What do you actually do on a day-to-day basis?
Audit is testing company accounts to try and make sure their are no lies or fraud in the numbers that are released to the public/media/investors. I work in London audit, which is split up into different industry groups (of which mine is Energy, Infrastructure and Utilities/EIU). I like working in energy audit partly because the travel is very interesting - we have lots of oil & gas/mining clients which produce resources that come up in very random places, like W Africa, S America, central Asia (we had a team stranded in Uzbekistan when the ash cloud came along). If you're looking to train as a chartered accountant (ACA) then you can do that in audit, tax or corporate finance (CF).
What are the main positives and negatives to your job?
Really interesting travel, a good chance to see lots of companies and workplaces from the inside and meet lots of new people. The management skills training is excellent and there are lots of free lunches! The ACA is a good route - typical pay upon qualification after 3 years is about 40k and it's a good introduction to accounting/business management/finance with lots of career options. Also lots of cushy time at college in the summer (paid leave from the office).
What qualifications and skills are needed to be great at this job?
Upper Second class degree (2.1) or higher in any subject. You will need to pass basic numeracy and literacy tests but you don't have to have a maths degree - many of my colleagues studied History or French. Relevant work experience is a plus (office based/finance/internships)
Describe the perfect person for this job
Personable and good at building new relationships - the job is heavily client-facing; Able to work in a team; numeracy is an advantage, the ACA accountancy exams are probably on a par with AS level maths; willing to work into the evenings when a project demands this. If you're willing to travel then fun/interesting opportunities can arise, but you're rarely away from home for more than a few weeks at a time which is good if you're in a relationship.
In what ways has the reality of your job differed from your prior expectations?
I found that a lot was expected of me in the first year, although I had expected something of a honeymoon period with less responsibility! I think once you demonstrate your capabilities people tend to stretch you which is good for your development but not always good for your social life. During college time managers are generally quite understanding about not contacting you unless it is an emergency.
What advice would you give to candidates applying for a similar role at this company
On your application they'll be looking for: *checking you've met the academic requirements *relevant work experience (office based/finance/internships, if you have anything like that) *Time management skills (e.g. if you helped organise any extracirricular clubs or societies at Uni, or held down a part time job whilst doing your studies) *Organisation skills *No typos or spelling mistakes!!
The ACA is a good route - typical pay upon qualification after 3 years is about 40k and it's a good introduction to accounting/business management/finance with lots of career options
What hours do you actually work, on average? N/Ato N/A.
The main downside to audit is the busy season from Jan-April (most companies draw up their accounts to 31 December and then we come in to check their work). Typically 8.30am-7.30pm so your social life absolutely dies for a few months. However, if you were going to choose 3 months of the year to be cooped up at work then it'd probably be those - in the summer I am almost always out before 6pm and there is a general understanding that you can take a few cheeky half days on a Friday as you have done the hard work earlier in the year!
With the benefit of hindsight, would you choose to do this job again?