• Name: Zain Shabbir
  • Job Title: Junior Assignment Leader
  • Location: Canary Wharf (London)
  • University: Southampton
  • Degree: Economics and Actuarial Science
  • Type of Qualification: ACA
  • Areas of Specialism: Generalist
PKF Littlejohn

I joined PKF Littlejohn in August 2019, as part of the Financial Services division. The work that I do involves auditing insurers and insurance brokers. I am also sitting my professional ACA exams. I have currently sat 12 of the 15 ACA exams and am hoping to qualify as a Chartered Accountant in the summer of 2022.

What attracted you to your role?

I studied actuarial science at university and developed a liking to the insurance sector. I wanted to combine this with accountancy, so I looked into ACA and ACCA graduate schemes when I graduated. When I came across PKF Littlejohn and noticed that they were hiring within their Financial Services division, it seemed to be a natural fit for me to apply for the role.

The application procedure involved multiple stages, such as numerical and verbal reasoning tests, alongside a phone interview and finally an assessment centre, comprising of a group task and a face-to-face interview with a manager and partner.

What skills are useful in this sector/profession?

One of the most useful skills to perform well within audit is to be adaptable. This is especially clear in using technology – from the audit package that we use for clients to Microsoft Excel. This will be able to demonstrate an ability to quickly analyse large forms of data which will drastically improve the efficiency of the audits.

Most of the time you will be part of an audit team involving a manager, partner as well as potentially other associates. Therefore, ensuring that you communicate effectively with those both above and below you, as well as relaying information to and from the client, is paramount in being successful as an auditor. It is also important to have good people skills and be able to work with colleagues and clients from a wide range of backgrounds.One of the sayings we have here is that ‘we work with people not numbers’ and that certainly comes across in the way that we operate.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

The best piece of advice that I was given when I started work was to be curious and always ask questions; there is no such thing as a bad question. It is vital to demonstrate professional scepticism, so by taking a genuine interest in a client, we can ensure that our audits are true and fair.

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