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A Day in the Life: Trainee, Ernst & Young

Bee Kwan is a second-year trainee working in the tax division at Ernst and Young's in London. She describes an average day in her job.

0930 I have flexible hours so I tend to get into work around half past nine. The first thing I do is to check my email and see if there is anything that needs acting on, then it is getting on with the work that is in progress. As a second year trainee, I am assigned a portfolio of clients. I normally carry on with what I was doing from the previous day. This might involve conference calls with clients and getting information from them.

1030 During the morning I have meetings that can take up to an hour and a half. I am constantly dealing with new projects and either one of the managers or the senior manager will brief us on these. There's often a lot of admin stuff that comes out of the meetings such as preparing memos and drafting letters. Another part of my job is the setting up tax codes for our clients.

1200 The work we do at Ernst & Young is charged by the hour so I need to make sure that the time I spend on any particular client is noted and is put on my time sheet. After getting information from a client, it is often the case that I make notes during the conference calls and write up the minutes from meetings I have. Most of the time for second year trainees is spent writing up tax reports and getting it reviewed by managers. We are also responsible for getting information from our clients and attending internal briefing meetings.

1400 This is the time I tend to have my lunch. Normally, the graduates go out for lunch. There is a really good social network established within the firm, so I normally spend lunch with other graduates in other departments, such as real estate, utilities, international tax services and tax-risk management.

1500 Part of my everyday work involves preparing tax reports, tax advisory reports and tax memos. Sometimes it is necessary to talk to Ernst & Young offices abroad. We generally use those offices which are in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. We call them to get their opinions on certain matters and we collate these into the reports that are prepared.

1600 Most of the time is spent on the phone, setting up calls and co-ordinating meetings with senior managers. There is a lot of tax audit work and liaising with auditors in order to confirm tax numbers and tax disclosures for clients that are in your account. Sometimes they need more information and so we need to get back to clients.

1700 It is often the case that I have to answer queries from Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs (HMRC). They often require us to draft letters to respond to queries about our clients. They often have various queries such as the tax numbers and other transfer pricing issues. We perform tax computations and then send them back off to HMRC.

1800 It is often the case that I have to meet or correspond with clients, to see if they have any queries or specifications. After this I action anything that has come up in the meetings.

1830 I tend to leave work around half past six. My work can go on until seven but I generally leave before then. I work 35 hours a week and if you do your hours, people don't tend to ask questions as to when you leave.