Pkf 2012


Hi people,

Has anyone went through the application process with PKF? I have just sat the tests, anyone else just sat them? How did you find them?

Also has anyone had their assessment centres of interviews yet? What can I expect? Any tips would be so appreciated!

Thanks :slight_smile:


Hey, I’ve got my final assessment centre on Thurs. I had the initial interview before Christmas, it was really standard but i’ll answer any specific questions you have…


Wow congrats for getting that far! You must be really happy.

Just wondering how long after the tests did you hear back from them? Also do they re-test both tests at the assessment centre and are they basically the same tests?

What is the next stage after the tests? What sort of questions did they ask you in the initial interview and by initial you mean telephone interview, right?
Did you have to do a case study and what does that involve?

Many thanks :slight_smile:


PKF is application > online tests > face to face interview > assessment centre.

It was 2/3 weeks between completing the tests and being invited to interview, this was back in late October/ early November though and as you can see the process has slowed considerably since then.

The face to face interview was in Farringdon (their London Office) with an assistant manager and as I’ve said they asked all the usual questions based on the competencies on their website. For example ‘when have you struggled to get along with a team member’, ‘when have you underachieved?’, ‘what did you choose your A-levels/ degree?’, ‘what do you know about the qualification?’.

The final stage is re-tests, a case study and a final interview. As far as i’m aware the case study is information about a fictitious company that you have to prepare 4 recommendations for.


Do you know if the final stage re-tests are the same as the tests you sat before?


p.s good luck for Thursday and come back and let us know how you go on!



I think the manager I had my first interview with said they would be the same but shorter.


I just sat my tests yesterday hopefully they get back to me sooner than later!

You wouldn’t happen to know roughly what salary pkf offers?


monk_keys how was ur assessment centre??


sorry guys it has been postponed, but i’ll post feedback when I do go.


I received an offer for a grad position at PKF in Liverpool last week and so thought I would post about my experience and the process…

After sitting the online tests, I received and email inviting me to attend a first interview, this was at the office to which I had applied and with two audit managers.
I found the interview really quite relaxed and was really based around the application form. Questions included:
Why PKF?
Why mid-tier over big 4?
What do you know about ACA qualification?
Why accounting?
Why chose uni and course?
Modules at uni
When have you worked as a team?
How did u deal with difficult members of the team/ how did you overcome problems?
What do you think you will be doing in your first year?
How will u balance working and studying?
Hobbies and interests
Opportunity to ask questions… (this is where you can show off that you have done your research on the company and show a real interest in life with the firm… mention social events, secondments, progression etc.)

If you do your research on the company and the qualification you should find all the other questions relatively easy to answer, try and give a range of examples when answering questions surrounding teamwork too give a rounded view of you as a person.
You really dont need to worry if you havnt participated in lots of things at uni (as I havent) draw on experiences within your course that involved working as a team eg a presentation or group coursework and part time jobs.
PKF seem big on client relationships so try and bring in examples where you have had to do this.
Also PKF offer secondments and encourage staff to participate in these once qualified to broaden experience so be enthusiastic about this as it is a really good opportunity not offered by many other mid tier fims.

Key is to show personality and smile alot, I feel I had a good connection with the managers that interviewed me and I think this really benefited me in terms of feeling confident and relaxed during the interview.
The interview lasts between 45mins and 1hour and I was contacted the next working day to ask me to attend the next stage.

The second interview consists of verifying online tests and working on a case study (on the hotel industry in the UK) which you are able to prepare for in advance of the interview and take notes with you.
My research was centred around opportunities and threats in the industry at the moment and in the future (olympics being an opportunity for example and the growth of budget hotels a threat), I looked at potential strategies and trends.

The online tests are similar to the ones sat after the application stage however slightly shorter, some people have said they may have been the same as the first ones but mine were defiantly different and I was worried if I had passed! So make sure you practise online if you (like me) are not the strongest at the tests.

