Audit in Deloitte careers blog
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Why you got involved/what interested you into joining SID?
As a first-year student emerging from semester one, I had little clue as to what I wanted to do with my future so the opportunity to apply for a spring program where I could experience a professional atmosphere without having to determine a set career path was excellent. Deloitte appealed to me, particularly, because of their well-organised career events as well as the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the professionals who came along to them. I applied to ‘Spring into Deloitte’, thinking my experience would entail some teamwork exercises and perhaps a tour of the office but I honestly did not expect to leave feeling as inspired and motivated as I did, after just two days.
What did the event entail, what did you get up to?
Over our short time at Deloitte, we were given five insightful presentations about the different service lines the company offers. The most useful part to these was the case study exercises we completed. It allowed us to apply and expand our knowledge about the particular topic we were researching, whether it was on tax advice, auditing, consulting or even risk analysis, and it helped us to enhance our teamwork skills as well as our communication and presenting techniques. The skills and knowledge that I have picked up are invaluable to any important interviews, which I may have in the future. The feedback we were given, by the employees at Deloitte, was essential to the improvements we saw in our skills.
In addition to the Deloitte-specific exercises, we were given the most fantastic workshop on professional behaviour. The quality and expertise of the individual that spoke to us highlighted how much Deloitte valued our presence by investing in her time and skills. Furthermore, this talk was overwhelmingly useful as it opened our eyes to the effectiveness of adult behaviour and professional communication. This is something that, as young individuals, we have had little exposure to and yet it is a highly important element that we need to grasp in order to become successful.
At the end of the two days, we were given detailed information about the next steps in the Deloitte process and were able to prepare for a mock interview that we had during the final hour. The interview mirrored the format of the Summer Vacation Scheme interview and the interviewers, who were managers or senior managers, had actual experience conducting the proper interviews, themselves. This exercise left me feeling confident and prepared for the next steps and motivated to improve on what I had delivered. We received both professional feedback, which was detailed and highly constructive, as well as feedback from our peers, who were able to compare our interview to their own.
What did you get out of the whole experience?
Overall, I have left Deloitte feeling even more determined and prepared to pursue an exciting and successful career path. The two days allowed me to decide which service line I would be suited to and filled me with confidence that Deloitte will support my every step. Furthermore, the opportunity to mix both socially and professionally with bright, like-minded individuals has enabled the best outcome from the two days, by being able to bounce off different peoples’ ideas and learn skills through teamwork and cooperation. The Deloitte professionals who shared their fantastic stories have inspired me and it is clear that the company nurtures success on a global scale. The Deloitte team was very well organized, happy to be with us and probed us constantly for constructive feedback, so that they could improve even further. This whole experience has been instrumental in motivating me to take those extra steps towards creating a career for myself as well as providing me with unique insights into Deloitte and the professional world. I am so excited to see where Deloitte might take me and to potentially succeed and prosper within such a well-established company. ‘Spring into Deloitte’ has set me up with the foundations I need to do this.
A review from Katherine Wilson - First year student at Kings College London
Exam time can be a challenging period for a lot of students. Different students deal with it in different ways. We asked three of our BrightStart school leavers (Devon, Michael and Angharad) and one of our graduates (Nayema) how they got through it. Here’s a summary of what they said. Stand by for some invaluable tips!
Having been through exams yourself, what would be your best tips for someone who’s about to take them?
Start revising early. It gives you the chance to plan properly. It gives you time to spot gaps in your understanding and ask teachers or lecturers for help. It gives you the best possible chance of walking into the exam room feeling prepared and confident. It might be tempting to have fun now and revise later but the benefits of revising early are endless.
Practising past papers is also crucial. It’s no good memorising the entire syllabus if you can’t perform in a practical scenario. Practising papers under timed conditions will help you understand what the exam will be like on the day, and that’ll take some of the pressure off you.
Sounds cheesy, but DON’T PANIC!! A bit of pressure is good to motivate you to revise beforehand. But when it comes to the actual exam, you’re so much more likely to remember those little things you forgot to look over if your head is calm.
At Deloitte, how do you manage your time between work and revision?
Generally, work time is for work. And study happens around that, mostly at weekends. Waking up a little earlier at weekends and doing a couple of hours of solid revision really helps.
