Updating Results

Jason Hong

The relationships with my co-workers, in particular my fellow graduates, is what makes work the most enjoyable. The people in my division are very supportive towards my professional growth and I’m grateful for the effort that the firm makes to build a healthy work culture.

What’s your job about?

SW is an advisory and accounting firm which provides a range of professional services to its many clients in Australia and abroad. I work in the assurance and advisory division which primarily conducts a range of audits for our clients, and providing a level of assurance that their financials are not materially misstated. Unlike my fellow graduate colleagues, I did not complete a vacationer program at SW or any place else and was thrown in with little experience in the professional workplace. However, I’m gracious that the firm has a well-structured development program for graduates, which has resulted in a smooth transition into the workplace. My typical day comprises of conducting various audit procedures. These may involve the testing of client controls, analytical and substantive procedures, aimed at identifying risk areas in the client’s financial statements and testing for material misstatements. COVID-19 has, unfortunately, been disruptive to my typical day at work. Currently I am working from home and therefore missing the opportunity to engage face to face with my team members and with my clients. My previous engagement normally would have taken me to South Australia however that was simply not possible during the lockdown.

What’s your Background?

Growing up in metropolitan Melbourne, I have been a city boy my entire life and I’m loving everything Melbourne has to offer. I completed my Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Melbourne, and as cliché as it may sound, those were the most rewarding 3 years I could have experienced. However, I wouldn’t say it was all smooth sailing. In my second year, while my peers were off completing internships and vacationer programs at prestigious companies, I was experiencing less success with finding work experience. I dreaded the idea of graduating without any job prospects in sight until half way through my third year, I applied for a graduate position at SW. The process was similar to your typical job application: phone interview, assessment centre and eventually partner interview. It has now been 8 months since I commenced in March 2020 and I’m thoroughly enjoying my experience at the company thus far.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. The most difficult part of a consulting job is not the technical aspects but rather the ability to communicate effectively with clients and team members. While technical skills are learned mostly through on-the-job training, communication and being able to build interpersonal relationships is more challenging to develop. For anyone without an accounting background, it will be challenging without a doubt. There is a lot of assumed knowledge that is obtained through tertiary studies. However, with hard work and perseverance, any individual can be successful in the accounting profession.

What’s the coolest thing about your job?

The relationships with my co-workers, in particular my fellow graduates, is what makes work the most enjoyable. The people in my division are very supportive towards my professional growth and I’m grateful for the effort that the firm makes to build a healthy work culture. In terms of work, I enjoy the flexibility of audit work, where I can find myself working in different client locations instead of always at the office. This flexibility also allowed SW’s audit division to transition seamlessly to working from home.

What are the limitations of your job?

For 7.5 hours of the day, I’m in front of my computer screen, that’s the reality of working in any office job. Audit is known to result in long hours especially during busy seasons. While juniors are fortunate to experience less overtime, once promoted to senior positions, the workload and responsibilities begin to pile up. It is common to work until late and also on weekends. Furthermore, the first 2-3 years will be spent completing your Diploma in Chartered Accounting. This means sacrificing many hours after work and on weekends to study. I have been fortunate enough that my workload at SW has not burned me out, which is a great benefit of being employed at mid-tier accounting firms instead of the Big 4.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student

  1. Join and actively participate in student clubs and societies. This was perhaps the most rewarding aspect of university since I made many lasting friendships and gained valuable experiences. Joining a club committee does wonders for your resume and your experiences will help you out-shine other candidates when it comes to job interviews.
  2. Travel as much as you can, if that’s what you enjoy. Believe me, while you’re a student you have all the free time in the world, make the most of it! Spend it doing what you love because once you enter the workforce, your free time disappears.
  3. Some practical advice. When applying for vacationer or graduate programs, many students tend to blindly apply to every firm that is hiring. I would suggest a more effective approach is to learn specifics about a select few companies, substantiate what you know about them and what makes them unique. This will have a major impact on your hiring process, and helps you stand out from other candidates.