Eighteen months ago Onchan-born Mark, who is just 29, was promoted to Audit Manager at PwC Isle of Man. Mark said:
‘It can feel quite daunting stepping up to the role of Audit Manager, but I had great mentors and a good deal of support within the firm so I knew I wasn’t on my own. My promotion in the firm has been quite fast track – I have experienced such variety in my role when the opportunity arose and due to the support from within PwC, I accepted it.’
Mark completed his accountancy training with PwC and qualified in 2011. He didn’t set out to be an accountant; he was a history student at Chester University, planning to go travelling for a year when he completed his degree. Then the economic crisis hit in 2008, just as he was finishing university. He was ‘strongly advised’ by his parents to get a job if he could and curtail his travel plans and he took that advice. When PwC offered him a job it was ‘too good an opportunity to turn down’.
Mark believes that his degree in history is valued by prospective employers. ‘You don’t have to be a maths graduate to become an accountant. It’s not just about numbers, there are different skills you need to be successful in my role. You have to be able to talk with clients and audit teams, so communication is an important skill as well as writing skills and theoretical thinking.’
And, ‘yes’, he adds, ‘accountancy training is every bit as tough as people say it is, but it’s well worth it. You need a lot of dedication to pass the exams, but once you achieve the qualification it’s so rewarding because it sets you up in any industry. It’s quite a benchmark amongst your peers on the Island and worldwide, especially the ACA and the ACCA qualifications.’
Being in the audit practice at PwC means tackling a variety of work literally from all over the world.
‘We have work referred to us from PwC worldwide which means I get to experience a wide variety of industries on an annual basis. I also have the opportunity to work with big multi-national organisations as well as large local companies on the Isle of Man. On occasion I travel on business and I’ve been to Cyprus, Germany and the Channel Islands. Although the Isle of Man might be relatively small, PwC is a global organisation so you do get connections to the wider world and if you want the opportunity to travel, it’s there. Also, if you want to explore secondments abroad there are opportunities, it just depends on how you want to develop your career.’
Last May, Mark married Denise, who is a nursery nurse, and they enjoy spending time socialising with family and friends.
Another of Mark’s passions is his local football club, Douglas Athletic. He is currently Chairman and Treasurer, having taken over in 2012 when the club was undergoing a large transformation.
‘I’ve guided them from the reformation in 2012, from being called the Police into Douglas Athletic. We’ve won four trophies in those four years and this year we were promoted to the Premier League.’
Mark is also a player for the club and he says:
‘The team respect me for the time and commitment I’ve dedicated to the club. This commitment has brought us a good deal of success and with each achievement, the team grows in confidence and commitment.’
He also uses his accountancy skills at the club, he adds:
‘It’s about making the numbers work at the club. Making sure the bills are paid, collecting the annual subscriptions in from the players, securing sponsorships, organising training kits and facilities. It’s all the things that people take for granted when they turn up on a Saturday to play football. It has certainly opened my eyes as to how to successfully run any organisation.’
Focussing back on work, Mark said ‘I am very proud to work at PwC, during my time with the firm I have experienced a wide range of opportunities that I don’t think I would have encountered if I wasn’t working for PwC.
To quote Steve Jobs, your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’
Published by Isle of Man Newspapers.
Mark Lilleyman, Audit Manager, PwC Isle of Man