Whilst moving my way upwards through the Grammar School and then onto Leeds University to read Physics, I was under the belief that a choice of career path would become apparent. By the time I reached my third year at Leeds the moment of realisation I was looking for, had not happened. It was then I decided it was time to actively search the right path and make that all important decision of what to do next. Desperate to move away from Guernsey at the age of eighteen, it took just two years for me to do a u-turn and decide that the opportunity to work and train in the Guernsey finance industry was too good to pass up. As the Sunday Times’ Top Ten Graduate Employer for the last nine years running, PwC was the first job application I made. Two years since starting I am now exam qualified and wouldn’t change any of the decisions I have made.
When you join the firm as a trainee, you enter a 3 year training contract to work and study towards either ACA or ACCA, both of which are recognised globally. The routes offered will present their own challenges and require hard work to succeed, however every qualified accountant will tell you every step was worth it. Both routes of study have all training and revision courses delivered on-island which saves days of travel and commuting, allowing students to benefit from Guernsey’s minimal commutes and relaxed environment compared to what could be experienced working and studying in the heart of London. Also, the level of study and coaching support provided by PwC makes passing the exams so much more achievable. As well as on the job coaching and informal chats, they provide paid study leave and college tuition which is run by experienced and professional tutors.
As auditors and business advisers in the Channel Islands we work for a wide variety of clients, predominantly within financial services. My client focus has been on private equity funds and captive insurers, with the client base ranging from small partnerships up to FTSE listed Companies. I’m training in audit which involves a lot of time out at client offices, getting to understand and check that their systems, controls and documentation processes are adequate and effective, so we can give our opinion that their financial accounts are a true and fair reflection of what has been happening in the business. As I move on from one client’s audit to the next, I get to work with different colleagues and clients regularly, constantly challenging and motivating me, and broadening my understanding of the business world.
Qualifying as an accountant will open up the world to you. PwC has member firms in 153 countries around the world with more than 160,000 employees and upon qualification we are encouraged to make use of this network to spend some time overseas. Therefore it’s no surprise that since joining I’ve watched colleagues go to places like Sydney, Boston, London and New York for short or long term secondments.
PwC has a very strong focus on personal development, and you’ll be expected to continually take on new responsibilities. From the outset you’ll take on responsibility for specific areas on each client and move steadily as your training progresses, towards leading the audit process and being responsible for coaching and mentoring those working where you were only a few years earlier.
The focus on personal development does not only apply to work and study. As a keen sportsman, PwC have supported me constantly a number of different ways. Not only are there opportunities to compete in our Football, Hockey or Cricket teams but PwC have helped me personally in sponsoring my rowing crew for three years running, we compete both locally and further afield and this year have a chance of going to the World Offshore Championships . They also make time for golf commitments in the summer. PwC’s social activities don’t just revolve around sport though, with events ranging from day trips to Herm and Sark, to volunteering to help primary school children practice their reading skills, along with the annual ball. All socials are decided by a committee, and as it’s made up from members of staff at every level, it’s something you can get involved in as soon as you join if you want to.
The biggest selling point of working for PwC is the people. With a peer group of about ten people around you who all started their contract the same day, along with the years above and below, there’s always someone to talk to, go out with or play sport with, which builds strong friendships, that makes working at PwC that much more enjoyable and rewarding.
If you like the sound of getting a professional qualification whilst working and training with peers who are as talented and driven as you are, check out the website online or contact our HR team to find out more. And applying as early as possible is recommended as this year’s intake is filling up quickly with some applicants already gunning for 2014 vacancies