PKF Graduate Scheme 2013


Hey guys,

I have successfully obtained a position on the PKF Graduate Scheme for Audit as a Business Advisor in London for Autumn 2013.

Wondered if anyone else has been successful? Do you have an opinion on the PKF/BDO merger? Or have you obtained any information or have any speculations to share? How did you find the recruitment process?

Personally I have been informed graduate recruitment will continue as normal. When employment begins in October I will be working for BDO. Not sure where the office will be as PKF & BDO may move out of their current office to fit everybody into a new office. Not sure of the logistics really. What do you guys think?

Let me know your thoughts.


Congratulations with your offer!

I see the merger as a good thing for graduates as it offers more career opportunities within the company once qualified. In my first interview with PKF I asked them what their view on it is. The response I got was that even the senior managers did not have a strong opinion as they hadn’t been told much of the details of the merger. I don’t see the merged firm being able to compete with the big 4 in the short term, however BDO does audit the a FTSE 100 company.

I have applied to PKF’s Sheffield office for Audit and have my 2nd interview on 22nd Jan, wondered if you have any tips/advice? I have been told to research the hotel industry.

Regarding the application process, they were very quick getting back to me after my first interview. However they took about 2 months to let me know when my first interview would be, granted that 2 months did include the christmas period.


Hi eddieah,

Thank you! Yeah I happen to know somebody who works there who used to go to the same university, he is in his second year of the graduate scheme and he says they don’t know much. And there is currently a lot of speculation. For me I wonder whether PKF will sell their current London office and move into BDOs London office. Or is there enough space, in which case an entirely new office will be needed, or perhaps they will both just stay at their current office. I am interested in this as I want to cycle to work so would like to live within 5 miles ideally!

The information available on wikijobs is great for the PKF 2nd interview although there are some parts I feel needed to be clearer. I will explain the general timetable for the day and the layout of the case study.

  • Arrived at 9am, get sat down in a room with other candidates in front of a laptop, we then complete the online numerical/verbal reasoning tests. These were not the same questions. I didn’t think I did that great in these tests, but I passed them. You know the deal, just read the question carefully and keep one eye on the time limit.
  • Then each candidate was taken and placed on their own in a small interview room, with lots of information; the case study. You are presented with a scenario and your task is to create a SWOT analysis on each of the five hotels presented. Then you are to hand write a letter of recommendation to the board of directors. I think you are given 2 hours for this task, but I could not be certain.
  • When this is finished your SWOT analysis is taken and so is the information booklet with all the hotel information. Then two employees will join you. They will ask you to explain your SWOT analysis on each hotel and grill you on every decision. Eventually they will move onto your letter and ask for your justification for each decision. This lasted about 1hr30mins.
  • Finally they will spend 30-40 minutes talking to you in a more laidback atmosphere, asking you about university, your course, why PKF etc, the same old competency based questions, but much more relaxed than a normal competency interview.

I did not realise that all my work would be taken from me before I got interviewed on my decisions, so I didn’t have very good notes! Luckily I had written a draft SWOT analysis before filling in the piece of paper they give you with my final analysis. So I did have my draft, but it was messy and I had not filled in all the details I did in my final copy. This draft was the only information I had. They asked me to describe my entire analysis, and I had to justify every decision. If I didn’t have that draft I would have been doomed! So my word of advice is make sure to make some seperate notes or make a draft and keep that for the interview part.

Your answers in the analysis do not really matter, all that matters is that you are able to justify your answers logically. Also do not be afraid to say that you would sell a hotel if it is making money, regardless of how well the hotel used to do.

In regards to researching the hotel industry, this does not need to be substantial, and whilst I did make some notes I didn’t use them. Just read up on the hotel industry. Is it declining? Recovering? How did London’s hotel industry fair in the Olympics? It would be advantageous to just have a general understanding of the current state of the hotel industry throughout the UK. Don’t forget Ireland.

