Whether you are currently studying at university, sitting your A Levels, or considering a career change, deciding on ‘what’s next’ can be a big decision, but as I found, it’s also an exciting one!
Even when you’re in the world of work, being a little uncertain on which path to take is not uncommon. However I was sure I wanted to embark on a career that would challenge me to achieve the best I could, provide an opportunity to work and learn from experienced individuals, and of course have a little fun along the way. After a busy first year at PwC, my decision to apply for the graduate scheme all those months ago definitely proved to be the right one and has been even better than I thought it would be.
Both A Level and Degree graduates can apply to work and study with PwC, entering the firm as an Associate in either Assurance or Tax. I started as an Assurance Associate following a few years in the world of work and with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science under my belt, (an unlikely route into accountancy!) One thing that was immediately apparent was the range of career paths the other trainees starting with me had taken they included school leavers, recent graduates and a few work wise chaps like me.
Whether you’re based in Tax or Assurance, your training contract offers you the option to study towards one of 2 qualifications, ACA or ACCA. Both routes will lead to you becoming a qualified accountant on completion. The difference between these two qualifications is something that PwC will provide you with information on throughout the application process and guide you through on your first day. It also pays to do some research yourself, and be prepared before you undertake the application. The exam process is different for the 2 qualifications, but equally challenging and both can lead to you being qualified within 3 years, providing you pass all your exams mostly first time. The ACA syllabus sees trainees undertake over half of their exams in the first year, whereas with ACCA, the exams are spread over a longer period. Once you’ve got the basics under your belt and have done your first few exams and busy season, as you build you practical industry knowledge you’ll probably want to focus on one or two industry sectors and develop more specialised skills.
Ask anyone in the office who is either doing or has completed their studies what they found most challenging, and I think many would say juggling study with work, as well as a social life! However, an office full of qualified and experienced individuals who are also involved with sports, family and life outside the office speaks for itself: It can be done, and PwC support you with buddy systems, mentors and paid study leave.
One of the greatest things about studying whilst you’re working is that you get to apply your studies on a daily basis, and you will be working with experienced teams who will coach constantly as you work. You also have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of interesting clients, ranging in size, location and industry. If you work in audit, you’re likely to spend a lot of time at client offices so you can access their documentation and records, which is great because you get to meet new people in different locations all the time, which certainly helps keep the job fresh. Within the global network, there is often the opportunity for secondments; you can look to transfer on a temporary basis to different locations around the world. This is popular and people do it regularly within the Guernsey office, they find there are huge benefits in terms of exchanging knowledge and experience, As well as seeing and experiencing life in other countries of course.
There have been a lot of things that have made my first year at PwC really great; one of the biggest things is the people. The office is full of friendly faces who are welcoming whether it’s in your first audit team meeting with everyone from me to the Partners, or on your first social get together after a hard week in busy season. This certainly makes a difference to working life.
If you’re thinking about applying for a place at PwC, the next intake is in September 2013/14. This year’s intake planned early and fought off some stiff competition to get their places, and our places are already filling up for next year! Don’t panic, it’s not too late to apply and start your application process. If you are interested and are finishing your A Levels or a Degree this academic year, get your application in now.
To apply for 2013/ 2014 graduate and A level vacancies go to pwc.com/jg/careers.For further information please contact Gemma de Biasi whose contacts details can be found on this page.