Deloitte’s study days are also brilliant. We’re allowed to take a number of days as study leave every year, so that’s a great way to take some time off just before exams to prepare.
What would be your three top tips for staying calm throughout the exam period?
- Don’t just revise. Make sure every day has some non-exam chill time. Go for a long walk. Watch a movie. Take up a hobby. Do anything that gives you some head space.
- Talk to people. As clichéd as it sounds, talking to other people who are doing the exams will help you realise that you’re not alone and that other people may be finding it hard too!
- Eat and sleep normally. As tempting as it is to stuff your cheeks with chocolate, drink copious amounts of Red Bull and stay up until 4am cramming as much into your brain as possible, the caffeine rush that keeps you awake isn’t going to last forever and will leave you exhausted and with a headache – not ideal exam conditions.
What would be your top tips when it comes to time management around exams?
It’s all about planning your weeks in advance. See which days you can realistically fit revision in and stick to that schedule. Also, give your phone to someone else while you’re revising. You might actually get some work done!
Don’t forget to take breaks. It’s best to work for an hour or so, then take a 10-15 minute rest. Also, don’t waste too much time going over topics you know well. It’s better to know 5 topics well than 3 topics excellently and 2 topics not very well.
Have you got any tips for university students in the final stages of completing their dissertations?
- Get as much advice from your mentor as possible. Make sure you arrange as many one-to-ones as you can.
- Get someone to properly proofread your work and double check that your structure is logical.
- Focus on having a strong first half, but an even stronger second half. People often concentrate on getting the beginning right, but the findings/conclusions can really make or break a good dissertation.
Work/life balance is important during exam time. What do you do to avoid getting too stressed?
Having a plan definitely helps. If things get intense, plan your weeks and then prioritise your daily tasks each morning.
Make sure you remember to take some time out. Exercise is great stress reliever. And even just spending a few hours reading a book or seeing friends can make a big difference.
Situated in the heart of Britain’s IT corridor, the Reading office presents fantastic opportunities for graduates interested in developing careers working with a truly diverse client base. Our people find themselves in a unique position where they are provided with the opportunity to work with a variety of companies ranging from the largest FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 brands to privately owned fast moving entrepreneurial business across all industry sectors. Our globally diverse client base provides our graduates with opportunities to coordinate with our other UK as well as global offices, thereby assisting their development as a 21st century professional.
The Reading office is the largest office outside London and has around 600 people working across all four of our service lines (Audit, Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance). This means the opportunities to learn and grow are endless.
We encourage our people to work with their counterparts in other service lines right from the start of their career with us. We offer office-wide initiatives to promote networking to help develop business and professional skills vital to everybody’s success (which also leads to developing some lifelong friendships!).
New joiners can expect a wealth of support upon joining Deloitte. Every new joiner is paired with a ‘buddy’ who mentors and offers support in the initial weeks and months. There are regular training sessions and constant professional development is encouraged and delivered across the grades.
Aside from the fantastic professional development opportunities, Reading is at the forefront of leading our Corporate Social Responsibility projects. We have both formal and informal charity support arrangements in place. We encourage our people to actively participate in such opportunities and the firm allows each individual to spend 3.5 hours each month specifically on community investment projects. Our office often participates in “Community Investment” days – where the whole office spends a day with a number of different charities in the region doing things like painting, gardening and building – just giving something back to our local community. Our people also have the opportunity to participate in a number of nationally acclaimed charity events – be that the annual Paralympic “Ride Across Britain” event or climbing Kilimanjaro!
Given the unique size of our Reading office, each graduate is presented with the fantastic chance to gain greater exposure to senior members of teams and therefore enable them to interact and gain experience from them on a regular basis. As a firm we are supportive of agile working and our people are actively encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility the firm offers us
The Reading office is the ideal place of choice for anyone looking to explore differential opportunities within the Big 4. Our size and breadth means that we can offer an unparalleled opportunity to all of our people to professionally develop in a way that’s personal to them – allowing each individual to achieve their career and life aspirations.
Anita is the Partner leading the SE Executive Remuneration team and has been advising remuneration committees and companies on reward strategy, share and incentive scheme design, and developing tax efficient and commercially effective pay structures in the UK and many other jurisdictions for over 15 years.