I was then taken into a room and briefed on the case study by one of the audit managers that was at my first interview, it was nice to see a familiar face and made me feel more at ease. The manager really went out of his way to make sure I understood what was asked of me and to make sure I was comfortable- something I think gave a really good impression of the firm.
I then had 75 mins to prepare a SWOT analysis based on the hypothetical hotel chain that had 6 hotels all with various problems- some profitable, some with huge loans, some loss makers etc. I found the SWOT quite easy and had quite alot of ideas particularly for the opportunities and threats, try to link your research to the case study though as it is not a SWOT of the industry but of the hotel chain itself!!
The second part was to prepare a letter of recommendation to the directors on three factors that you believe could be improved. There are no right or wrong answers as you will be told in the brief, however you reallyyyyy need to be able to give a good justification as to what you say.
I was worried that my spelling would let me down in this task however I think the written exercise is just a base for talking points in the interview rather than for assessment of spelling and grammar.
After 75 mins the manager and a partner returned, firstly the partner introduced himself, he was lovely, really friendly and put you at ease, again giving me a positive image of the firm. He then asked questions about my SWOT in which i gave examples that I had written down while trying to build on them and justify using the research I had done prior to the interview. Try and maintain eye contact, dont bury your head in the papers.
I got a realllllyyyy good grilling on why I has recommended the things I had, so be prepared! I was asked what I would do with each of the hotels- this threw me a bit as I did not expect to be asked on individual recommendations for the hotels. However its important to think logically- play to the companys strengths- if its a money maker encourage the firm to capitalise upon the opportunity. If its a loss maker dont be afraid to say you would sell the hotel (as this is something I didnt consider and had to be prompted towards saying it) Try not to sit on the fence, give a recommendation even if it sounds like an unlikely scenrio its better than saying nothing as long as you can give a justification. Try and think outside the box too this will impress.
I was asked to talk them through what the balance sheet, income statement and cashflow statements may look like (as i am an accounting student they obviously expected me to know) but if your not i guess they prob wont ask that question.

I breathed a sigh of relief when this part of the interview was over and i could go back to talking about me!
Questions were similar to the 1st interview and there wasnt many of them. The partner did most of the talking in all honesty giving me examples of places he had been working- he had just got back from China, and telling me about the opportunities that are available and the type of clients ill be working for.
At the end of the interview I was told that should my results of the online tests be verified then they would love to offer me the job!
I was obviously veryyyyy excited and slightly shocked (and praying i hadnt screwed up the tests)

I received a call from Mairead the next day formally offering me the job, which I took and my contract was delivered the next day!!!

I would really encourage people to apply to PKF as they really do seem like a supportive firm and a good place to work, i found reviews online from graduates and they all ranked PKF very highly!

I dont start until January so my salary hasnt been confirmed yet butI was told this year it was between 17,500 and 18,500 which im guessing is for a regional office.

If anyone has any questions, ill try my best to help!




Surely not 17,500-18,500? I thought it was more around 27,000?


Liverpool and you think it would be 27,000? No way…I doubt even London is that high for PKF…

ACA trainees except London pretty much get a renowed crap starting salary for ANY accounting firm…


I’m afraid not, only for big 4 London.

PKF London is ~£25,000


Congrats scholesy90 on your offer!

Your post on your experience was extremely helpful and your advice got me to the assessment stage (I applied for Audit 2012) and three weeks later, they replied to me telling me it was unfortunate I did not get the office I applied for… but they offered me the option to go to the alternative location which I gladly took up!

Reason for this was my interviewees at the original office I applied for apparently felt that it was a a close call between myself and another candidate and they settled for the other candidate in the end because they were local to the area. I was very happy to be offered the new location since it really was my first choice. HR then arranged a meeting for me to see the new location’s team and I was told it was not an interview but a chance for me to meet them. I met the partner and manager 5 days later and they made it clear they weren’t going to cover old ground since I’d been through the selection process and really just asked me to tell them about myself and a chance for me to know them.

