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PwC Graduate Scheme Review

  • Work/Life Balance

  • Practical Skills Learnt

  • Live Up To Expectations

What is a typical work day like for you?

I don't think there really is a "typical" day as such.

What are the things that interest you about your job? 

Being in Assurance, I get to work with a lot of different people as teams change from one audit engagement to the next. Additionally, I'm able to see and deal with a wide range of aspects within the company which I'm auditing; from finance, to marketing, to sales. The other positive of working for PwC is that a lot of our clients are those which you will have heard of, or read about in the newspaper on a daily basis. 

What sort of hours are you working at the moment?

9.30am - 7pm

Are there times of the year that are busier/quieter for you?

The year can simply be split into 4 parts:

Jan - March - end of year accounts
April - July - statutory accounts
August - October - planning stages
September - December - interim audit

The busiest time of the year is Jan - March which is aptly named "busy season"; this differs from person-to-person depending on clients. Some clients you can be working 9 - 6; others can end up with takeaways with your team...it depends on the complexity of the job!

What skills do you need to do your job? 

Obviously you'd be expected to have a basic ability with numbers, but there are far more important skills needed to be successful in this job. Communication and teamwork skills are key as you're dealing with people all day everyday, and working with different teams from week to week. Confidence in dealing with people and asking difficult questions is also vital as right from the beginning you're dealing with clients (who can at times be difficult) on a daily basis. 

How many people in your team?

Being in Assurance, this differs depending on the client. So far I've been out on a client site with just one other person...but at another client, I was with six colleagues. The positive side of this is that it means you get to work with - and learn from - different people throughout the year.

Are you involved in any work social activities?

I play 5-a-side football with work colleagues, and have joined a mentoring programme my office organises. I've also been on a football tour to Liverpool to play a different PwC office which had a fantastic social side to it. There are plenty of options to get involved in.

Do you go out much with work colleagues?

Quite a lot, especially when at college - it's probably more difficult when working in Assurance compared to other areas of the business as you are not likely to be in the office for prolonged periods of time.

What is it like commuting everyday?

Being in Assurance, I'm out on the client's site a lot which means my commute varies which keeps it interesting - a lot of the clients will be drivable which keeps me away from the rush-hour commute.

What is the culture of the organisation? 

The culture is all about personal development, furthering oneself and offering the client a value-added experience. It's a fantastic learning environment as you really are thrown in the deep-end. It might make you wish you were making coffees and photocopying at some points! 

How much formal training did you receive?

Including induction, college, exams and internal office training - 10 of my first 14 weeks were spent training. It might seem a lot but it's a great way to socialise with your intake and is necessary to get to grips with the terms, systems and all that the working week entails. Even once you are unleashed onto client sites, there is always someone who has been in your position before who is there to help which adds an element of informal training into the mix.

Where are most of the other graduates from?

In the UK there are around 1500 grads in 35 offices - so there seems to be people from all different backgrounds and academic fields.

What was the interview process like?

The interview process was rigorous but fair. 

Online questions
Online tests (numerical and logical)
Telephone interview (HR)
Assessment Centre (Numerical & Logical tests, Group Exercise, Partner Interview)

Is it easy to move into other departments?

I think if you plan to stay at the firm for the long haul then this is actively encouraged as it improves both your technical skill-set and firm-wide network which is beneficial for both the individual and the firm. I have seen people change from Assurance to Tax during their 3 year training period so it is possible if your initial choice doesn't quite fit as you'd hoped.

Have you taken any professional exams?

I am currently studying for the ACA to become a chartered accountant. 

How have you found the exams? 

The exams are challenging, mainly due to the sheer volume of information in the time-frame given; however, if you're willing to work hard then they're passable.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time? 

Hopefully utilising the skills learned during my time as an accountant to be FD of a small company or starting my own business. 

What are the office perks/ facilities like? 

This really depends on the office you're based in, the London offices are fantastic and modern, but the more regional offices have more of a small-firm feel to them. Of course, if you're out on client sites there are no guarantees! 

What/where did you study at undergraduate level? 

Economics & Geography at The University of Birmingham 

What did you get? 

2.1 BSc (Hons) 

What skill do you wish you had or could take a course in that would make you better at your job?

Excel! But I think that's pretty much the same in most jobs nowadays...the ability to create a good pivot table never goes amiss.

How does what you do differ to the general perception of your job? 

I think accountants get a bad rap; the stereotype of sitting in a dark room tapping away on a calculator isn't true - we use excel nowadays! In reality though, I like to think that being in assurance is a people business more than a numbers business, it's likely that on different clients you'd work with different people from your office and therefore that social flexibility is just as important - if not more important - than your technical capabilities. Additionally, it's all about giving the client a good experience working with you, so again, all about the soft skills rather than the technical side. 

How many weeks holiday do you get a year? 

Five weeks (25 days) plus bank holidays etc

Is it easy to book time off?

Generally, yes; however, you have to be flexible when you've been booked on to a client at year-end as this is the busiest time of the year. If there is someone to replace you on the job then it shouldn't be a problem, if there isn't then you may have to look at another time to take off.  






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