Received offers from PwC and Deloitte Manchester Audit 2015 intake

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#1

Hi everyone,

I was heavily reliant on Wikijobs when I went through the processes at PwC and Deloitte so I thought I’d set up this forum to summarise my experiences and to give people the opportunity to ask questions.

Online Tests
I found Deloitte’s online testing to be more challenging than PwC’s because of the critical thinking test. I actually bought a package off jobtestprep so I could practice this because there’s not a lot available online to practice and it was pure panic when I did the mock test. Pretty embarrassing I know but I’d highly recommend it to people who aren’t 100% confident they will pass it. A career at either of these firms is a fantastic opportunity so you don’t want to fail because you didn’t prepare well for the online tests. There’s more than enough free tests you can do online for numerical and diagrammatic so if you practice these then you should be fine.

Pwc Telephone Interview
I think this experience will vary significantly depending on the individual. People who can talk fluently and confidently about almost anything might not need to prepare as rigorously as someone who likes to be in a position to respond well to everything. I went about this by making a list of all possible questions that I could be asked and then I made points on each one to prompt me and fit in with the STAR format. You can probably guess which bracket I fall into.
There’s loads of forums on here where people have listed what questions they were asked so if you’re like me then go to the depthssssssssss of Wikijobs and list as many possibles as you can. Alternatively, you can look at PwC’s or Deloittes’s key competencies and make sure you have a few examples for each.
For career motivation, make sure you nail these questions in all of the interviews. If you come across like you don’t know that much about what you’ll be doing or you don’t provide good enough reasons for why you’re applying to the firm or that specific role then you’re not employable. You can ask me about this on here or you can message me but you can research all of this online.
Questions that I can remember being asked are:

Time when I gave a presentation.
Time when I implemented a new idea
Time when I worked under pressure/managed different deadlines
Time I had a different opinion to someone
Time when I built and maintained a relationship (I think for this one she explicitly asked for it to be someone outside the scope of my usual duties/activities)
Why I was interested in PwC
What professional qualification will I be working towards
What do I expect to be doing in the role
Talk about a recent news story (After I think I was asked how this will impact PwC or how PwC can lend its services)
How I keep up to date with the news

Be prepared for follow up questions such as:
What did you learn from this?
What would you do differently?

Deloitte First Interview
I found this more stressful than PwC’s telephone interview because half of the interview is based around a case study which you receive on the day so preparation won’t do you much good here. However, I do recommend that you make sure you’re able to do basic calculations like percentage changes before you go. For people that have done business, accounting, maths or anything like that at degree level or even A-level then you should be fine but obviously not everyone is that way inclined when it comes to analysing stuff numerically. If you want me to go into more depth on the case study then feel free to message me.
About half way through your interviewer will hand you a piece of paper which shows projected monthly customer visits in two different store locations. There’s also a line which shows you what proportion of visits lead to a sale.You’ll be asked to work out the ANNUAL difference in sales for the two locations. After you’ve done the case study you’ll be asked quite a few follow up questions. I don’t think there are right or wrong answers for this so just make sure that you answer sensibly and are able to justify your answers.
Competency style interview was supposed to follow the case study but my interviewer said that he wasn’t going to bother because I’d probably gone huge on Wikijobs or Student Rooms trying to find every question ever asked (he wasn’t far off). Believeeeeeeee that panic and sweat patches followed this statement. Anyway I was asked to just talk about something to which I sat there in bewilderment feeling the circumference of my sweat patches get larger. After I got over the initial panic it was fine, just make sure you have a really robust example which you can go into quite a lot of detail for. Try and link it in with the competencies that Deloitte are looking for in it’s employees i.e. teamwork, leadership, agility, etc.

PwC Assessment Centre
This was actually quite enjoyable but I imagine that it could be a whole different story if you’ve got absolute whoppers in your group who want to take over everything.
You start off with paper versions of the online tests you did earlier in the process. You only get 20 mins for these exercises and it can be quite time pressured so make sure that you prepare well in advance. Again, you don’t want to bow out of the selection processes for these firms because you failed the aptitude tests.

The individual written exercise is by far the most difficult task you will have to do when applying to PwC. I can’t stress enough how important time management is for this. I think you get 30 mins and you have to write a report discussing the pros and cons of different government initiatives. Everything you need is in the documents which are given to you so no need to worry about preparing for this. I structured my report as follows:

Introduction - What I will be discussing in the report

Initiative 1 - Pros
- Cons
Initiative 2 - Pros
- Cons
Initiative 3 - Pros
- Cons
(I used bullet points for all the pros and cons)

Conclusion - This is where you write down your own recommendation as to which is the best option along with a short justification.

