Working for an accounting consultancy firm can be a really exciting career choice, with every day presenting new challenges.
For those looking to pursue a career as an accountant, an audit assistant or a consultant in that field, you’ll most likely have your eye on the big companies.
From your education, you might have a strong idea about the work itself but, as a young graduate, you might not truly know what it will be like to work there.
Triona Casey is now an audit senior at EY, having completed its graduate programme after starting out as an audit assistant. Here, she talks about her experience.
What did you study in college?
I studied business studies, accounting and finance in University of Limerick.
With this programme, are you now working in your desired industry?
Yes, my aim in that programme was to work in an accountancy/consultancy firm.
What drew you to EY when you were seeking work as a graduate?
The vibrancy and diversity of EY, and the opportunity to work as part of some fantastic teams and to work on some of the biggest companies in the world.
What expectations did you have before you began the programme?
I expected to be working as an accountant in my role and to be working with numbers, but the role became so much more, the more experience I gained. I discovered that I could still be an accountant without sitting in an office with a calculator all day!
What duties and responsibilities were you given initially?
Initially, I was worried that I would be photocopying and doing administrative tasks. However, the minute I started, I hit the ground running. I was placed on client site with a team and got to begin working on a project immediately.
I got to complete sections of the audit myself, with guidance from my seniors, and assist on more difficult sections also. I was given a good deal of responsibility, and this level of responsibility grew with further experience on other clients and other sections of work.
Did the scope of your work change as the programme progressed?
As I progress through the programme, I am still amazed at the rate at which we all learn and develop our skills. As I grow confident with certain parts of an audit and responsibilities of my job, I am presented with new, greater challenges and more detailed sections.
I enjoy that my job never becomes stagnant as, with each new client and new project, you are never doing the exact same thing.
Can you describe a typical day in your role?
I suppose you could say that we don’t really have typical days working in audit. It depends on what part of Ireland, or the world, we’re in on a given day. If I’m working on a project at a client’s office, working with a team, generally the day begins with a team debrief on what we aim to complete today.
Then, I would work through the areas I’ve been assigned and meet with the client where necessary to ask questions and discuss anything. At the end of each day, I normally try and keep a list of what items are completed, what items are still outstanding and then just a brief list of what I will start with in the morning, and the team will usually do a debrief of this as well.
Again, this is all dependent on where you are and the size of the team you’re with for that particular client. This could change on a frequent basis, which means you get the opportunity to work with lots of different people within the firm, and also external to EY.
How do your responsibilities compare to more experienced employees’?
As a graduate, my main role as an audit assistant was to assist seniors, management and executives with areas of the audit work. As I got more experience, I was able to take on more responsibility and deal directly with clients.
Now, as an audit senior, I get to assist with leading the team. Our role consists of leading the audit assistants and consulting with management level on the progress of the audit, while being a point of contact between the team and the client. There is more responsibility presented the further you progress through the graduate programme.
Do you feel more prepared for working life after completing this programme?
Yes, I do. The problem-solving and competencies you will learn through this programme will always stand to you.
But there is also the ability to develop skills such as leadership of a team, interpersonal skills, confidence with clients, confidence with executive-level staff in the workplace, time management etc. There is scope to develop both professionally and personally within EY.
Why should someone apply to the graduate programme at EY?
The graduate programme at EY is an experience that you will never forget. Having just finished college and getting to start in a firm with 200 people of similar age/circumstance was amazing. The friends you make and the memories of social events you experience within the graduate programme will last a lifetime.
But, alongside that, the opportunities offered by EY for career development at every step along the way of the graduate programme; the diversity and inclusiveness of the firm; the pace at which you learn and increase your professional skills; and having such a diverse client portfolio are just a few of the many reasons I would recommend anyone to consider applying to the EY graduate programme.
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