Building relationships

Workplace diversity is only one of several qualities PwC offers potential employees, as Andrew Gill explains

A job or career may no longer be for life and grasping great opportunities is becoming ever more important in an increasingly competitive world.  I graduated from university and trained as a teacher and worked for four years within the profession. Although I had lots of good experiences and life lessons in that industry, I felt that spending the rest of my life in a classroom with thirty children was not for me.  My path into auditing and accountancy is not a conventional one and it proves that by having confidence in the value of your skills and experiences and presenting them  in the right way, you can convince a prospective employer that you’re right for the job, even if you’ve had zero experience in that role.

When considering what career number two may look like I was attracted to the world of auditing by the flexibility for future career moves it offered. The qualification is world recognised and opens numerous doors, whether in the auditing/accountancy profession or in the wider industry. But where to train? What attracted me immediately to PwC was their respect for transferrable skills picked up from other professions and their desire for diversity in the workplace. I for example graduated with a music degree and was treated no differently to a person with an accounting and finance based qualification.

PwC annually employs school leavers, degree graduates and career changers like me and one enters as an sssociate in either assurance or tax. I began within assurance and after internal training was immediately trusted to interact with clients and take on important tasks for each job. One hears stories of people starting at employers and for the first few months trusted just with menial jobs such as photocopying and making the coffee, but this has never been the case. I am now in my second year at the firm and I have worked on a wide range of clients, from a private equity firm based in Turkey, a hedge fund based in Brazil to a stock count I undertook at a local client in the St Peter Port high street. The work has also given me the opportunity to work off island, in Paris and Luxembourg. Once accepted by PwC, you are provided with a three-year training contract with a choice of two accountancy qualifications, ACA and ACCA. The firm covers all course and examination fees (which are substantial).

Once you have completed the three years and passed all the exams, you are a qualified accountant. The two qualifications provide slightly different approaches to learning. If you’re a crammer of revision like I am then maybe ACA may suit you better. If you feel more comfortable with the study spaced out a little more, then ACCA may be the qualification for you. Research is always wise (both relevant websites are filled with useful information) however you don’t have to decide until your contract starts.  So the benefits of each syllabus would be a very good question for you to ask throughout the interview process. 

The majority of PwC employees have gained or are studying towards one of these qualifications, so there is an endless supply of support and advice around.  And there’s also our buddy system, where a first year associate is taken under the wing of a second or third year employee, so you’ve always someone to rely on for assistance when the need for help arises.

Once qualified, the world is potentially your oyster: You might choose to go and work for a business in industry, and could do so anywhere in the world with your qualification, or you might choose to use the PwC Global Network and go on a secondment, working with another member firm. This gives you the opportunity to experience a different place and culture for a few months or two years and upwards but continue employment with PwC. The company's global network of firms has offices in 776 cities throughout the world. CI staff have taken the opportunity to work abroad in places such Melbourne, Toronto and Boston. This for me is one of the most exciting parts of working at firm like PwC, where transferring to a different part of the world is at its easiest.

Life of course is not all about work and this is the part that has impressed me most about PwC. At a time where many of employers are cutting back on operational expenditure including social staff activities, PwC continue to fund many varied social events throughout the year as well as providing financial backing to our sports teams in business leagues. This builds a real sense of togetherness and great vibe in the work place as we spend a lot of time together outside of the office.

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. If you are interested and are finishing your A Levels or a degree this academic year, get your application in now.