I began my three-year training contract as an accountant in September 2012 with PwC CI based in Jersey. Interestingly, I studied a BSc in Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Exeter so my knowledge about the accounting industry was pretty limited.
How did I come to work for PwC?
I took advantage of their open days and ‘drinks evenings’ to understand more about PwC, the different qualifications and general life in the work environment. Following further research and discussion with current employees, I decided PwC’s training programme was my next step.
Whether you’re an A Level school leaver, a current undergraduate or graduate, PwC offer training programmes for world-recognised professional accountancy qualifications. Might sound boring? Well actually being an accountant is a great opportunity to kick start your career and open the door to a diverse range of future career options. And in 2012, PwC was voted the UK’s Top Graduate Employer in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2012 survey for the 8th year running. If you like the sound of this, then maybe you should read on, securing a training contact with PwC could be just what you need.
PwC offer two equally recognised training routes, the ACA and ACCA. The main difference between the qualifications is the structure of the learning, which you can choose to suit your needs. I decided to embark on the ACCA qualification, which has a similar structure to A-Levels and also provides an opportunity of gaining a degree at the end. The other option, ACA, follows a more modular style whereby the exams are more frontloaded when you begin your training contract. The choice is yours.
And it’s worth bearing in mind that if University isn’t for you, it needn’t stop you. PwC also offers a HEADstart programme which has been very successful since its introduction. The programme enables you to study on Island for exactly the same professional qualifications as a graduate would, starting straight from your A-levels, whilst earning a good salary.
In September 2012 PwC Channel Islands took on an impressive 33 new recruits into their training programme across the assurance, advisory and tax teams. The new intake included lots of home-grown talent including five school leavers who excelled at A-Levels and also local graduates returning to the Island. Amongst the new intake there are also graduates from UK and Europe, making PwC Channel Islands a pretty diverse bunch both in terms of culture and experience.
The great thing about starting a new job as part of a large group is that you’re not the only one walking around the office trying to find your feet. You have the opportunity to feed off each other, support one another and build friendships very quickly. PwC also provide substantial support for each intake to make sure we can learn the basics quickly and feel comfortable with getting into the swing of the work, balancing our studies with it and getting to know everyone in the office.
I work in the assurance team, the largest of our three key areas of business. The great thing about this part of the business is the many opportunities you get to meet and work with employees at all levels, whether they are qualified accountants, second year trainees or even the partners themselves. You get the chance to be part of a different audit team every few weeks and be part of the friendly, social and hardworking environment. Since beginning at PwC, teamwork has been and will continue to be the key to success.
PwC recognise the efforts of the employees and are very generous with how they reward our hard work. Social events are very frequent and lively and there is something for everyone to get involved in. From month-end drinks to quiz nights and Christmas and summer balls, PwC organise a variety of events throughout the year.
PwC also give us lots of opportunities to stretch our legs at sporting events and you would be surprised at the number of highly skilled sportsmen and women you find in the office environment. PwC have teams playing football, netball, rugby, touch rugby, cricket, golf and much, much more. If we don’t currently offer a sport you enjoy, then all you have to do is organise it.
As one of the big four accountancy firms, PwC has a huge variety of high-profile and world-renowned clients involved in private equity, banking, retail and property funds to name a few. Despite only starting PwC in September, I have been able to gain experience with a wide range of clients where by the work performed is very varied and thus everyday brings new challenges.
During your training contract, work periods are broken up by blocks of time at college being tutored, and revision courses with the external training provider BPP before the exams themselves. It is important to factor in the large amount of revision you’ll also need to do in between whilst you are working, but the opportunities and financial rewards the professional qualifications bring once you pass are great. And PwC support you right the way through the training process and provide plenty of occasions to enjoy yourself as well.
So what happens when you’re qualified? Well it’s a long way off for me just now, but there are many benefits that come with working for a large global organisation like PwC. Secondment and transfer opportunities are often available and popular amongst employees. This provides the chance to gain experience working and living anywhere in the world where PwC has a member firm, taking advantage of our global network. For example, recently employees have taken up opportunities overseas in London, New York, Boston, Singapore and Australia, the world really is your oyster.
So what should you do if you want a place in the 2013 intake? My answer is start applying now. Some vacancies are still available for this coming September however they are filling up quickly. If you want to really get a better sense of what being an accountant entails? Apply for some work experience with us.
If 2013 is too early for you to begin, you could apply for 2014 positions, secure a job for the future and if you want then take a gap year with the confidence you’re coming back to a secure income and training contract. This could be you.
I hope I have given you a taste of life as a trainee accountant and the benefits of applying for a training contract with PwC. If you’re interested, the best advice I can give to you is to apply now to avoid disappointment.