Finished 3 year ACA with PwC Audit Dept - ask me anything

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mali167
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(Original post by chris_harvey)
Hi all,

I started training for my 3 year ACA in Oct 2007 with PwC London in their Audit Dept and managed to qualify in Oct 2010.

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask me

Why I am doing this? I guess I might as well put my 3 years to some use! hehe (currently self employed and not using my ACA atm)

Chris
Hi

thanks for starting this thread

I'm an independent student. I've passed 2 knowledge module on first attempt. I'm doing assurance now.

I've paid ICAEW for registration till dec 2011 so I want to do at least 1professional module along with CFAB before the year ends and then apply for ACA training contracts. I dont have a degree so I thought it would be helpful in securing a training contract with a small firm.

I passed accounting and management info. knowledge modules. Can I start on pro module of Financial accounting before I finish CFAB?

Thnaks alot and well done on finishing what you started.
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PortfolioManager1
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Slightly off-topic but what would you say are the main limitations of internal and external audits?
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Mos Def
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What would be the best service line to choose if wanting to go into investment banking, how will working in corporate tax help if at all? And is FO positions possible? And if to enter MO going into industry, do you know roughly how much IB's pay ACA holders in Finance roles?
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dean8503
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Hi, Christ. Thank you so much so your post. It is really informative, quite helpful. Thx!!!

I reckcon is it that true that the requirement for applying Business recovery devision or other advisory role in PWC will be higher than audit? will the cv screening for these roles also tougher?
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hero
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Wow this topic is very insightful. Thanks for posting. I just graduated last year and I am currently looking for a firm to take me on for training to become chartered. I have a masters degree in engineering from Liverpool Uni.
But with GCSE English language at only C. But Deloitte don't require a B in English although I have failed their online assessment.

I tried looking at other firms in the top 20 and I was surprised that so many stated English Lang B required.

Like someone on here said i think having relevant work experience in this economic climate is very useful. I am currently sending emails around to local firms for FREE work experience.

Tbh I decided I wanted to become an accountant on a wimp, I have no interest with a career in engineering and the next best thing i could think of was to become a professional accountant preferably in auditing. My cousins are chartered accountants and they said they reckon doing ACCOUNTS is most enjoyable to them but they said ACCOUNTS are not payed as high as say auditing.

Does anyone know what happens once you become qualified after 3 years? I am trying to write a 5 year plan (job app question) but I am lost. The first 3 years I will put aside to gaining chartered status but what after that? thanks
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GTi
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(Original post by PortfolioManager1)
Slightly off-topic but what would you say are the main limitations of internal and external audits?
Time & Cost Constraints - Auditors can't guarantee the truth and fairness of the financial statements because it would be impossible to go through and verify every single transaction and if they did do this, the cost would outweigh the benefit.

Reliability of Evidence - Not all the evidence collected during the course of an audit is necessarily reliable.

Accounting standards - The auditor does not audit the accounting standards. So like the principal of garbage in garbage out, the appropriateness of accounting standards may affect the quality of the audit.

Internal auditing is usually, but not always, carried out by employees of the company. This can impair their ability to deter wrongdoing by the more senior executives because it might threaten their continued employment.

Limitations of auditing also include all the limitations of accounting

There are probably more but theses are the ones I remember off the top of my head (Audit exam Wednesday)
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yuenj01
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Hi, currently studying accounting degree at the university.
I am very confused about the future such as what courses do I need to take etc to become a qualified accountant and auditor and whether to do ACCA, ACA etc.

My aim is to work for one of the BIG4 as an auditor

My questions are:

1: After I have graduated, do I go straight to do ACCA course? If yes, how long is it going to take? Some of the units I do at university apparently are exempted.

2: My parents want me to do Masters in Accounting, do you think it is necessary?

3: What courses do I need to do to become an auditor?

4: What careers are better, auditors, management accountants, financial accountants? (Salary wise?)

5: Any tippers of stand out in front of the employers?

Thanks!
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S
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(Original post by yuenj01)
Hi, currently studying accounting degree at the university.
I am very confused about the future such as what courses do I need to take etc to become a qualified accountant and auditor and whether to do ACCA, ACA etc.

My aim is to work for one of the BIG4 as an auditor

My questions are:
I'm not employed by the Big 4, but I am an auditor at a smaller firm so I can answer some of your questions.


