Jersey assurance associate profile - July 2011

In good company

Dominic Clark-Abdullah, trainee accountant with PwC, is delighted that his employer has satisfied all the expectations that he had when starting on his career

When you are leaving school or university the next step is often a tricky one, finding the right job for you. The criteria for “what’s right for you”, is a combination of numerous factors, such as the job not being mundane and interesting enough to challenge you every day.  

My criteria were complex, but I’m happy to say my employer, PwC has met them all.

I started working for PwC (CI) on an industry placement year last September. When reflecting back on joining PwC, I believe it’s the best career decision I have made to date. Moving from a school or university environment into the serious working world can be daunting. PwC’s welcoming and friendly working environment was a fantastic discovery!  

No matter your position in the company, every staff member is approachable; to the extent that they actively look to coach you and help you progress and I see that at all levels of the firm.

I’d approached my move to Jersey and first day at PwC with much trepidation. I had never been to Jersey apart from for my interview, and I had no family or friends on the Island to help me settle in. 

But PwC made sure they went the extra mile to help all the new starters settle and had provided us all with each other’s contact details. Not only did we arrange to see one another even before our first day, we met regularly to socialise, from having breakfast at the Wayside café; to evening outings at places such as Domingoes. (This by the way is an experience that is a tremendous “ice breaker,” as the restaurant owner gets everyone involved to the point of uncontrollable laughter). It really made the difference for me that PwC initiated this social interaction and this helped me settling in as quickly as I did.

If you were unaware PwC are well known for hiring technically shrewd individuals, but they also have particularly honed negotiating skills. I mention this is because I would have found organising living arrangements extremely difficult, but for the help of my "buddy" (who is usually a second- or third-year assigned to you to provide guidance) who helped organise me finding accommodation, and I'm living in a truly exquisite house.    

Joining PwC as a first-year associate, especially if you are new to the Island is actually a remarkably similar experience to university, in that all the new starters are in same boat in making new relationships.  When you first join you attend an induction programme which as well as giving you some basic technical knowledge helps you build and sustain relationships with your Jersey and Guernsey first-year peers. 

It's light hearted and enjoyable, but you learn key fundamentals about different clients you deal with and also gain exposure to PwC’s methodology, which will provide you with valuable knowledge before engaging on your first client job. You even take part in learning how to interview effectively and sensibly gather significant information.

When I first joined PwC the hardest decision I encountered was selecting which accounting qualification to choose. I was given the option of the ICAEW (ACA) or the ACCA. They are very similar in structure, with a number of modules making up the qualification. I chose the ACCA qualification because I felt it best suited my study style and PwC were happy with my decision and my studies from the start. It’s now been a whole year and I have my initial exams under my belt. On reflection the study aspect of the career is challenging, but I feel that I got the work, life, study balance right and hope that this is reflected when I get my results this summer.

In my first year I’ve experienced working with a range of clients from industries like private equity, insurance brokers, commercial client, banks and even the local government to name a few. It is fascinating what you learn about how a company operates to be as efficient as possible. I also enjoy being able to go on away jobs. As I am writing this now I am in Ireland, dealing with a client in the offshore funds market.

PwC have a strong emphasis on a work/life balance.  Expectations are high for your work performance, but they also support staff with study buddies, and a programme of social events and sports teams. I myself, play football twice a week for the company and you can choose from a wide range of activities from golf, netball, rugby, cricket and so on. As well as being good fun, this means you continue to see your peer group outside of work but you also meet managers and get to build a rapport with them. If you’re leaving school, university or even at university and have a placement option - the latter being my path to PwC - you should give PwC some serious thought. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the company and I will be straight back after my final year at Loughborough University. 

So if you’re interested in a career in accountancy I cannot recommend a better company to work for.

PwC are a global company and are networked in such a way that you can have secondments in over 154 countries without the need for applying with a new company.