Graduate insight : Transition to PwC

(Photo from the Independent)

Now to a story about life after you are done with University. Aleksandr Bedereu graduated in 2015 from the University of Leeds. Being proactive he started at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) that same year. Currently he is an Audit Associate in his second year. His transition began with the graduate starter event for the northern graduates in Manchester. “We had around six weeks of training (including professional qualification college time) before starting real work. It started in week seven or eight, when I travelled to my first audit.”

PwC doesn’t shield its newest members either. His first client was a large FTSE 100 financial services company. The Business School must have prepared him well, because “I received a very positive feedback from one of the seniors, which stated that I was performing work of a person above my current grade due to a fast understanding of complicated financial transactions.” In general, PwC provide a lot of hands-on experience, whether that is a FTSE 100 company or a small, local business.

Aleksandr tells of one especially memorable experience with a client “Once I was auditing a fairly small client, who made engine parts for a well-known car brand. During my audit procedures, I found that the company was not accounting correctly for foreign exchange transactions, so I went to a financial controller trying to understand the issue. (I) actually explained to the financial controller (whom had 15 years in finance) how they should account for forex.” It has to be stated, that this was a rather minor aspect, and could therefore safely be ignored.

Over the last 10 years, the company has recruited over 300 Leeds graduates and constantly wants to be visible on campus. Besides the exams for your degree, the career of an auditor requires some kind of Qualification from an Accountant body. In the case of Aleks, he is studying towards ACA Qualification [Association of Chartered Accountants], consisting of 15 exams. He says that due to some of the modules being accredited by the ACA, you don’t have to take all of them. Due to his module choices, he was able to pass 5 exams immediately without testing. According to the Business School, the BSc Accounting and Finance gives a maximum of nine exemptions for the ACA exams. So for all up and coming Auditors and Accountants, if you want to make your own life a little easier, watch over your module choices!

Although PwC does a lot for its employees (it isn’t without reason that they are voted the Times Top employer for the 13th year running) they do expect a very high standard from every employee. “In my firm you can easily be dismissed if you fail any exam with less than 45%”. That shouldn’t put anyone off applying, even if some of the stereotypes of the finance industry seem to be true; “my first week at the client was not that interactive, as I had to go through board minutes and email correspondence with regulatory bodies, highlighting important issues”. He does add quickly that a couple of months later he was testing bill.

By Tim Knickmann

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