Since my last blog about my placement as an audit associate at PwC, I’ve sat 2 more ACA exams and carried out lots of audits as January- March was busy season! The exams I sat were Assurance & Audit, and Financial Accounting and Reporting which were challenging but not too dissimilar from modules I did in my first two years at Uni and so that definitely gave me an advantage. The exams went okay and I will be finding out my results later this week so I have my fingers crossed!
I’ve audited a wide range of companies- a major bank, a chemicals manufacturer, a TV production company and a catering company. I’ve enjoyed getting to know loads of different people, both people from other offices at PwC and also the client staff. Everyday has been different – my work has involved testing several different financial statement line items such as cash, fixed assets, accounts receivable, intercompany accounts, equity and payroll. I’ve been given more and more responsibility as the year has progressed and so learnt so much about auditing itself, and the companies I’ve been working at. My commercial awareness has improved a lot as a result of doing this placement year.
Despite working really hard, the social events at PwC haven’t stopped. I recently went to an ‘End of Busy Season Drinks’ event in Manchester which was fun, and also went to the Liverpool Chartered Accountant Student’s Association (LCASA) Ball in March. At that event I met people from lots of different accounting firms in Liverpool, allowing me to build up my external network.
I enjoyed the Easter bank holidays and also took a few additional holiday days off because as an associate at PwC you aren’t allowed to take time off during busy season so this was my first chance to! I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, going shopping, to the cinema and for meals which was really enjoyable.
After my time off I returned to work more relaxed and ready to work hard again for the remaining four months of my placement year. In my experience, the placement year goes really fast – it only feels like a few months ago that I was joining the firm!
From discussions with my People Manager it seems likely I will be offered to return to PwC once I have graduated which I would definitely accept. As the application process for Accounting firms is quite time-consuming, I feel that having a job secured for September 2017 would allow me to concentrate fully on my studies during final year.
I would encourage anybody still interested in beginning a placement in September to continue applying for any opportunities still available. The final place at my PwC Office (Liverpool) was filled just two weeks before we joined in September and so some firms will definitely still be recruiting for September 2016 places. I’m sure the careers service at Uni is a great source of advice for finding out what applications are still open and for getting tips about each stage of the application process.
Choosing to do a placement year has allowed me to find out useful information about third year module choices. By speaking to my friends that chose to go straight into final year, as opposed to doing a placement, I have been able to find out about their experiences of the modules available – how enjoyable/challenging they have been. I have decided I am going to select the Financial Derivatives module as this will give me an exemption from the Financial Management ACA exam- which will definitely be helpful! I am yet to decide on my other options but I will look in to this a little more in the coming months.
I’m looking forward to the last few months of my placement – my plans include:
- Auditing four or five more companies
- Planning a social event for the Liverpool and Manchester Offices
- Taking part in the ‘One Firm One Day’ event where we all take the day off work to do volunteering (this years will probably be a food bank)
- Attending the Sports Day in the summer