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Accountant/Associate (Financial Assurance)
Samuel studied Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice at Flinders University
What's your job about?
PwC’s vision is to solve important problems and build trust in society – in assurance we work with our clients to provide solutions to their problems and to give them confidence in the work that they are doing.
As a graduate, my tasks and responsibilities change subject to which client I am working on, the stage of the audit that we are in, and the composition of the team. For example, when we are planning an audit, I am involved in risk assessment analytics; where we identifying areas of increased risk based on movements within a client’s financial statements. During year-end, I perform tests over reconciliations or develop analytics to determine whether a client’s expenses are consistent with our expectations.
By far, our most important work is speaking to and building relationships with clients; working together to solve problems that are important to them, or asking questions to gain an understanding of their business and add value through our audit. Getting to know our clients and helping them to solve problems is what motivates me and brings me back to work each day.
Our work environment is good too – we have a spacious, open-plan office, with plenty of food in the kitchen. The firm supports our education and development, and encourages team bonding through away days (where we go bowling or to lazer skirmish, and head out as a team for dinner). There a lot of positives to working at PwC – I do feel very lucky to be here.
What's your background?
I grew up in Adelaide, attended local schools in Magill and Glenunga, and attended Flinders University where I studied a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice.
My background is in law, but I also spent a number of years pursuing a career in professional golf. Golf can be relaxing and leisurely, but when you push yourself to achieve as a high a standard as possible it becomes immensely difficult both technically and mentally. I consider the time I spent practising and playing as being valuable to my development and maturity. I learned a lot about how I handle pressure and the way that I respond to setbacks or failures.
While I was playing golf, my brother joined an audit team at a different firm. Seeing the work that he was doing and the experiences he was having, I began to investigate the career options that might be available to me. My interest lead me to attend a CAANZ careers evening, where I was introduced to a senior manager and human capital advisor from PwC. They suggested that I apply for a vacationer role, which I did. I was fortunate to be offered a three week position – a few weeks later I was asked if I would like to start in the assurance team permanently. I have been with PwC for six months, and I really can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely. During graduate training, I became friends with a chef, a mathematician, and an IT specialist. Throughout training they consistently produced some of our group’s best work, partly because they had different life experiences.
Although it is useful to have an understanding of accounting, it is much more important to have good interpersonal skills, and to be able to think creatively when problem solving. The auditors that I admire at PwC are the ones who build strong relationships with clients and with their own team members.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I genuinely love working with switched on, driven people who challenge themselves and the people around them to develop and make the most of their potential.
When we are auditing it is not unusual for an issue will arise, either as a result of identifying something from the client’s end in our testing, or in finding the most efficient way to manage our projects and audits. Brainstorming solutions, piecing together a plan, and tackling complex issues is what I find most interesting about my work – I know I have made the right career choice.
What are the limitations of your job?
One limitation, or reason a person might not enjoy working at PwC, is if they don’t fit the firm culture, or if they fit the firm but are in a business unit that doesn’t suit them. Each firm, even among the big four, has a different culture and it is important that you find the one that suits you. Fortunately, there is scope to move within our business units. Some graduates begin in audit and move to consulting, or go from R&D to private clients. So if you fit the culture, but are not enjoying the day-to-day tasks, there are opportunities to change teams within PwC.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
One: Study abroad. Don’t limit yourself to the city, suburbs or environment that you are familiar with. Travel whenever and wherever you can.
Two: Be open to new opportunities and careers. You might be interested in a certain career path, but you should keep your options open for as long as possible.
Three: Invest time in gaining work experience. Working for free during your summer holidays might feel like an average decision at the time, but it will have a huge impact on the career choices that you can make down the track.