A day in the life of Erin

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At PwC, every day is different. Meet some associates and senior associates as they share a typical day in the life of their role at the firm.

Meet Erin

Experienced Associate, Assurance - Retail and Consumer Products

Marquette University

What I do

I am an experienced associate working in the retail and consumer products group in PwC’s Chicago office. I have gained experience through an internal audit internship with a private company before joining PwC as a full-time associate in the fall of 2013 after graduation. My line of service encompasses the activities which one would learn about in an auditing class at school. I audit the financial information presented by public companies so that ultimately we may issue an opinion on the financial statements that are utilized by investors. The purpose of my line of service is to give reasonable assurance that the information presented to the public may be relied upon, and that they are free of material misstatement.

Words of advice

An additional point that I would like to emphasize about working at PwC is that there are many other ways to get involved with the firm in addition to the usual work day. For instance, my second major in school was Human Resources, so I enjoy getting involved with recruiting events whenever possible. By volunteering to be an office host for one of the many in-office interviews, I have the chance to interact with potential PwC employees and explore one of my own personal interests. By utilizing flexibility in the workplace, I am able to partake in these half-day events by planning ahead, communicating with my team, and potentially staying at work later on other days of the week so that my duties are completed timely. Getting involved in other areas that interest you within PwC strengthens the connection between you and the firm, and overall makes me a happier employee.

A typical day

7:15am – Take public transit, or personal car, to work
Generally speaking, I am out at client sites Monday through Friday of every week, with very limited exceptions (as opposed to being in the Chicago office). As my clients are located in the suburbs, commuting is a big aspect of my role. I try to take the various public transit options offered as often as possible from Chicago, as I am not a morning person and can’t stand the terrible traffic! Currently, I take a public city bus to the Metra train station. From there, I ride the train to my client’s location. Once I arrive, I am only a quick five minute walk to my client’s building.

8:30-9:00am – Start my day
My arrival to work can vary within 30 minutes, due to traffic and the train schedule. Everyone has a different time that they get into work, and mine tends to be on the later side. To compensate for this, I tend to stay a bit later at the end of the work day, whereas some other associates who arrive earlier may leave closer to 5:00pm. As soon as I get into the office, I start up my computer and begin to sift through my email.

9:30am – Meet with my senior
As soon as I have gone through my inbox, I usually check in with my senior in order to gain perspective on what needs to be accomplished during the week. I bring up any important information that I noted when reading through new emails, and jot down notes as appropriate. My senior will let me know which tasks are of highest priority to complete, the budget for these tasks, and who the main client contact is for these tasks. One skill that I learned very quickly on the job is identifying the management style of each specific senior that I work with. For instance, I have one senior who prefers to answer whatever questions I have right away, stopping his work for a few minutes in order to quickly shoot out responses so that I can continue to work independently. If I have another question, he is ok with answering on the spot. On the other hand, I have worked with a different senior who preferred to set up a specific time to go through my questions at once at a later time. This required some thinking ahead and documentation of my questions in preparation for the meeting. Figuring out how you and your senior can work together most effectively is an important aspect of this job, and is definitely one of the most valuable skills that I now possess since first starting at PwC.

10:30am– Prioritizing tasks and requesting information
After meeting with my senior and determining what tasks are assigned to me for the week, I will begin tackling my “to-do” list. This usually requires reading through the prior year’s documentation to get an idea of the tests I will be performing, compiling a list of what information I need from clients, checking what information we have already received from clients, and finally emailing the clients with my requests. Typically I include examples of the documents that I am requesting from prior years to minimize any confusion the client may have. We have just implemented a new application that makes requesting/receiving client information much easier and tracks the data on one dashboard. Recently, I have been working with the clients to guide them through the process of using this new tool, and answering their questions as they come up.

12:00pm – Lunch
The whole team breaks for lunch together, if possible. Often, this a great time to get out of the office during the day, and whenever possible, my team and I prefer to walk to nearby lunch locations. Additionally, this is the time when I can perform any brief errands that I need to accomplish during the 9am-5pm business hours (post office, picking up a prescription, going to the bank)..

1:00pm – Perform testing
Once I receive requested information back from the clients, I review the documents and begin to document my testing within the team database. I am constantly communicating with the client, both in person and via email, in order to gain a better understanding of what they have provided me with, as well as asking one-off questions that come up during my testing. Often I will need to hold short coaching meetings with my senior before starting the testing process, if I have not performed the specific procedures previously, or if I am dealing with more complex business processes.

4:30pm – Call with Service Delivery Center
As an associate, I often am the liaison between the engagement team and our service delivery center (SDC), who perform various tasks for us. I set up specific requests within our PwC site, instructing the SDC what procedures to follow, the budget, what dates to check in and complete the requests, and I upload supporting documents into the site for them to access. Usually, we will arrange calls with the SDC team so that we are all on the same page, that they understand the written instructions we sent, and that the timeline is reasonable.

5:30pm – Wrap-up day
Before I head out of the office for the day, I usually briefly discuss my updated status with my senior. Based on our discussion, some items we discussed at the beginning of the day may need to be re-prioritized as we receive new information from the client. I charge my time on a daily basis to record the time I spent working on various tasks throughout the day. Lastly, I send out follow-up emails to clients whose requests have been outstanding for a week to check up on their status.

6:00-6:30pm – Leave for home

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