2: My parents want me to do Masters in Accounting, do you think it is necessary?
Absolutely not necessary. In the Big 4 hiring process, you're not at a disadvantage if you don't have an MA/MSc. Your application is treated the same, ie. for academic requirements they just look at your A-Levels (UCAS points) or equivalent and undergraduate degree classification. Having a Masters will not make up for a poor first degree or A-Levels.

Furthermore, the subject of your degree is completely irrelevant - you don't need to have any previous accounting experience.

If you definitely want to work in an accountancy practice, or as an accountant in industry, I would not bother doing a Masters. It would save you time, effort and money.


3: What courses do I need to do to become an auditor?
There are no pre-requisite courses. As mentioned above, degree subject is irrelevant.


[quote]4: What careers are better, auditors, management accountants, financial accountants? (Salary wise?)/quote]

I'd hazard a guess that they're all about the same. Your salary will largely depend on the size of the firm that you're employed at. It is reasonable to expect that a Big 4 audit manager probably gets paid slightly more than a mid-tier one.

If you want to be an accountant in industry, then it's natural to expect a higher salary at a FTSE 100 compared to being employed at an unlisted company.

So just aim high!


5: Any tippers of stand out in front of the employers?
I'd say just be yourself and show that you're human. Don't make it sound like you've pre-rehearsed all your responses and reading from a script. Don't just tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear because they've heard it 1000s of times. Think outside the box - when responding to competence based questions, try to think of examples outside of school/university. In order to do this, try to get involved in some extra-curricula activities. The Big 4 trainees are quite big on sports, so if you play in a sports team, that looks really good.

If you get a chance to talk to current trainees at the assessment centre, try to make a good impression. Talk to them like they're your friend - ie. don't just chat about accountancy, as it gets boring. At the end of the day, you'll be working alongside the existing trainees so it's a good idea to make yourself memorable (for the right reasons though!).
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graduate_me
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I have accepted an offer for audit in insurance and investment management, but I am having mixed feelings about it now. From your experience, is it possible to move from this department to advisory after the first 1-2 years?
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romski
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as an auditor did you really learn alot about just auditing or did they give you exposure to different departments ?

Also overall my feeling from readig replies is taht the job itself is boring but work colleagues make it a fun place to be in
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Samtheman1
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[QUOTE=S;31621973]I'm not employed by the Big 4, but I am an auditor at a smaller firm so I can answer some of your questions.




Absolutely not necessary. In the Big 4 hiring process, you're not at a disadvantage if you don't have an MA/MSc. Your application is treated the same, ie. for academic requirements they just look at your A-Levels (UCAS points) or equivalent and undergraduate degree classification. Having a Masters will not make up for a poor first degree or A-Levels.

Furthermore, the subject of your degree is completely irrelevant - you don't need to have any previous accounting experience.

If you definitely want to work in an accountancy practice, or as an accountant in industry, I would not bother doing a Masters. It would save you time, effort and money.




There are no pre-requisite courses. As mentioned above, degree subject is irrelevant.


4: What careers are better, auditors, management accountants, financial accountants? (Salary wise?)/quote]

I'd hazard a guess that they're all about the same. Your salary will largely depend on the size of the firm that you're employed at. It is reasonable to expect that a Big 4 audit manager probably gets paid slightly more than a mid-tier one.

If you want to be an accountant in industry, then it's natural to expect a higher salary at a FTSE 100 compared to being employed at an unlisted company.

So just aim high!




I'd say just be yourself and show that you're human. Don't make it sound like you've pre-rehearsed all your responses and reading from a script. Don't just tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear because they've heard it 1000s of times. Think outside the box - when responding to competence based questions, try to think of examples outside of school/university. In order to do this, try to get involved in some extra-curricula activities. The Big 4 trainees are quite big on sports, so if you play in a sports team, that looks really good.

If you get a chance to talk to current trainees at the assessment centre, try to make a good impression. Talk to them like they're your friend - ie. don't just chat about accountancy, as it gets boring. At the end of the day, you'll be working alongside the existing trainees so it's a good idea to make yourself memorable (for the right reasons though!).

Entirely agree with all of the above.

Best tip I have is to apply early - its a first come first serve process, so if you meet the requirements you are more likely to get in.

