Deloitte Assessment Day HELP!!

#1

Hey guys

I know this has probably been done to death but its worth me doing even if it only helps a little. Basically I have a Deloitte assessment day coming up in a couple of days and Im really nervous as its probably my last chance to secure an audit job this year. I was wondering if people could be kind enough to explain what sorts of questions they were asked in the partner interview? Ive been through past threads and got a rough image in my head that mostly commercial awareness questions are asked. Is it worth me remembering any examples for competency based questions? such as “Tell me a time when…” etc? or are these usually not included in the partner interview?
Any other help, tips and advice would be fantastic

Thanks for any help

.

#2

I had my assessment day today for audit at Deloitte.

The e-tray and written exercise part of the day is relatively straightforward to be honest.

As for the partner interview, for the first 10 minutes I was asked to discuss the choice I made in my written exercise (I had to choose between 3 alternative companies that Trafford Lea (the client) could acquire to help them access new markets). The partner pushed me to justify my answer in every possible way, which I think was to make sure I could stand up to pressure.

Next, I was asked about 3 competency questions which threw me a bit because I was also expecting to be asked more commercial awareness sort of questions. The questions he asked were ‘Tell me about a time when you set about to achieve something and failed’, ‘Tell me about a time you had to learn something completely new’, and ‘Tell me about a time when you were put under a large amount of pressure’.

After that nightmare, I was then asked a little about recent news stories and mostly about why I wanted to go into accounting, why Deloitte specifically, why audit, what does the ACA involve and what I thought I’d be doing. I was also asked if I had applied elsewhere and what stage I was at, and then he asked if he gave me an offer would I accept it.

I think the main things to remember in the interview are:
*Keep calm and if it seems like they’re really pressuring you and asking tough questions, it’s just to see how you cope under pressure which you’ll probably find in the job.
*Ensure you have enough general examples to get you through any random competency question that could come up. To be honest I think there’s too many to actually prepare for each one specifically.
*Make sure you come across as actually wanting the job and jump at any opportunity to prove it.
*Find out exactly what you’ll have to do as part of the job and what any professional qualification you do involves. (As for this point, you will go out to lunch with a recent starter before the interview and that’s the best time to ask about the job and exams)

I hope that helps some and I wish you luck.

#3

did you get the job? also do you do fam at notts i recognise your name!

#4

Lol yes I got the job today, and yes I do do FAM at Notts. How do you recognise me?

#5

Congratulations on the job! Thanks a lot for the help mate , it was really useful. I was also wondering whether you were the only one at the assessment day? Ive heard of assessment days where there is only one person

#6

Yep, that suprised me too as I’d been to KPMG and PwC assessment centres and they always had a group of people.

For Deloitte, I was the only one there, I sat by myself in a small room with a laptop to complete the e-tray and written exercises. The administrator just left me to it and went back to work until I’d finished.

It was kind of nice being on my own for the lunch with a second year because it felt more personal and I got to ask all the questions I needed to in order to do well in the partner interview.

I’m not sure if the group size depends where you have your AC.

Good luck,
Brad

#7

Just to comment on the parts of the AC other than the partner interview:

The first task is the e-tray which is carried out on a laptop for 1 hour. You will be given background information on the company that you are working for and the client that you are currently working on. When you start you will have a number of emails already in your inbox. Many of the emails will ask for your advice on something and a lot of these are not clear cut. In fact, sometimes it’s not possible to deduce the answer from information given and you just have to make up your own mind (e.g. when asked if you should put something off because its not a priority or whether you should tackle it straight away). For each email there are 3 potential responses which you have to choose between. Note that some emails have attachments that have information you need to read and manipulate in order to answer questions. You are also given a folder with other information that you will often have to look at in order to answer questions.
You are told that you will be sent about 20 emails, although I went through the task pretty quickly and finished in 45 minutes and I was sent a total of 28 emails, although some of these were just responses that didn’t require a reply.

After this, you will be given a short break before moving on to the written exercise. This task is 50 minutes long and requires you to compose an email on which you will be assessed for the content, language, grammar and construct (i.e. formality).
The task is about 3 potential companies which your client has to choose between to acquire in order to help them access new markets. You are given a range of information and asked to choose which company the client should choose, justify your choice and explain why you didn’t pick the others. I went about the task by talking about the relative advantages and disadvantages of each company and then concluding by choosing what I thought was the best one and giving a quick summary of why I had picked that over the others. In the 50 minutes you also need to make notes on your choices as you will be asked by the partner to summarise the company you chose and to justify your choice. In the end, the company I picked appeared to have the most advantages (e.g. best customer service, good profitability, cheapest to acquire etc.) which I used to back up my choice. The partner may try and push you and try and make you change your mind or he may list some of the disadvantages (e.g. my choice of company was quite old fashioned and may see declining sales in the future) and get you to explain how you could still justify advising that choice to the company. Don’t get flustered over it and just keep reaffirming the reasons for your choice.