This excercise is designed to put you under pressure and see how you respond. As long as your answers are justified and coherent then I am sure you will do well. Stay calm in the interview. Try not to doubt your own answers, but if the interviewer raises a good point that you may not have thought about, then just say. I think they will like the fact you can recognise you have missed something.

Hope that helps! Good luck and feel free to ask any more questions.



Congratulations, welcome to the club!

In my opinion, seeing as it’ll be one large firm, they would have to keep all the trainees and managers together in one location (BDO office) and then maybe use the other office (PKF) for the ‘Internal’ staff.

Out of interest, are you in Audit?



Yeah in audit, I did say at the top :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah thats a good way of thinking about about it, hadn’t thought about it like that. So you got on to the graduate scheme at PKF as well then? Which office were you successful? London? I emailed them a while back to ask a few questions and they said that an an update would be sent out shortly.

Did they give you any information about salary? Wonder how the merger will affect salaries, if at all? I think BDO has a higher starting salary for its graduates.


Yeah, got offered a place last Oct for London.

The estimated salary was mentioned to be around 25.5k, although this will most likely increase to be on par with BDO.



Did you receive post from PKF with the info on the merger?



Yeah recieved the post, explained most of my questions. Looks like they will place everybody in Baker Street and support roles etc in Farringdon, or something along those lines just as you suggested! Did it answer your queries?


I had my AC for PKF on Tuesday. I still haven’t heard back and I’m hoping that doesn’t mean bad news!

The first part was SHL online tests. Shorter than the 1st ones but I still found them hard, so if you’re not very good (like me) then make sure you practice.

Then there was a SWOT analysis and recommendations. I wouldn’t worry too much about the piror research, although if you can include some it will look good. Make sure you can defend your position and answer as best you can. You are doing a SWOT on the company and not each hotel, but it would be a good idea if you have time to make a list of strengths and weaknesses of each hotel in the group.

Then a partner came in and he and the manager from the SWOT analysis asked me a few general questions which were covered in the first interview.

I didn’t get a tour around the office, so hopefully that doesn’t mean they didn’t like me. Everyone was really friendly and nice and make sure I understood each exercise and the questions being asked. Also for both interviews they really try and make you feel comfortable so you don’t feel really nervous or under pressure.

Good luck to everyone applying.

PS - if you don’t get an offer then I know it’s upsetting but DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Take the feedback and use it to improve. Make plenty of applications early on (one thing I’d wish I did!) and just be yourself. I haven’t heard of anyone who’s received an offer from every firm they’ve applied too!



On the whole it did.

I wonder whether they’ll send out our contracts prior to the merger date, so they can lock in the ‘PKF’ salary. After that date, I would have thought that it would have be on par with BDO.


I have recently received an offer for a PKF position, september start, and am willing to answer any questions on the process.



Congratulations, at which office?


Just been offered a Jan start date in Birmingham!! X


It’s for the Birmingham office.


A point that hasn’t yet been addressed, is whether they will still enrol us on the CA course, as according to the BDO graduate site, the CA is only available in their Scottish offices.


Congratulations for @ejan16 and @jp123 !


I think that in the Q&A booklet that was in the post there is a question regarding this. And all students will remain on the same qualification. Not sure whether that is referring to prospective or existing trainees though.

At the moment I still can’t believe that I have graduate employment, when the unemployment rate for graduates is over 70% in the first 6 months from university. I feel very grateful and it seems almost too good to be true! I don’t know about you, but I do not know a single person other person on my course who has obtained a place on a graduate scheme!



I presumed that was referring to existing trainees.

I feel the same as you with regards to getting a job. A number of my mates are really struggling with getting a job, and I only had one firm left to apply to after PKF, so it was a huge relief to get in. What’s kind of ironic, is that I didn’t even get through the application form stage with BDO, so it feels like a back-door entrance into the firm.



Same here, I was rejected at the initial application stage by BDO. Massive weight off of my shoulders though, means I can enjoy 3rd year rather than worrying!



Ive got a first interview coming up soon…would be great if anyone can give me any advice about the sort of questions? Is it largely competency based?

Many thanks :slight_smile:



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