Vault Q&A: Audit Associate, Ernst & Young
Name of Employee: Roshni Mukhopadhyay Title: Audit Associate Name of Employer: Ernst & Young Department/Division: Audit – Technology, Communications and Entertainment. Location (city): London Number of years at firm: 1 Number of years in current role: 1 Degree(s): I did two degrees, one in commerce majoring in corporate finance, and an arts degree, majoring in politics and industrial relations.
How did you first decide to enter your industry? I did some internships at all of the big four firms, and I quite liked the work. It’s a good place to learn about business because you’re exposed to so much. I quite like working in teams too, and in audit you’re never working alone. People really have the time to help too.
What first attracted you? The people. I did an internship here — work and clients don’t differ much between firms, but the people and the culture do. Having also worked in Australia, at EY it’s quite consistent. The fact I was able to travel so early was another thing.
What are the typical education requirements? You need a 2:1 degree in any discipline – we go on to do a chartered accountancy programme here. You’re taken through the very basics from day one – nothing in particular is required. Just a good attitude towards learning.
What skills and/or experience are important for success? Skill at working in teams, also having some leadership experience, even university clubs and things. That’s looked favourably upon. Just being enthusiastic about it all, showing that you’re keen and want to learn. We’re not expected to be rocket scientists. You just have to want to be here and to learn.
What is the typical career path in your industry? It could go anywhere. if you stay with the firm it’s a three year training contract, with blocks at college as well as in house training. It’s quite a natural progression up from there, senior audit, manager, then director or partner. A lot of people do tend to leave though — your experiences in the first three years and the qualification you receive will set you up for pretty much anything.
What is your favourite part of your job? Working in teams, and it’s a young firm – a lot of people have just come out of university, so there’s a lot of socialising. Also the travel opportunities are great – you can go anywhere.
What is your least favourite part of your job? The hours can get quite heavy. Last week I worked 65 hours. But that’s a rare occurrence. The average is 45.
How relevant is your education to what you are doing today? Very relevant. I did an accounting and finance degree so a lot of the things I did at university I’m still doing now. A lot of friends of mine who didn’t do accounting aren’t finding it too difficult though. You need to get the basics, but you get support.
Can you offer any advice to graduates seeking a career in the accounting profession? Go out and do an internship; there’s no better way than to go out and do it yourself. If there’s time do it at a few firms, shop around and see what suits you best.
What is something unusual that they might not know? A lot of people get quite caught up in the interview stage – they’re important certainly and lot of emphasis is placed on the case study and essay exercises – they’re the most important parts. But don’t be over prepared for it. Just go in and be yourself. Faking it is not going to get you the job – just use your skills, you’re not expected to be a rocket scientist. Show that you’re a person with the attitude they want.
What is your favourite perk? The audit meals – we go out in a big team – go to some nice restaurants in town. Other social events too, like the Christmas party.