What is your real experience of working in audit as a graduate trainee?/What is a typical day like?/What did you do in the first year?
Audit is not particularly fascinating. On your first job you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing and if you’re not working with a great team, you’ll find yourself making it up! Very soon, you know exactly what you’re doing and it no longer holds any interest. The above poster is indeed correct. The 2 main areas you will look at are cash an fixed assets. This primarily involves checking bank statements and invoices. Thrilling as you can imagine.
A typical day very much depends upon with whom you are working. Some teams/managers are great. Some aren’t. Most people you won’t have met before so you do not know what to expect on your first day at a job. Some managers tell you up front what they want you to do and leave you to get on with it and time manage yourself. Others will only tell you one step at a time and expect you to update them every time you complete a task.
Some managers don’t care what hours you do as long as you get the jobs done, others expect you to stay late whether you have work to do or not. Further, the client itself makes a massive difference. Some hate the fact you’re there and are uncooperative because of this. This will have a massive impact on you as you often have to work quite closely with the client to gather information and gain an understanding of the infomation provided.
As such, there is no such thing as a typical day but the role you’ll perform does not vary in the first year. First year’s do A, B and C, second year’s do D, E and F and so on. Thus, you will do the same task several times for different clients.
How much time did you spend on the exams?
Each firm has a very different structure for their ACA exams, ours is very intensive. However, regardless of how long you have to do them, a typical day will be about 9 -4/4.30 in college and then maybe 3/4 hours each evening of further work. You will also have to work about 9-4ish on the weekend in order to get the volume completed. You do’t have to do this of course but you will very quickly fall behind if you don’t. I know other firms structure there courses quite differently, often affording more time so perhaps this requirement wouldn’t be so arduous but I cannot comment on that.
You complete 12 exams within the first year. 6 knowledge papers, which are mulitple choice and 6 written papers. We spend a total of 18 weeks in college in the first year to cover all these exams.
How much use of technology is involved? ie. time spent staring at computer screens?
However many hours you work = ours staring at a computer screen. For me personally an average day is about 8.30 - 6.30. No one tends to take a lunch break so an average of 10 hours a day. However, on some jobs you will stick to your 9-5.30 whilst on others I have worked 8-11. Bear in mind that these hours don’t include travel time.
I don’t know what other kinds of technology you might be thinking of but your lap top is the main thing you’ll use.
How much travelling is involved? And what is the furthest place you have gone?
Distance is really not an issue per se as, if it is a certain distance away it will be an away job so you will stay in a hotel close to a client site so there will not be a huge amount of daily travel involved just the journe at the beginning and end if the week.
However, there is generally always an element of travel varying from the city itself to anywhere in the country. It is not unfeasible to spend about 2 hours each way each day travelling, often due to traffic conditions. This is often exacerbated for me as I don’t have a car, which I would say is a must. On average, a client will be 45-60 mins from the city centre, but this also depends upon where you live as most people live out of the centre. AFter very long days this can take its toll and it is really this part that I most vehemently dislike about my roll as some sites are quite awkward for me to get to. Persoanlly, I quite enjoy the away work but I’ve only had one or two away jobs where as some people are practically away all the time and they don’t like that so much. Once again, this is due to personal taste.
I would note that you are very rarely in the office. You are constantly having to adapt to new environments, new people and new teams. This does add a level of interest but can also be arduous as there is no routine and you have to build up relationships very quickly. This is good if you’re with a bad team/client, as you’ll only be there a short time but not so good when you’ve built up a rapport with people who may never work with on another client.
This does sound quite negative I know but personally I feel there are few glaringly obvious good points. No auditor I’ve met is particularly passionate about their job and this makes it difficult also as it sometimes feels like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. However, it is a secure job at the moment and the qualification will open doors for you. I love my fellow grad intake and we regulalrly meet up and at the end of the month, you get paid.
I hope that answered your questions.