This is the first of a series of blogs that I am writing to give prospective joiners an idea of what life is like during the first few years of the Deloitte graduate scheme. A new blog will be posted every month, each with a different theme and perspective, and you can keep up to date with my new postings by following the graduate careers team on Twitter: @DeloitteUKgrads and Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourfutureatdeloitteuk
This first blog aims to give you a taste of what a month at work is like for me by taking you through my experiences in the past four weeks.
First taste of managing
I have just been given the results of my last professional stage exams. I’m relieved to have them out of the way, but its straight back to work! November started with a few days returning to a big retail client.
It was my first experience of mentoring a new joiner, a fresh responsibility for second years that involves answering lots of questions and making sure that they leave on time for the evening’s exam prep.
There have also been plenty of other opportunities to meet some of the new joiners in our buddy group meetings and department socials. The buddy groups combine four people from each year group together and the group leader organises regular socials in the bar below the office.
Another new experience that week was working directly with a partner to finish an audit from October of a small subsidiary company. As it isn’t normally the task of a second year to finish an audit file, this was a steep learning curve!
The next three weeks were split between audits at a law firm, a restaurant group and a marketing company in the heart of the city. At the marketing company I enjoyed developing a good working relationship with the FC by discussing what the key challenges and opportunities are for them and their strategy going forward.
It’s not all about work
It’s been far from all work and no play in November. The bi-annual pub quiz took place, and in a team of my intake we showed that we still had a lot to learn on our general knowledge beyond sports and geography. A few beers definitely helped to console our poor performance!
A few days later, having a meal at a Peruvian restaurant was an excellent way to celebrate the end of a demanding summer job, and a good chance to relax with colleagues outside of the audit room.
Deloitte has a wealth of social club and sport opportunities to get stuck into and meet people beyond the department. November saw the final mixed hockey match of the year at Battersea Park in fog so thick you couldn’t see the other side of the pitch.
Playing hockey with other departments and against other companies has been a great way to meet new people over some pizza and beers in the local pub afterwards. The hockey team is now looking forward to defending the annual Corporate Games trophy in June.
Ross graduated from the University of Bath in 2013 with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having worked as an engineer in two aerospace companies, he decided to pursue a career in accountancy following his degree for a different challenge with excellent future prospects. Following a brief summer of travelling in South East Asia, he joined the London audit office as a member of the Consumer Business corporate group. Since joining, he has passed the first 12 exams of the ACA qualification and works with clients across London and the South East in a variety of industries including retail, manufacturing, professional services and marketing.
Hello again. In the latest in our series of blog posts inspired by insight from our Chief Economist Ian Stewart, we look at how business confidence is putting recruitment of talent back on the boardroom agenda.
The UK economy has delivered many positive surprises in recent months, with the latest GDP data showing that output was 3.1% higher in the first quarter of this year compared to a year earlier. This represents the fastest pace of growth since before the financial crisis, and has beaten most economists’ forecasts for growth.
These strong output numbers have reflected many of the results we have been seeing in our CFO Survey recently. Risk appetite among the Chief Financial Officers of the UK’s largest companies rose to a six-and-a-half year high in the first quarter and our index of economic and financial uncertainty has fallen by a third over the last year.
Encouragingly one of the biggest improvements we have seen recently can be found in CFOs expectations for the jobs market.
In the years following the financial crisis CFOs have been fairly pessimistic about the outlook for new jobs in the UK. Between the third quarter 2010 (when we first started asking CFOs about their views or hiring) and the end of 2011 an average net -16% of CFOs believed that UK corporates’ hiring would rise in the following 12 months. Over the same period only a fifth (+19%) of CFOs thought there would be a rise in hiring, compared to more than a third (+37%) who thought hiring would be scaled back.
Pessimism about hiring peaked at the end of 2011, when a net of -71% of CFOs thought hiring would fall in the following 12 months. Astonishingly, not one of the CFOs that we surveyed in Q4 2011 thought employment would rise in the following year.
The views of these CFOs – who typically represent around a third of the UK equity market – were borne out by the employment numbers that followed. Throughout 2012 employment growth fell steadily. Year-on-year growth in employment fell from 1.4% at the beginning of 2012 to a low of 0.1% at the start of 2013. A total of 206,000 workforce jobs had been lost through 2012.