After this, you go out for an all expenses paid lunch with a trainee and get to ask all the questions you want that may come up in the partner interview. Main focus on questions should be the qualification, the sort of work you’ll be doing, the reasons why they enjoy their job and potentially Deloitte’s clients that could be mentioned (although it never really came up for me).

I think enough has been said about the partner interview so I’ll leave it there.
Good luck to anyone who’s applying, and let us know how you get on.

Brad

#8

Hey, I’m a t Nottingham too!

Got my assessment day next week!

Thanks for the advice.

#9

If you get Alistair as a partner, he’s a nice guy and apparently the youngest of the three partners but he’ll push you. Make sure you know exactly which company is the best in your opinion during the written exercise and ensure that you can justify it because you’ll have to justify it to death in the partner interview with him. Just stay calm and even if it seems like he thinks you’re a right idiot, he’s probably just testing you and you still have a good chance of getting it if you don’t get flustered and answer all the questions.

Good Luck

#10

Hi, I just had my assessment centre for Deloitte at the Birmingham offices. I see the questions in the partner interview that bradlever put, but mine were completely different to that so I think it really does depend on the partner. I got asked “name a time you’ve had to give a presentation” which was the same in the competency interview and I got asked “what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?”. I also got asked “name a time when you have had to work under pressure in a stressed environment” or something like that. I think the best piece of advice I got before I went in came from the person I had lunch with during the assessment centre. He said to be honest in what you think you’ll be doing in your first few weeks at Deloitte. I said that I thought it’d be mostly observations (when not studying) and would maybe be a bit of a box ticking exercise and my partner said it was very refreshing to hear that as most grads go in saying they think they’ll be advising clients and obv they won’t! Also, I’m guessing the structure of the day depends on what time it starts at - my assessment centre started at midday so the first thing I did was go for lunch. Also, all assessment centres only have 1 person in them and there is no group exercise. I think the most important thing is just to be really enthusiastic about the area you’re going into. I applied for audit and had a massive conversation with the partner about the Enron scandal, which I think worked to my advantage. I found out an hour after leaving the offices that I got the job. You’ll be fine, I’ve been to other assessment centres and this was by far the best - also they love the fact they’re working with the Olympics 2012 so I’d mention that as something that puts them above PWC etc. Good luck!

#11

Thanks for the post and I hope you get the job, by the sound of it you did really well. I’m currently working on a super big post that will contain all the information that anyone could need when applying for Deloitte, so if you have any other comments you’d like to make on any part of Deloitte’s assessment from the application to the AC, that would be useful.

#12

Hey, yeah I did get the job, looking forward to starting! I found the Deloitte process the best out of any others I’d applied to - and I really think the most important thing is enthusiasm and knowledge - in the partner interview I know I didn’t answer the competency questions well because they really threw me as I wasn’t expecting any either! I found at each stage of the application they seemed to ask about the environment Deloitte currently works in - I found a good article about audit… which I now can’t find but here’s a similar one http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/12465140?f=home_featured

I add any thoughts when you post your massive post!

#13

Also, this is useful http://www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/deloitte-andersen-transaction

The partner who interviewed me was an ex-Andersen employee that Deloitte took on and it helped me loads knowing about it enough to hold a conversation!

#14

Who was the partner who interviewed you? I had an ex-Andersen employee interviewing me too!

#15

Hi,

I have my final assessment centre coming up in London on Thurs 21st and am feeling sick with nerves…especially as I applied for audit just over a year ago and failed at this stage…!

From what I remember, the three options were Zambezi for the online retailers and Avalan or something for B2B target…just wondering if this is still the same or has it changed?

Also, if you know of any recent articles detailing factors currently affecting the auditing profession, they would be much appreciated - dont seem to be having much luck!!

P.s. just wondering if they expect you to do calculations, and if so, do they provide a calculator…i cant remember from last year…

Thank you

#16

Hi there,

Ok firstly, in the etray there are some simple calculations (mainly just adding and simple arithmetic) but they don’t give you a calculator. I happen to have a calculator on my watch, but there is also a pad of paper for you to do the sums if you struggle to do them all mentally.