You only get two pieces of paper for this task and I’m pretty sure you’re not aloud additional paper. If worse comes to worst and you’ve spent too long reading and you don’t have enough time to pick out points for all the options, quickly scribble anything down but make sure that you provide your recommendation.

The group task isn’t anything to be worried about. Make sure you read the instructions carefully before you start and keep a note of the time.
The task is basically to discuss different options for reducing the negative environmental impact of certain business processes for a client.
You all each get a booklet of information as well as an individual piece of paper containing an option which is different for each person. The info booklet will contain details about the company and the industry. Try to pick out key points such as some of the risks facing the industry and how this may affect your decision when choosing between the different options. I think some options are eligible for Government grants so keep a look out for this.
You’ll need to work out the expected payback and whether the costs are within the budget which is given to you. If you are unsure about this then feel free to message me or there will be loads of stuff online about calculating payback.
Although this may sound stressful, I think the most important part of this task is the actual group discussion. When you’ve all finished reading decide how you’re going to discuss everyone’s options (few mins for each person). When it’s other people’s turn to talk about their option, make notes and look like you are taking on board what they are saying. Provide input where necessary but never dominate conversation. Don’t be that guy with the cavalier attitude that thinks he’s going to be a FTSE 100 chairman in 10 years.

PwC/Deloitte Partner Interview
The reason I’ve condensed this into one is because I think that this is entirely dependent on the partner you get as opposed to following a specific format.
Although my experiences at both these interviews varied significantly, I think the main purpose of this interview is to determine whether you would fit in with the team and whether you are the type of person which could represent PwC or Deloitte when meeting clients.
I got owned by the partner at PwC which I think I deserved because I put Deloitte on their application form by mistake hahah (he picked up on it).
I got an E in my General Studies at A-Level and did quite well in my other subjects and this was something that he really wanted to get to the bottom of. I responded to this which was followed by “no, no, no, I’m intrigued, tell me how you went about getting an E in General Studies”. So I think this highlights the importance of knowing your application inside out and to be prepared to answer for anything negative which might stick out.
As I mentioned earlier, the importance of having a good understanding of the role and why specifically Pwc or Deloitte is massive here so make sure you spend a lot of time on this.
Certain things you might want to talk about to make the partner think that you’ve done your research and that you’re serious about this career path could be:
Mandatory audit rotation - big risk facing all the Big 4
Changes to audit exemption threshold which means businesses who once qualified for audit might not need one anymore

Try not to come across as robotic and timid. The more relaxed you feel and the more you’re able to build good rapport with your interviewer then the better the chances of you receiving an offer.


#2

Congratulations on both offers first of all, just a few questions:
Did you do a related internship? If so how important/relevant is it?
How do you go about learning more about their clients?(I checked their website I can’t really find any information on it)
Or better yet where abouts on their website should I look to try and be more commercially aware?

Cheers


#3

Cheers!
Which firm and office are you thinking of applying to?

  • I didn’t do an internship at a Big 4 firm but I spent about 9 months working in an accounts department in a company close to my home (I wanted to save money and get a nice car lol).
    I wouldn’t worry if you don’t have relevant work experience. If you give good examples for all the competency questions and sound passionate about the role/firm then this should be enough.

-Yeah agreed this is tough. If you want to be able to talk about some of their clients I suggest typing in on Google ‘FTSE100 auditors’ and you should be able to see who audits the biggest companies on the LSE.
Alternatively, if you know any big listed companies then you can find their annual report which will have an auditors summary and chances are it will be one of the Big 4. If you want to find out what clients you can expect to work with in specific regions like Manchester then I suggest getting in contact with someone at the firm because I dno how else you could find that out.

  • Have a read through their annual reports where you should be able to get an idea of some of the risks facing the firms and their individual services as well as how they’re performing. You could also have a look at their transparency reports which show some of the things they’ve been doing to improve their impact on the environment and how they’re driving change in society.
    For PwC, read up on their work on ‘megatrends’.
    Follow all sortssssssss of boys on Twitter such as:
    ICAEW, ICAS & ACCA
    Accountancy Age
    Financial Times
    The Economist

#4

St Albans Deloitte, Milton Keynes Pwc, Reading EY, Reading KPMG. And others I am applying to 12 in total, not all of them accounting firms.
So did you take a gap year after graduating then?


#5

That’s a lot of applications lol.
Yeah mate graduated last June.


#6

Hi mate,

Congrats on your offers! Can you please tell more about PWC group exercise, like how the discussion started, in which way it flew, what was the main thing while choosing a company, etc?