The good news is that our CFOs expectations for hiring have changed in a big way in the last year. Optimism about hiring reached a peak in our latest survey, for Q1 2014. A net +81% of those surveyed believe UK corporates’ hiring will increase over the next year, with an average reading of +58% for this indicator over the last four quarters.
So far the recovery from the financial crisis has not been driven by businesses investing in hiring new staff, capital expenditure or discretionary spending. The fact that CFOs are now so bullish about expanding workforces in the next 12 months bodes well for the UK jobs market and for the sustainability of the recovery we are seeing in GDP.
You can keep up to date with the economy as it shifts by subscribing to the Monday Briefings at http://www.deloitte.co.uk/mondaybriefing
And of course, we'll have another in our series of Economics & Employment blogs to share shortly.
Thanks for clicking. Every month the economics team here at Deloitte look at significant economic trends from the point of view of the recruitment marketplace, and we are then able to share the resulting blog post with you. Number 1 is below.
The phrases ‘wage squeeze’ and ‘income inequality’ have been at the forefront of policy debates in recent months, both in the UK and abroad. The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, recently warned global politicians that “in far too many countries the benefits of growth are being enjoyed by far too few people.”
Falling wages and rising inequality are in many respects very different issues – wages could reasonably be expected to fall at the same time as the gap between rich and poor narrows – yet they are often talked of in the same breath, to describe an environment where a large proportion of the workforce have experienced both real and relative declines in wealth.
In the UK, a number of common powerful factors have created this environment for middle and low-paid workers.
Inequality has been on the rise across much of the West since well before the financial crisis and, in the case of the UK and the US, since the late 1970s. Secular trends such as technological progress, globalisation, the expansion of financial markets and the decline of unions have reduced the relative value of unskilled labour and bolstered the returns to high level skills and to capital. In much of the world labour's share of GDP has shrunk and the share going in profits have risen. This trend has clearly been a factor in constraining wage growth for many low and middle-income earners and at the same time contributing to widening inequality.
In this sort of a world, expertise, education and experience are at a premium. The most conspicuous examples are in the financial sector but this process has been at work across the economy. Since 1978, real incomes for UK doctors have risen 153%, for lawyers 114% and for quantity surveyors by 65%. Over the same period, incomes for fork lift truck drivers have fallen 5% and pay for unskilled production line workers has dropped 3%.
Such inequalities reflect, in part, widely differing levels of educational and training achievement not just across social groups but across generations. Recent OECD research came up with the alarming finding that that England is the only country in the developed world in which adults aged 55-to-65 outperform those aged 16-to-24 in literacy and numeracy tests. This fact may help explain why, since 2007, the number of under-24s in work has shrunk by almost half a million even as the number of over 55s in work has increased.
A more recent trend has occurred since the global financial crisis, which has caused a major squeeze on consumer incomes. Whilst real incomes actually rose during the recession, in 2008-09, they have since fallen as the economy moved back to growth. Since 2010 consumers have had to contend with falling real incomes, above average inflation, rising taxes and a squeeze on state benefit. Real incomes have fallen as a result, and have fallen for the longest period for 50 years. (The paradox is that all of this has occurred in an environment where the UK economy has created more than a million new jobs.)
The good news is that the worse of the squeeze on incomes in the UK is probably past. Our strong suspicion is that 2014 will be the year that average real earnings start to rise again. Indeed most economists now expect an improved labour market – with increased competition for labour – and lower inflation to deliver increases in real incomes over the next five years. The Bank of England forecast growth of 2.75% in average earnings in 2014.
Life at Deloitte is not all about work, and this is evidenced by the thriving social scene and the variety and wealth of opportunities to socialise with colleagues out of the office.
The Annual Dinner is the highlight of the social calendar and is generally held in late-September, making it the ideal chance for any new starters to get to know the rest of their team, as well as other people from the whole office. In Birmingham, this black-tie event is traditionally held at the prestigious International Conference Centre and recent attendance of staff plus guests has been close to 700 people. The format of the night involves entertainment, such as casino and fun fair games, and dancing after the meal, as well as a host of fundraising activities in aid of the office charity.
