What it's like being a graduate in audit at KPMG

One of the global professional services firm's recruits tells us how she's found her three-year programme

Katherine Emburey joined the firm's three-year audit graduate scheme in 2011 on completing her degree. Here she tells us how she's found it.

I'd always been interested in working in finance, even before starting university, and studying economics confirmed to me that I wanted a career in this area.

I chose to go into audit because I liked the idea of seeing inside businesses and dealing with people in business on a day-to-day basis.

I also chose audit because it would mean I'd gain the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), a globally-recognised accounting qualification that most graduates in audit at KPMG take over their first three years at the firm. I'll qualify later this year.

On my first day after my initial training, I went to a client site. It felt like a big step, but everyone else on the team there helped me to get used to the work.

I'm in the investment management team, where we work with a range of different clients, from large asset managers to small hedge funds, which I like because you learn different things from different clients.

For example, with big clients you get exposure to a household name business with lots of different issues that a small company might not have, and have many team members around that you can learn from.

When working with a small company, by contrast, you might get more responsibility and get to know people at the client organisation better as you'll be in a smaller team. I'm currently in Geneva as I'm working for a client whose head offices are here.

In your first year, you work on the simpler areas of a client's income statement and balance sheet. In your second and third year, you move on to more complicated areas like revenue or share-based payments. I've always been surprised at just how much knowledge and experience I've gained after each year I've been here.

I really like the way in which my work is interspersed with going to college and studying for exams. The two ways of working complement each other very well - when you're at college it's a change from work, and when you're back at work it's nice not to have to revise for exams.

We do sometimes have to combine working with revising, which can be challenging, but we're always given time off just before an exam for final study.

Just because we're often out in teams at client sites or at college doesn't mean that we don't get to know other people at the firm.

We have lots of team meetings and training, and social events around once a month, including a Christmas party and a party to celebrate the end of our busiest few months, which are January until April because of all the year-end accounts that have to be done during this time. These could be drinks, or activities like go-karting.

When I qualify I could progress further in audit, or go on secondment to another department. Every graduate at KPMG is assigned a performance manager, so you can discuss your goals with them and they help you get on the path to achieving them. I feel I can also chat about my future at the firm with any of the more senior people I work with.

There are so many opportunities at KPMG - it really is a great place to be.

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