Deciding to do a placement was the best decision I have ever made. It really helped to build up my confidence and professional network, and led to a graduate job offer!
What factors led you to complete an accounting placement?
I have always wanted to go into a finance role. While studying Accounting and Tax at Bournemouth University, I chose to complete a placement year to build up my CV and to experience what it’s actually like to work in a business environment.
What was a typical day like?
Day to day, my role at PwC differed greatly depending on the projects going on in my team. A typical day was spent collating information on specific tax legislation and then drafting letters, reports and presentations to go out to clients. I spent much of my time on the phone to people from all over the world discussing various topics and trying to assist the managers with finding the answer to a client’s questions.
Were there any stand out moments for you during the year?
Taking care of the summer interns was a real highlight for me. Not only do I enjoy helping other people enhance their skills and develop their career, it also helped me see just how far I had come in the short space of time I had been with PwC.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about an accounting placement?
The sooner you can get some experience and try it out the better. There are so many opportunities for placements and internships to make sure that accountancy is right for you.
The ACA qualification is not only relevant but it looks great on a CV and is, in my opinion, a mandatory tool in progressing in the accounting world. Following my ACA qualification I will have the technical knowledge and experience to consider a manager role at PwC that would be impossible to achieve without ACA or equivalent.
What skills do you need to be successful in this industry?
From my experience, the most important skill that anyone needs to make a success in the finance world is to be friendly, motivated and optimistic. PwC do not just look for people who are technically brilliant, they look for outgoing, ambitious and sociable people who are willing to develop. Many of the graduates that joined with me did not come from an accounting background but they were willing to learn and had very good interpersonal skills.
What have you taken away from this experience?
My confidence is the major strength I have developed since starting at PwC. I am more willing to get stuck into presentations and talk to people in high places than I could have ever imagined. Tasks that I would have found daunting and impossible before my placement are now so much more manageable and reasonable.
Getting a placement was the best decision I ever made. If people have the opportunity to go on a placement year then I would highly recommend they take it. It will be a very impressive addition to anyone’s CV and it really helps you build up your confidence and work ethic before going into your final year at university.