For the written exercise you are advising Trafford Lea on which company they should acquire to give them access to new markets. The first choice is Zambezi Online who trade solely online and have very high profits, but also have a very high purchase price. The main benefit is that it is online which is definitely an upcoming market and provides Trafford Lea with an already established online presence. The second choice is Avalon Book Club whose trade is based on catalogue based mail order. The problem with that is obviously that it’s a retail method that could be seen as on its way out with the increasing use of online retail, however it also has very high profits and the lowest purchase price, along with a number of other benefits. The third choice is Tarrini Books (or something like that) which has a number of physical stores but also an online presence. It is very middle of the road in every category so I mainly ignored it really.

As for factors currently affecting the audit profession, the main one is likely to be the use of IFRS which is a big area of discussion for accountants worldwide. The main points to note are:

  • Since 2005 all listed companies in the EU are mandated to use IFRS.
  • Several other major countries are bringing their national GAAP in line with IFRS within the next few years if they haven’t already done so.
  • The US is now looking to converge its GAAP with IFRS although it may take until about 2014-16 until companies are permitted or required to use IFRS.
  • The US used to require that any foreign companies listed in the US had to provide reconciliations of their accounts with US GAAP, however that is no longer required for companies reporting using IFRS as issued by the IASB.
  • Essentially Deloitte need to keep up to date with new IFRS and be able to inform their clients about it. In future, many of the smaller unlisted companies and SMEs may wish to start using IFRS even though it currently isn’t required as there are advantages in having reports which are comparable with other companies.

I hope that helps, and if you need to know anything else, let us know. Good luck

#17

Re. calculations, as bradlever said they are pretty basic, but I would suggest that you should bring your own calculator just to be safe.

As for issues affecting the auditing profession, very good post above regarding International Accounting Standards. I was also prepared to talk about fraud and the implication for auditors, especially regarding liability: investors and shareholders may look to auditors for compensation to recover the losses from fraud: could talk about Jay Wexler, an investor with Bernie Madoff’s companies filing a lawsuit which implicates KPMG in the UK and the USA: http://www.accountancyage.com/accountancyage/news/2251667/madoff-lawsuit-attacks-kpmg-uk. Report out last Monday by BDO which reported fraud at record levels: http://www.accountancyage.com/accountancyage/news/2255882/reported-fraud-amounts-2bn-2009.

Good luck!

#18

Hi,
I have an assessment centre coming up this week and am getting worried about commercial awareness questions that may come up in the partner interview. I have been keeping an eye on the news, checking FT and accountancy age etc, but I am coming from a non-relevant background so am unsure on my choice of news stories etc and how much I need to know.

I have been thinking of talking about the following companies should I get asked questions on them:
interesting story - Kraft/Cadbury hostile takeover,
company doing well - either John Lewis or Tesco,
company not doing so well - BA

Do these sound ok? Also, do you think I need to know loads of facts and figures or are discussions more general and based on your opinion? Any guidance would be appreciated. The above posts have been really helpful.

Thanks!!

#19

Thanks, got my assessment centre tomorrow

I’ve looked over the E-Tray, I know some stuff about Deloitte, I’ve prepared answers to career questions and I’ve got some Audit issues and business stories to talk about.

Can anyone recommend any other preparation, I’m fretting a bit about being underprepared, or any more questions that they were asked in the partner interview, this seems to be the only bit you can really prepare for.

Thanks.

#20

Star Cat:
I wouldn’t worry too much about the Commercial Awareness questions, you seem to have been keeping well informed about current business issues through your reading. Like you I’m from a non-relevant background and so I did prepare a company that’s doing well (Morrisons) badly (BA) and interesting news story (Kraft/Cadbury). Your companies sound fine…they are basically the same as mine! I knew a few facts about each one: e.g. evidence of a company doing well, such as sales figures/profit figures over the Christmas period. Although I got asked next to no commercial questions at Deloitte, from my experience at other firms it is more about giving your opinion: e.g. when asked about Morrison’s, I was asked what they could do to expand further and the risks involved with those expansion plans. I’m sure you will be fine!

Edpayasugo:

You can’t really do that much to prepare: look over the Civil Service e-tray to get used to the software; the advice on this thread is very useful; look over the competencies that you prepared for your first interview.

Good luck!