PWC Tax intake 500 word essay question example

Grant Thornton

I recently applied for a role in Tax at PWC. I passed the psychometric tests but unfortunately failed at the essay stage. However, I must say how commendable and efficient PWC are with the application process everything is processed very quickly. Anyway although I failed I though given that wikijob has helped me so much I would provide my answer to help people get an idea (of what there not looking for I guess). Nevertheless, got a Grant Thornton interview coming up and just submitted a Deloitte application so watch this space.

Imagine you are working at PwC. If you could choose an ideal client to advise, who would it be? Your ideal client does not have to be a current client of PwC
In answering this question please provide us with answers to the following

  • Who is your ideal client and what services do they provide
  • What services and advice could PwC offer this client
  • What commercial/industry issues are affecting this client in the business market that should be taken into account when providing them with advice?

The emergence of new technology in media related industries are at the forefront of my interests. The Sony group is the fifth largest media conglomerate in the world, and focuses on the Electronics, Game, Entertainment, and Financial Services sectors. Sony is quoted on the Tokyo, London, New York and Osaka securities stock exchange. PwC can and does offer Sony the statutory audit required by law for organisations quoted on the stock exchange. Investors can trade with confidence safe in the knowledge the audit has been completed by one of the world’s leading professional services organisations. PwC look beyond the numbers whilst completing a statutory audit and explore further services options using their years of experience and tailored knowledge of the sector and economy.

As with any global organisation tax efficiency is also an area Sony should maximise. Sony has historically undergone regular restructuring, which in part includes becoming as tax efficient as possible. The PwC tax management and transaction services structuring functions could advise on this matter. The efforts to manage tax obligations and keep up to date with regular changing compliances can be demanding on Sony. PwC’s corporate compliance service could free management time to focus on Sony’s performance. Sony operates globally and as such transfer pricing is a major part of managing the business. PwC’s consistency in being ranked the leading transfer pricing group ensures such services would prove invaluable to Sony.

Within its development functions Sony also has the opportunity to claim tax relief on research and development costs. For instance, with the government decision not to progress further tax benefits to the gaming industry it is important Sony takes advantage of existing reliefs. Similar relief is also applicable to the costs of film production Sony incur. These areas could be examined by the PwC research and development tax relief team, determining eligibility, level of relief and advising on the increased HMRC scrutiny of applying for these claims.

Researching and developing technology in the competitive sectors Sony operates within means secure information and intellectual properties are vital for competitive success. PwC’s award winning ‘OneSecurity’ service drawing on 30 years of experience addresses strategy, people, process, technology and compliance and would mean Sony could be safe in the knowledge that their information is secure.

Environmental issues are a key consideration for organisations operating in electronically based markets. Society is becoming increasingly informed and selective about organisations environmental credentials. This is something PwC would need to take in to account when providing any services, and something the sustainability and climate change services function of PwC could focus on. Additionally, various sales tax increases across Europe in response to the global recession could affect Sony’s operating strategy. PwC would be able to advise on strategic implications of the change on consumer demand.

The above are only a selection of the services PwC could provide. Given the global complexity and diversity of the markets in which the Sony group operates, such professional services would be significantly beneficial.

End …


Hi Simon,

I am just about to start writing the answer to my question for PwC so this post was really useful- thanks. If I could maybe offer some constructive criticism…

You’ve obviously done a lot of research into your chosen company and this pays off well. I’m no expert but you seem to have covered all of the bases and answer the question fully. The only thing I would say is that PwC will screen the essays for spelling and grammar etc. I found a few small grammatical errors in the essay, which could’ve been picked up. I think next time just make sure you get someone to proof read it because it is annoying when something this small can stop you from getting through to the next stage. I hope what I’m trying to say sounds ok! It’s just that other than that little thing I thought your answer was good :slight_smile:


wow really, I had it prove read as well, maybe their grammer is as bad as mine. I’m glad its helped you. I have a finance director read it over and he was really impressed and said he though I would get through. Do you mind giving me some details as to where the mistakes are please just for future reference. How you doing with other applications where and what are you applying for?



