Grad Job Insights: Q&A with an Audit Associate at PwC

PwC has been one of the top 20 graduate schemes for nearly 18 years in a row now. They are ranked the second-largest professional services network in the world and are also renown for being one of the “big four” of accountancy firms – with the other 3 being: Deloitte, KMPG and EY.

But don’t let this put you off!

They hire graduates across 11 different departments which gives you a good chance of securing a position and doing something you are interested in.

First thing is first, always research the company!

PwC stands for PricewaterhouseCoopers, and they are a multinational professional services network of firms, operating as partnerships under the PwC brand. Their mission statement focuses on building trust in society and solving important problems; and it is this focus that informs the services they provide.

Fun fact about them is that they have a presence over 771 cities spread across 158 countries and currently employ over 180,000 people.

PwC receives over 500,000 graduate applications so it is important to be top of your game, but this blog will help you get an insight into the type of work you’ll be doing and what things can help you.

We spoke to Bidemi who is in his second year at PwC to ask him for his insights and top tips.

Q&A with Bidemi from PwC

Q: What does your job involve?

Firstly, I am an External Audit Associate at PwC. For people who are unfamiliar with the profession, we as auditors are appointed to audit a company’s financial statements and provide an opinion on them.

The main bulk of the engagement involves auditing the various elements of the financial statement such as revenue, cost of sales, fixed assets and so on. The duration audit depends on the complexity of the audit or volume of entities to audit; this might take weeks or months to complete.

Q: What does your typical day involve?

A typical day in the current climate of working from home starts with a debrief with my team to discuss our progress, issues and areas of focus for the day.

Depending on the stage of the audit, we might be performing control tests or diving into some of those financial statement areas I mentioned previously.

This will usually involve a lot of client meetings to better understand the business processes and to request supporting documentation.

Depending on the complexity of the work, the day might also involve finalising and documenting a testing approach which will be used to guide our work. As an AS2 (Associate Level 2), I will also be coaching some junior team members. And of course, I’m always on Excel, Google Sheets and audit tools!

Q: What is it like working for PwC?

There are many things that make up my experience at PwC and why I like working for the firm. The structured ICAEW training program provided support throughout, and on-the job training even features coaching from senior peers.

I am also allowed to be flexible, so I get to manage my own work hours and responsibilities. PwC has access to great audit tools and technologies which makes the work more seamless and efficient.

On a more personal note, the people I have met have been wondering and I have made some good friends through social events and societies.

My experience so far has been a delight, and when things get stressful or difficult (e.g. exam prep, personal issues), I receive support from my career coach, my peer group, my group leader and from many others.

Q: We know you did a placement year as a Commercial Sales Assistant, which is quite different to your role as an Audit Associate at PwC. Do you think your placement helped you get this job?

My placement at VMware was more of a business operations role with a side of sales support.

During my time at the company, the Commercial team had 10 account managers across the UK who were responsible for growing the pipeline and manging relationships.

I was hired to track weekly sales performance against quotas, analyse marketing data to help grow the business pipeline, support the territory managers with their reporting needs and providing additional sales support where needed.

On paper, the placement and my current role in audit are nothing alike – completely different industry and job responsibilities. However, the placement was an invaluable source for building my soft skills and business acumen, learning professional behaviours and improving my overall confidence.

I believe that all of these showed up during my assessment centre and interviews and helped me project myself better to potential employers.

Q: How much support did you get from Henley Careers?

A lot!!!

The career fairs and Monday panels from speakers across various industries were highly informative. Through these sessions, I was able to have one-to-ones with employers about their job roles, company culture as well as the opportunities available.

This helped me focus my job search and plan my job applications better. Other sessions on personal branding, building confidence, assessment centres, CV clinics and so on were also very helpful.

I also had direct access to the Career’s team at every stages of my application process, and whenever I progressed to the assessment centre stage on any application, I would also book a session to make sure I am well prepped for the big day.

I vividly remember getting invited for the PwC assessment centre and booking a session with Sarah Rourke to share my excitement and worries.

We brought all we knew to the table and discussed ways to prep for the big day.

The work Henley Careers does is so relevant to the job market, it is a huge asset to the business school.

What can you do next?

If you want to find out more about PwC and their graduate opportunities, or what they can offer, have a look at their careers section here.

And don’t forget we’re here to support you in your journey, so if you’d like your CV checked, to find out more about different jobs, to practice for an interview or assessment centre, or anything else related to your career, book an appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

We have also interviewed other graduates to get their experience in different graduate job roles and industries, including Lily from Goldman Sachs and Noa from Atos so have a look there for more advice and insights!