever since taking them at ALevel. I followed this through at university and it made sense to carry this forward into my career choice. Despite graduating with a strong degree I was aware that I was still one of thousands of graduates. I chose to pursue professional qualification to differentiate myself and to open doors further on in my career.
How did you find out about your particular course?
KPMG have a very informative graduate recruitment website, and the ‘Times Top 100 Graduate Employers’ acted as a great ‘litmus test’ of employers.
Would you undertake further training to further your career?
I still have plenty of exams to go prior to ACA qualification, and beyond qualification there is a requirement to meet continual professional development criteria. If I have withdrawal symptoms I have always had my eye on an MBAor relevant PhD.
What do you like most about what you do and are there any downsides?
Audit is all about variety, especially in ‘Middle Markets’. Our clients range from the very small and simple to near FTSE 100 in size. Auditor privilege is very much that; by definition, auditors access information and personnel at the very highest level, it gives you a great insight into the ‘inner sanctum’ of a business. Downsides, life can be a juggling act, learning to prioritise (the right things) straight out of university can be difficult. Afull-time job, examinations and a social life are not always easy to achieve. The good news is that there is plenty of support on offer from the company and colleagues, all of whom have ‘been there and done it’.
What do you think are the most important skills/strengths you need to make a success of what you do?
Given the level of training involved, no bespoke accounting knowledge is needed, however, strong numeracy and literacy are important. The most essential characteristics to my successes were good business awareness, decent team working, and positive inter-personal skills, but this is not rocket science, most employers are just looking for candidates who are capable, interesting and interested in the sector.