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  • Name: Philip Paterson
  • Job Title: Risk Assurance Manager
  • University: Bristol
  • Degree: Economics & Finance
  • Areas of Specialism: Audit and Assurance

Philip worked for a dot com start-up company before joining PwC and gaining his ACA qualification. Now he works as a Risk Assurance Manager.

Why accountancy at PwC?

Recently, whilst drying off in the baking heat on a resort island in the Maldives, after swimming with a graceful Green Turtle and a plethora of brightly coloured fish, my colleague and I were trying to work out how we got here. We were helping a client evaluate whether a new business venture that they had recently entered into was right for the global brand and if the company had implemented appropriate controls to manage their risks effectively.
I guess this doesn’t sound like accountancy, however, this is exactly where PwC has brought me…
When I left school, I went to work for a dot com start-up at the height of the boom…. and straight into the bust. I could see from the beginning that it wasn’t going to work, they just didn’t collect cash fast enough. Frustratingly, I didn’t feel like I could influence the outcome and I decided that I wanted to do something that would help me make a difference. The next step for me was university and the ACA qualification.
Looking back, I am very proud of the decision I made as it has enabled me to build a robust platform for my future career. Couple this with PwC, with its quality of training, people and the blue chip client base, I got an interesting and challenging mix.

What is different about my role?

Rather than joining PwC through the traditional route, I enrolled in a joint Audit and Risk Assurance scheme. This enabled me to gain all the technical and business skills from audit and combine them with a solid understanding of how businesses manage risk through systems and internal control. The ability to talk finance, systems and controls with senior management, especially as our clients become increasingly reliant on complex systems, is a skill that is highly valued.

How has my role evolved over the years?

My early years were focused around understanding how businesses report their performance and how successful organisations are built. The great thing about accountancy is that you are never constrained to one industry, company or country. Some of the projects I have worked on so far include:

  • Supported a new acquisition in West Africa develop their processes for reporting revenue (I also got to sit on a crocodile!).
  • Helped a mobile operator in the Caribbean implement a central Revenue Assurance function to reduce inefficiency and increase the quality of management information.
  • Assisted many of my clients in understanding their shared service centres, regaining control of finance and demonstrate the value of transformation.

Advice for future graduates

  1. Be distinctive. It is a very competitive market place and being interesting enables you to have engaging conversations with future employers, colleagues and clients.
  2. Do what you are passionate about. My passion is the ICT sector and I get to work with some of the largest, most innovative and most interesting organisations in the world and enjoy every minute of it (my wife does get a little tired of it though).
  3. Challenge your comfort zone. It is all too easy to get caught up in the moment and not recognise opportunities when they are presented to you – both personal and professional.
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