In addition to this annual event, there are also other events organised for the whole office and open to all service lines. ‘Atrium’ drinks are held on the first Friday of each month, and these consist of a congregation in the reception after work, with drinks and finger food provided. This is a great opportunity to catch up with other people in your department, as well as a perfect chance to build and maintain relationships with people from other service lines.
As well as the office socials, each department is likely to host their own social events and in Audit Advisory these are held on a monthly basis, with a different activity each month. Previous socials have included go-karting and quizzes, allowing colleagues of all grades to interact in a relaxed environment. As a first year, these chances to mix with senior team members have not only been very enjoyable but has also increased my confidence in interacting with Directors and Partners. The Christmas party is another Audit Advisory-specific social and last year this involved a three course meal at a Birmingham restaurant followed by drinks at a range of bars. On a more informal basis, people will often send out an email to everyone working in the department on a particular day to see if others fancy going for lunch or a drink after work.
By studying for the ACA qualification you can also join BCASS (Birmingham Chartered Accountants Students’ Society) and this group organise socials every month. Wine tasting, sports tournaments and pub quizzes are all examples of previous events and these are a good chance to meet people from other firms; the annual BCASS ball is a great night too – in a similar vein to the Annual Dinner but open to all ACA students in the city.
In addition to these social events, there are also a host of sports clubs within the office that are available to people of all abilities, from all service lines. Five-a-side football is organised on a weekly basis, with games between staff held at local astro-turf pitches. There are also teams for other sports such as cricket, hockey and netball that play in friendly matches and compete in local leagues throughout the season. These teams are a great way to keep fit as well as a chance to socialise with colleagues who share similar interests. Anyone interested can sign up to the mailing list to receive invitations to matches and training sessions, meaning you can confirm attendance when you are available but you aren’t obliged to attend when you are too busy or have other plans.
I have lost track of the number of social events I have attended since I started in Audit Advisory roughly 12 months ago, and I have managed to forge strong relationships with the rest of my team but also staff members from other service line. Whether you have an active interest in a particular sport or you just like to wind down at the end of the week with a couple of drinks, there will always be a chance to mix with like-minded colleagues.
Early in your career it’s a good idea to join a big firm. Deloitte heavily invests in your development. You will gain professional qualifications that will boost your CV. You will receive a lot of training along the way that will give you hugely valuable skills. I was sent to Dublin for three weeks to learn Java. Having never done coding I experienced a steep learning curve (and got to discover Dublin which I had never been to).
At Deloitte you also have a much broader range of options as to where you want to take your career. We are such a big firm that no matter where your interests lie, there will always be something for you. We work across the private, public and financial sectors and within those cover a wide range of industries. We work for the automotive industry, the healthcare industry, insurance firms etc. Though you are initially encouraged to get a flavour across the board, eventually people specialise in one area.
Another great thing about Deloitte is its community investment. There are a lot of charity events, such as the Christmas Pudding Race, and Movember that sees your friends and colleagues make fools of themselves for charity, but also more serious ones such as the Ride Across Britain event. We are also encouraged to do pro bono work where we offer our skills and services for free for a good cause.
Finally, you will meet a lot of impressive and fun people along the way. With a consulting graduate intake of nearly 300 people you will get to make a lot of new friends and will always have someone to go for a drink with after work. There are lots of social events also. Yesterday I was at a “Women in Technology” event where Judi James, who worked for Big Brother, talk to us about confidence and resilience, and Jay Kumar taught us about Bollywood dancing and the Gangnam style dance. Tonight all technology analysts are invited to an open bar to catch up with our fellow colleagues. Deloitte has a very good stand on work life balance and the social events will mean you will never get bored.
The reasons mentioned above made me choose Deloitte to start my career. Clearly, the statistics about the firm also speak for themselves so check out our website if you want to learn more.
I joined Deloitte in September 2010 with a non-relevant background, having studied Biochemistry at Aberdeen University. Aberdeen had grown on me during my time at university as it is neither too big, nor too small, and within 15 minutes’ drive of the city centre you can feel like you have escaped everything. I now work as an assistant manager within the audit department in the Aberdeen office and have just passed my final ICAS exam, TPE. Coming from a non-relevant background, I only had a very vague idea what audit was when I applied. Below I share some of what I see as the ‘best bits’ of working as an auditor in the Aberdeen office. Hopefully this will give you some insight into what is involved in my job.