If you graduate in June 2012, you should be applying in August of this year for example.
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Samtheman1
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(Original post by graduate_me)
I have accepted an offer for audit in insurance and investment management, but I am having mixed feelings about it now. From your experience, is it possible to move from this department to advisory after the first 1-2 years?
Probably not in the first two years but definately other areas of audit.

All roles in the first 2.5 years are largely similar because of the heavy exam element, so dont worry too much - you can always move over when you qualify.
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Samtheman1
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(Original post by romski)
as an auditor did you really learn alot about just auditing or did they give you exposure to different departments ?

Also overall my feeling from readig replies is taht the job itself is boring but work colleagues make it a fun place to be in
To be honest you do learn a fair bit, and you get exposure to a lot of companies.

I know I have been brutally honest about my experience, but many people also enjoy it. They do treat you well and you get very good training.

The most important thing I took away was how to conduct yourself properly in corporate situations, which I think is very valuable.
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romski
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(Original post by Samtheman1)
To be honest you do learn a fair bit, and you get exposure to a lot of companies.

I know I have been brutally honest about my experience, but many people also enjoy it. They do treat you well and you get very good training.

The most important thing I took away was how to conduct yourself properly in corporate situations, which I think is very valuable.
I think that sort of applies to most jobs though, I work in accountancy in industry and generally its admin witha twist of finance.

But thats oen reason I think everyone should try and get into a big firm, the way they treat you is fantastic

I have worked at smaller companies etc and I dont get any holiday if I am sick, no holiday for exams, i pay for the exams all myself, payrises if your lucky, competent work colleagues if your lucky lol i could go on

in saying that a friend started off at a very small firm and now he is at BDO as a senior resstructing something or other, doing very well for himself

so whats the next step for you now your qualified etc ? seeking new opps ?
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Mos Def
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(Original post by Samtheman1)
To be honest you do learn a fair bit, and you get exposure to a lot of companies.

I know I have been brutally honest about my experience, but many people also enjoy it. They do treat you well and you get very good training.

The most important thing I took away was how to conduct yourself properly in corporate situations, which I think is very valuable.
What would you say about gaining the ACA with the NAO? In terms of pay, they pay quite well after qualification (48k), or would you choose the Big4 still?
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Nissay
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Hi all, have accepted an offer from PwC London to do Corporate finance in their govt and infrastructure team. just wondering - does anyone have any idea of the working hours in CF in a big4? love CF work but the idea of semi-IBD hours is sort of a bummer.. i'm hoping that by being in a public sector team the hours would follow govt's more closely..
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yoyo462001
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(Original post by Nissay)
Hi all, have accepted an offer from PwC London to do Corporate finance in their govt and infrastructure team. just wondering - does anyone have any idea of the working hours in CF in a big4? love CF work but the idea of semi-IBD hours is sort of a bummer.. i'm hoping that by being in a public sector team the hours would follow govt's more closely..
Well no it won't follow government times more closely because it's not like your auditing them. Then again it does depend on the deals you're working on, some days you could be pulling close to all nighters some others days you won't have anything to do.
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Bfly
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(Original post by yoyo462001)
Well no it won't follow government times more closely because it's not like your auditing them. Then again it does depend on the deals you're working on, some days you could be pulling close to all nighters some others days you won't have anything to do.
Hi. Can I ask...After the 3 year contract is done...ACA qualification obtained, do the Big 4 keep you on?

What if you're just an average performer?
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yoyo462001
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(Original post by Bfly)
Hi. Can I ask...After the 3 year contract is done...ACA qualification obtained, do the Big 4 keep you on?

What if you're just an average performer?
The Big 4 will keep you on. You'd have to be seriously awful at your job for them to let you go and even then if you've lasted 3 years you're probably not that bad. Bear in mind I'm not talking about Advisory or consultancy, where you could possibly be let go if the market isn't great, these are the two service lines with less job security.
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Bfly
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(Original post by yoyo462001)
The Big 4 will keep you on. You'd have to be seriously awful at your job for them to let you go and even then if you've lasted 3 years you're probably not that bad. Bear in mind I'm not talking about Advisory or consultancy, where you could possibly be let go if the market isn't great, these are the two service lines with less job security.
That's good to hear. What if you don't put in as many hours as they want you to like working 9-6/6.30 and not much more on a regualar basis or whenever you can...in audit. Is it giving a bad impression even if I become good at what I do?
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