Your essay is fine, grammar wise. However I think you should not copy and paste from other websites.

“The Sony group is the fifth largest media conglomerate in the world,”

I thought the sentence sounded a bit strange, and not something most people would write, and I was correct - straight off wikipedia.

Just write how you would normally, do your research and then construct your essay.


Ok it was just a couple of really minor things…including:

  1. “Society is becoming increasingly informed and selective about organisations environmental credentials”.
    Here organisations should be written organisations’ because it is belonging to them.

  2. When you talk about PwC it should be as a single entity not a collection of things. e.g. instead of “PwC look beyond” it should be looks beyond. There were a few inconsistencies with regards to this.

  3. "Researching and developing technology in the competitive sectors Sony operates within means secure information and intellectual properties are vital for competitive success. "
    I’m really not sure about this sentence but maybe I’m just reading it wrong…

That was it really, I think. Basically I think it could read better at points.

As for my applications, I’ve only applied to KPMG, Deloitte and PwC so far. Got a face to face with Deloitte coming up. Really need to apply to more lol. Good luck with yours :slight_smile:


Ohhhh no.

I just got invited to write the essay for Headstart generalist. I cant come up with anything like that?!!?!?


This one is quite simple, you just haven’t answered the question. From quickly reading that. You haven’t shown:

  • Who is your ideal client and what services do they provide

(You’ve just given me a brief intro on them but not really told me what they do, this should all have been in the first paragraph where you highlight exactly what they do and why they are your ideal client)

  • What services and advice could PwC offer this client

(I remember answering this question and apart of the brief says what ‘services’ hence you should have seen that only mentioning TAX service line wouldn’t be enough. For mine I mentioned 4/5 totally different service lines and didn’t even mention anything on the service line I was applying for)

  • What commercial/industry issues are affecting this client in the business

(you covered this one well)

From reading this I get the feeling you don’t really understand the breadth of service PwC can offer. I never really felt you told me why they were your ideal client but more how Sony does XYZ, not to mention your conclusion was also weak.


Do you have to include why you chose them? I was thinking it may come up in the interview so get it out the way?


Brachioz you do not. It doesn’t say anywhere in the questions so you don’t have to include it. Seriously stick to the points they make AND MAKE SURE you actually answer them.


Thanks Letom!


Thanks for slagging off my essay Letom lol. Although I didn’t get through so I guess its not the best. Reading back the other day I thought there were parts that didn’t read well. I understand your point about not saying enough about what PWC do, but I thought I covered a variety of service lines. The first I mention is auditing but perhaps it was a little focused on Tax related. The annoying thing is I knew this but its just hard to cover enough in 500 words. One thing I would say is I tried to get it done in day as it was xmas and I had family commitments and they only give you 5 days to do it. But I have latter found out there not strict with the 5 days, you can take a few days longer. Anyway I’m sorted with a job now.

I take it your working for PWC letom?


Does your essay sound “too good” to be true. Honestly, as a school leaver applying for the Headstart scheme, my essay starts off with “Not so long ago, X was considered a leading retailer of W,Y and Z”

It sounds professional, but maybe they thought a graduate couldnt write it?



I wasn’t trying to slag of your essay, though reading I guess it was a bit too much. I understand they’re was time pressures (as there always is when apply for jobs) but the first thing you should always do for essays or anything like this is once you’re done read the question and ask yourself have I fully answered the criteria. The exercise really isn’t about showing you have in depth knowledge of the a field but about you as a person with respect to clients.

Well done on the job! I’m starting at PwC next September hopefully :slight_smile:


Hey guys thought I could help. I recently did the essay for tax also and was successful. My essay was only 345 words so I don’t think the amount of words you write is important. I just stopped when I thought I had covered all the points.

My first paragraph was only 62 words and was just a brief summary of the company. Read your essay it seems very technical. Mine was very simple. I literally started it with “My ideal client would be company x.” I then wrote about which sectors they were present in. That was it for paragraph 1.

