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Joy Hsieh

Take advantage of internship/vacationer opportunities – these are your chance to get a preview of what it’s like working in a particular service line and explore your options before it comes time to apply for graduate roles.

What's your job about?

SW is an Australian owned advisory and accounting firm which has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and is also part of the SW International network which has offices across 14 countries and regions globally. I work as a graduate consultant in the Assurance and Advisory division in Melbourne. The Assurance and Advisory division at SW offers both external and internal audit services including IT advisory. So far I have only worked on external audit engagements, which involve examining the financial statements of an entity to ensure that they provide a true and fair view of the entity’s operations. As a graduate, I help out on a lot of the sampling and testing that is performed as part of the risk response stage of the audit, however I have also been involved in the planning phase by attending client interviews to gain a thorough understanding of the client’s business processes and functions. Working on external audit engagements has enabled me to develop an in-depth view into our clients’ business operations and really get to know how different businesses function and operate.

What's your background?

I grew up in Melbourne and went to MacRobertson Girls High School. During high school I was a keen debater who thought I was definitely going to study law at university, but I had a wonderful accounting teacher whose passion for the field really piqued my interest at the time. I soon found myself taking interest in accounting, which led to me choosing to study a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. I started applying for vacationer programs in my second year of university where I was offered a vacationer role at SW. The application process for SW was similar to most professional services firms, but what I really appreciated about the firm was that the People and Culture team moved through the application process in a quick manner, and were very communicative throughout the entire process – anyone who’s been through a similar recruitment process will know the anxiety that comes with waiting for a response to that phone interview you attended over a month ago!

The summer vacation program at SW ran over 6 weeks, where I was given the opportunity not only to work on external audit engagements straight off the bat, but also participate in the firm’s Social Club events and really get a feel for what the culture at SW is like. I enjoyed participating in the vacationer program, and accepted the graduate position which was offered to me shortly after the vacationer program ended.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

A Commerce or Business degree is typically recommended as it provides you with the foundations needed to pursue a career in Accounting. I find that a lot of the content taught in the Accounting subjects at university is still quite applicable when you work in Assurance and Advisory, especially when starting out as a graduate in the division. Having a Commerce degree is also a requirement if you wish to complete the CA program, which is usually undertaken by graduates at SW.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

One of the best things about working in Assurance & Advisory at SW is the exposure to different sized clients in a range of different industries. As a graduate, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a range of different clients and to understand their business operations and processes. Additionally, working on some smaller sized clients has also provided me with opportunities to challenge myself by tackling more complex areas of the audit which have helped me to develop my technical skills and knowledge.

What are the limitations of your job?

The Assurance & Advisory division typically experiences busy periods following the end of financial year where there is a larger volume of work and longer hours may be needed to meet deadlines. That being said, as a graduate I find that the managers and seniors that I have worked with have provided me with a lot of support and will often check in to ensure that I’m not working excessive hours.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Actively engage with the activities and clubs offered at university – I was very much a passive student during university, who preferred to stay at home and watch all my lectures online, which led to me missing out on the diverse range of events and activities which took place on campus – something I definitely regret now!
  2. Take advantage of internship/vacationer opportunities – these are your chance to get a preview of what it’s like working in a particular service line and explore your options before it comes time to apply for graduate roles.
  3. Have an open mind and a positive attitude – starting to consider your career path during university can be daunting, especially once you’ve started applying for roles and possibly been rejected from a couple. Learn from each experience and take on any feedback you receive during the process with a positive attitude.