I have been fortunate enough to work on audits which have allowed me to travel. I worked on one which was in Houston, another in London and a couple of audits just up the road in Inverness. Other people within the office have travelled to Dubai and as far away as the Falkland Islands. Due to the majority of Aberdeen office clients working in the oil industry, they often have offices in oil & gas hubs around the world. Yes, you still have to work hard whilst away but there is always the opportunity to see the sights at weekends and you could even tag a few days holiday on to the end of a work trip if you wanted.
Meeting new people
To me, this is one of the best parts of working in audit. You are always meeting new people, whether this is new client contacts or just new faces within Deloitte.
On each audit you work in a team with others in order to complete the work needed. The teams you work in can vary in size from just two people, for a very small piece of work, to twenty plus people if the client is a very large multi-national company. You will work on several audits a year and each team will be different, giving you the opportunity to get to meet a lot of different people, from different backgrounds. As you can often spend long hours working together on an audit you have to be able to get along with each other. There are also regular social events going on in the office giving you the opportunity to get to know people from other service lines. The Aberdeen office is one of the smaller regional offices and therefore everyone knows each other to at least say hello to when you pass in the corridor.
As you progress through your training contract you will find that you will work with some of the same clients for several years in a row, whilst others you will only work with once. The longer you work with a client the more you are able to build a really good working relationship with them. It is always interesting to meet new people and to get to know their company.
I like that what I do each day can vary depending on the client I am working on, the people I work with and on the time of year. Although auditors generally have similar work to do with each client, each company is different and have their individual issues or events that have happened during the year, meaning the work required varies a lot. There is the opportunity to work on a variety of clients, from small owner run businesses to large multi-national companies. There is also often the opportunity to gain experience of other service lines or offices. I had a short secondment to the Corporate Finance department within the Aberdeen office and have worked with colleagues from other offices or departments who have come on secondment to Aberdeen.
There are of course also long hours and tight deadlines at times, but the Partners are keen for you to get as much as you can from a career with Deloitte, and will do what they can to help ensure you get the correct variety of experiences along the way to help you succeed.
Claire West - Assistant Manager, Aberdeen
Starting in Security and Resilience in the Risk Consulting team at Deloitte meant that I spent my first six weeks attending “The Security University”. Having come from a non-technical background I was worried that I would spend six weeks in a confused haze trying desperately to understand what was going on – luckily it wasn’t at all like that!
The University took place at conference venues near the New Street Square office and was attended by the graduates starting work in Security and Resilience, Corporate Security and Penetration Testing - this meant it was a great opportunity to get to know people in the same boat! The Resilience and Corporate Security graduates attended the first four weeks, with Information Security and Penetration Testing attending for six weeks.
The courses were run by colleagues from the Risk Consulting teams and covered a range of topics including; Security Architecture, Introduction to Corporate Security, Information Security, Disaster Planning and Access Management. For two weeks a Wargame ran concurrently with the courses (more on that later!)
The courses were excellent, and aimed at those of us with little technical knowledge; there were also plenty of group activities and lots of opportunities to ask questions – so not at all like my University lectures of the past! Covering such a wide range of topics gave us a good overview of what the other teams within Security and Resilience did and helped us to understand where we fitted into the team as a whole. I came away from the courses feeling like I had a good baseline knowledge which I could put to good use when I started work.
During University time we also took a course in Foundation Level Software Testing, which lasted three days and ended with a multiple choice exam. This was a professional qualification run by ISEB – and required some evening revision – it wasn’t easy, but receiving the certificate in the post a few weeks later made the hard work worth it!
For two weeks we were split into three teams to compete in a Wargame. Over the duration of the exercise the teams were given information regarding a simulated business situation and had to use this to complete various tasks culminating in a presentation to several senior managers/partners. This gave us the opportunity to practice many of the skills we would need as Consultants in an interesting and fun way – despite a large dose of friendly rivalry!
I really enjoyed my time in training, it gave me a great opportunity to learn about my new career but also to meet the people I would be working with in the future – one of the course facilitators is now my manager!To find out more about Risk Consulting training and development please visit our website.