#7

Cheers mate

You’ll be taken into a room with your group where you will be told by one of your assessors what the task will involve. I think he/she just reads out the instructions sheet which is in front of you. This sets out how much time you will have, things you should be considering when differentiating between all the options (pros, cons, how long it takes to get the projects operational, etc).
After these have been read out to you, the task will start and it’s up to you to decide how to organise yourselves for the duration of the task. In theory, the discussion should start with one of the group members suggesting a plan of action. For example, someone could say *I think it would be a good idea to spend the next 20 mins reading through the materials and summarising our specific options, this will leave 20 mins for everyone to discuss their options and come to a decision as to which is the best one".
You obviously need to be keeping time during the task so you know when to start discussing. I’d suggest everyone to look at the time as opposed to a designated time keeper.
When reading time is over, it’s now over to the bravest member of the group to volunteer to discuss their option first. I think it’s best to keep it concise, hopefully you will have made notes whilst you were reading which will act as a script for you to use. Firstly, you should try to summarise the idea you are putting forward without using too much of the technical jargon which will be in the reading material. State what the payback period is and whether it’s within the proposed budget. Discuss the pros and cons, so for example if it’s comfortably under budget, you have a margin for error which will be beneficial if the project brings hidden costs down the line which you haven’t budgeted for.

Hope this helps.


#8

Thanks for detailed reply! plz check ur pm


#9

Congrats on your success!

I would like to know more about the individual report. I have not done anything like it before and I am not sure if the example on assessment day is similar to the actual PWC one?

Thanks


#10

Hi Swole Trader, great insight and advice you have given there! Please could you give more details of the Deloitte case study including what follow up questions were answered? Was a calculator provided at any point? Also, was it just ONE example that Deloitte wanted you to use to cover all competencies (at first interview)? Thanks in advance!


#11

First interview the interviewer caught me off guard because it wasn’t competency style he just asked me talk about a project. Yeah just one example.
In terms of what behaviours they are assessing, it would be reasonable to assume that they are assessing all of their core values which you can find on their website. So think of an example and try and link all of these behaviours in to it, even if you have to lie which I did.
The problem with this is though that you’re going to be asked follow up questions so make sure you are well prepared for this before you go in. These questions will be dependent on the example you give but they are almost certainly going to ask what would you do differently? Was it a success? etc.
In terms of the rest of the interview, the first half will be based around the unseen case study which is given to you. You can’t really prepare for this and it’s not that difficult, just make sure you are aware of the time and you’ll be fine.
Yeah you get a calculator, he/she will give you everything you need and then leave you in a room to work through it. Make notes so you’re not relying on memory. Perhaps bullet point key things on a seperate sheet of paper instead of highlighting stuff just to make it easier when you’re on the spot?
Probs looks good if you do some calculations so you could work out the percentage increase/decrease in sales or the percentage difference between two locations, that sort of thing.
Hope this helps.


#12

That has really clarified things for me! Thanks very much for your detailed answer. I’m thinking about using the 3 peaks challenge (climbing Ben Nevis, Scafel Pike and Snowden in 24hr) as an example, including the organising of fundraisers around it etc… My only issue is that I’m worried they might want a more technical/academic example. What do you think? What was the basic premise of your example? Thanks again, your answers help more than any amount of forum searching can!


#13

Thank you very much my friend :slight_smile:


#14

Damn, didn’t see this post mate my bad


#15

Thanks soo much for this !! Im having a senior interview next week with PwC !! Can you recall any specific questions asked in the interview ? Did they ask any competencies based qs ? if so did thye recycle it from the telephone interview ?


#16

Just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this. Really helpful.


#17

Specific questions I can remember:
Time when I managed different deadlines
Time when I produced a high quality piece of work
Three areas Id like to improve

I remember being asked why I chose my university and course so make sure you have an answer for that before you go in!
In terms of similarities with phone interview,
One’s done by HR and the other by a partner so yeah there’s a good chance that some questions will be used in both
Good luck!!


#18

Sorry for late reply, don’t worry about nature of the example, if you can link it in with competencies it will be fine.
I think they’d probably prefer an extra curricular example anyway because they might see straight through a workplace example that has been doctored for the interview.

Mine was a workplace example hahah but was quite a big project that I did so was able to talk about time management, collaborating with colleagues, completion, presentation skills


#19

Thats good to know. Well mate I can’t tell you how much your answers have helped me prepare, so thanks a lot. Best of luck with your first year in a big 4 and hopefully we’ll essentially be colleagues soon!


#20

Hi, congrats on your offers! Any advice for the work style questionnaire for PwC Assurance? Not quite sure what PwC are looking for in candidates!