I did actually give a reason I chose the client but it was very brief and once again simple. I just said I chose them because I have long been a customer and am familiar with their services. I purposely chose a company present in more than 1 sector to have more to say. I linked this to the number of staff and require human resource tax services and other tax services.

The third paragraph spoke about how as a public company they must be audited and PwC could provide this service. I also went on to briefly discuss a major problem and how PwC could help in addition to mentioning a potential expansion on the horizon. Here I just threw in a few more, literally just mentioning them (consulting, corporate finance, actuarial, strategy blah blah blah)

I think the most important advice I could give would just be to be very transparent. Don’t make them have to trawl through your words for an answer.
For example “Who is your ideal client and what services do they provide?”

Answer: “My ideal client is X and they provide services in blah blah blah”

Dunno if that helps. Hope so. Worked for me… maybe they were just happy that day???


Hi Simon,

I’ve also applied for Tax and am awaiting an interview, and just wanted to give some support as I think it was quite a good answer!

However, I do agree with Letom to an extent on some points…

My main one would be that it is quite important to mention most of the lines of services, focusing more on the one that you have applied for, but it is so that they know that you have done your research and know about the firm and what they do.

I understand about the word limit, I had to cut mine down by 600 words! (I also did something on the video game industry actually, snap!) It is a horrible, horrible task, cutting out information that IS relevant is difficult. Therefore, my advice on that would be, you have to be really harsh with yourself. Read it and ask yourself, how much is that adding to my answer? Is it an absolute necessity and are other points more relevant?

For example:

“PwC’s award winning ‘OneSecurity’ service drawing on 30 years of experience addresses strategy, people, process, technology and compliance and would mean Sony could be safe in the knowledge that their information is secure.”

This comment is relevant and applicable, but “drawing on 30 years of experience addresses strategy, people, process, technology and compliance” - if this were cut, would it change the meaning of the comment entirely? In addition, it sounds like something that they have on their website - this implies that they know this already and don’t need it to be reiterated to them.

Congratz on getting a job! I suppose this won’t be immediately helpful now, but I hope it is in the future. Where are you working if you don’t mind me asking?

Oh, and with PwC’s application, I have a sneaking suspicion (which another member on here noted as well) that the first three stages, i.e. application, tests, and ideal client, are all automated and are reviewed all at once. I only mention as it may have been some part of the tests that held you back, but I’m not sure how you are with them, so just throwing it out there!

I do also agree with LA123 on transparency, but there is a need to balance simplicity without sounding dumb lol.

Anyways, I hope this has helped someone!


Good points. Also agreed :slight_smile:


It is all automated.

I didnt do all the tests, only the student talent Q’s but got them all by automated emails.


@LA: Thumbs up

Perhaps I should have reworded that, I’m aware that it’s all automated (it’s hard to miss it on the emails) but what I was insinuating was that they do not review your application, test results or ideal client essay until you have completed all three stages. I have yet to hear of someone who has gotten rejected at the application or online test stages this year (PwC introduced a mildly modified application process this year) and I thought it was strange that they asked me about gaps and academic results only after I had submitted the ideal client essay as this was information found on my application.
But it’s just a theory.


I think its automated in the sense that you get the tests straight away but I don’t think they send the client question out if you don’t pass the online test. As with some others I’ve done I think there is a standard pass rate and if you reach it the client question is automatically sent. I don’t think you can fail the online test and still be sent the client question. There would be no point. I think the whole point is to save time for us and them and that’s why the format was revised. This is why I think they don’t bother looking at your results until they know you have the minimum testing requirements.

I read a thread today which suggested someone didn’t get through to the client question although not much was said about it.:

I’ve heard this automated thing is quite good for practice. Someone on one of these threads said you can set up dummy accounts and just practice the test which is something I’m considering as I have my assessment centre Monday and need practice.


Not sure if this helps but you can be rejected after your tests, I’ve known people who havnt gotten to the client question.