Encouragement, support and opportunities are three words I would use to describe my journey with PwC Cayman. From the very beginning of my journey with PwC in 2007 to now, I’ve received more encouragement, support and opportunities than I could ever ask for or imagine.
The beginning of my journey with PwC started in 2007 when I graduated Triple C School, decided to study accounting at the University of Tampa and worked to obtain a scholarship from a local accounting firm. Although I interviewed with a few other firms, PwC stood out to me as a firm that valued their people as employees and individuals. Not only did they offer generous scholarships for university, the firm also offered scholarship students opportunities to gain experience in the summer and a guaranteed job for three years upon graduating university. Thus, I saw no better place for me to start my journey in accounting and business than PwC.
Throughout my time as a scholarship student, partners to administrative staff encouraged me in my studies and accounting career. During the summers, I glimpsed the training and the opportunities PwC gave their students and employees to further their knowledge and experience in the auditing and business world. PwC supported me not only in earning my bachelor’s in accounting, but also as I pursued my master’s in business administration because they saw the importance of their students having well-rounded business skills to use while serving the firm’s client base.
Furthermore, many individuals at the firm mentored me in my journey towards obtaining my certified public accountant license (CPA) by assisting me in planning what study course to take, when to take the exams, and what exams to take together. Thus, when I returned from university in 2013 and took my CPA exams in the first year of my employment, I passed all on the first time!
I believe without a doubt this would not have been possible if I had not had the financial, mental and emotional support from PwC employees. With this new qualification, so many opportunities have presented themselves to me at PwC and beyond. I have been given more of a senior role on higher profile clients and have also been given opportunities to assist in the accounting function at my local church.
Would I encourage other Caymanians who are interested in accounting to apply to PwC? Yes, without a doubt. PwC will not only provide them support financially, but will go above and beyond by providing them mentors, career planning, experience both in Cayman and abroad, and community among other employees. What more could an aspiring accountant ask for?
Whether someone is Caymanian or even someone abroad, PwC Cayman is one of the best firms to receive encouragement, support and opportunities in the work place and beyond.
I first came to PwC through the scholarship programme. PwC was actually the only Big Four firm to which I applied. I’d done some research and was impressed with PwC’s emphasis on coaching and helping its people grow and develop. That sold it for me. PwC was an easy choice.
I came from two small schools – Cayman Brac High School and Elon University. At both of these places, I was given tremendous support throughout my journey. I wanted a work environment that would mirror that support, and that’s exactly what I’ve received at PwC. PwC has been with me every step of the way, and I was able to gain invaluable work experience during my time as a scholarship student that provided me with a foundation that proved very helpful when I started full time.
During my work experience, I was also assigned a buddy to help guide me through the transition from college student to accountant. I found that extremely helpful since I had someone I could go to no matter the circumstance, and it was one of the things I loved most about my experience.
As a scholarship student, one of the biggest ways PwC helped me was with my professional exams. Having gone to college in the US, I chose to take the CPA exam the summer after I graduated. PwC was with me throughout the process – from planning my schedule, checking up on me during my prep classes, and even sending me notes of encouragement in the days before I sat. I could not imagine achieving my qualification without PwC, and that further solidified my decision to become a part of the firm I honestly believe is the best for me. Being professionally qualified has definitely opened many doors for me and has allowed me to fully immerse myself in the work I do, namely within the insurance industry.
I would strongly encourage any young Caymanian interested in accounting to apply to PwC. My experience as a scholarship student and now as a new employee has been amazing. PwC isn’t only your place of work; the firm also becomes your second family. The amount of support and guidance I’ve received over the past three years has been invaluable in helping me succeed as I begin my career in public accounting.
Erik is a manager in the asset management group in the Cayman Islands firm of PwC. He completed his articling with PwC in Vancouver, Canada, in 2012 and came to the Cayman Islands through a global mobility assignment. While at the Cayman Islands firm, he has worked in the audit group and fund referred reporting engagement group.
Q: How was the transition from PwC Canada to PwC Cayman Islands?
After settling on the island and starting work, I began working with the funds group. I had no previous experience with funds; but through the office’s training programme and some hard work, I familiarised myself and felt comfortable much faster than I thought I would. In the year I’ve been here, I can easily say my experience while being here was exactly what I was looking for from an international move.
Within the office and in Grand Cayman, there is an extensive community of people from a variety of backgrounds. Although everyone comes from a variety of places, this community shares the desire to experience something new. Because of that, meeting people and building strong friendships is very easy. In our first year here, we’ve developed friendships that will last a lifetime.
Q: How different is your experience between the audit group and fund referred reporting engagement group?
Working in the audit group, you have direct exposure with the client and administrator; whereas in the fund referred reporting group, we discuss the audit results with the performing PwC audit firm. This makes the dynamics very different between the two. In the fund referred reporting group, we review the performing firms’ audit results and the financial statements rather than directly performing the audit procedures.
I began my career at PwC Romania. I joined PwC in 2008 upon graduation from the Banking & Stock Exchange department at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. I worked within the financial services group for four years in the audit practice while studying for the ACCA qualification.
Those four years shaped me as a professional. I was fortunate to work with a group of people who were not only highly skilled and with a great deal of experience to share, but also amazing personalities who put the PwC values in practice every day. Many of my co-workers came to Romania from other PwC offices on secondments, and their experience and encouragement led me to seek out my own international opportunity. PwC Cayman seemed like the perfect choice for me, located in a world-renowned financial centre in a natural Caribbean haven.
Though it took some time to get used to the new office, being from PwC made it so much easier for me to fit in because the audit practice is very much consistent across different regions. Working with people coming from different countries was not new to me either. I was also happy to find here the same environment of dedicated and skilled – but also friendly and supportive – people as I was used to, which, in my opinion, makes PwC such a great place to work.
I was not much of a traveller before, so moving to the Cayman Islands was a challenge for me. I expected it to take time for me to adjust to a new place, new people and a new office. It turned out that getting used to this small island is incredibly easy. Everything you need is within 10–15 minutes’ drive. People are very sociable. A huge group of expats from all over the world lives here with or without their families (including Romanians), and everyone is used to the yearly cycle of people coming or leaving the island. In 2012, a Forbes magazine survey rated the Cayman Islands the friendliest country in the world.
While enjoying a good work-life balance and great weather most of the time, the move to the Caymans meant a whole new life of outdoor activities for me, such as scuba diving, swimming, exercising or just spending time out with friends on the beach.
I always wanted to learn to salsa dance and pursued this passion shortly after moving to Cayman by starting lessons, and I’m proud of my progress after one year. Another passion of mine is riding motorcycles, and I bought my first bike here on the island. I have to say, the view is amazing; and riding the motorcycle around the island is quite an experience!
My secondment with PwC Cayman has been a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. I’d recommend that everyone consider challenging themselves with an international secondment in Cayman or elsewhere.
While we’re not actually going through client records sipping on a piña colada on the beach (as I was asked by an overseas client), every weekend is like a vacation!