I spoke about myself, history etc and asked many questions regarding the training, the job and just general chit chat. I also discovered that the vacancy for this office suddenly sprung up because the candidate who got it did not get the university grades… Lucky for me but unlucky for him. Throughout the 30 min meeting/interview? I thought I had the job offer and this was more of a formality meeting. Thus the questions I asked were sometimes slipped out as “when I start next week…” but generally I spoke “If I get the job, where would the training firm be based?”

Two days later HR called me and said I did not get it :frowning: which was really gutting, since I genuinely thought for a whole week from the original phone call, to the meeting, to the rejection that I had a job in the bag! I was franticly looking for a house to live in since between the rejection and the supposed starting date was only 5 days. I guess the partner and manager in the new location did not like me in the end…

When HR called me and gave me the news and feedback, it was not very satisfying, being very vague as usual but I was in too much of shock really ask or probe questions. After composing myself I called them again and they again said my overall performance in the assessment day (and not just the most recent meeting with the team) was not good enough. This led me to think if I did not perform well in the original office, why would they refer me to the new location? Therefore it must have been the meeting at the new location which I tripped up, failed the personality test… or maybe I appeared too confident since I thought I had the job, or maybe it was something I said I will never know!

Worst bit is telling the people who have congratulated you thinking you’ve got a job so. What I learnt from this is even if you have gone through the entire selection process as described on their recruitment page, it is not final until you have signed the contract! Hope you guys out there won’t make this stupid mistake like me!


Congratulations scholesy90 on your offer and that’s a real shame yikesyikes2 about your experiences. I recently got offered a training contract with PKF and wanted to say thanks scholesy90, your advice was very relevant and helpful, the advice for the assessment day was great and the detail you put in was excellent. For anyone who is applying to PKF, the advice above is great.

My experiences were much the same, after getting through the application stage I was invited to online tests. I bought a package online to practice them as I’m not a huge fan of the tests, this worked well for me, to get used to the timing.

After the online tests I had the first round interview which as other people said was very relaxed, a lot of smiling and being talkative. My interview was with a manager and it seemed like he was genuinely interested in finding out about me. All PKF’s skills are on their website and as long as you have some examples, this interview is fine.

The next stage was the assessment day before which I had been sent an email saying what the day would include, online test verification and a case study. For me as for others it was on the hotel industry and they recommended researching the industry for a short while before the big day. On the day it was just as they said, online test verification and then 1 hour 15 to prepare a SWOT analysis and advice for the Board of Directors. The time flew by and I hadn’t finished writing my letter of recommendation when the time was up. I was then, like Scholesy90, given quite a grilling. It was tough and I didn’t think I’d gotten through it, so I felt thoroughly depressed at the end of the assessment day!

Five days later I found out that one of my online test verifications hadn’t been verified so was asked to retake it, I was pretty surprised when I found out it was the verbal and not the numerical! I retook the test that day and the next day was rung to be offered the position.

PKF seem like a very friendly firm and everyone who I have met has been down to earth and nice, I’d definitely recommend applying for them!

If anyone has any questions, I will try my best to help, but like I’ve said before, the advice is really already on this page!

Good Luck to everyone applying!


Hey everyone, thanks for all of your input!

I have my first round interview for audit on Friday and i was just wondering if anyone got asked any commercial awareness questions about recent business topics? or was it all based around the application form and why PKF and the qualification with competency questions?

Any help will be greatly appreciated


I don’t think so, although I did get asked what I read in the papers recently. They go through commercial awareness really thoroughly in the final stage so it’s unlikely it will come up but best to be prepared anyway.


Just wondered how you got on at the interview.

I’ve just been notified that I’ve passed the tests, so will be attending the first interview within the next few weeks and want to make sure I’m well prepared.