Tom Cockerham

Assurance Associate, PwC

My typical day would begin by checking my calendar and emails to allow me to prioritise work according to upcoming deadlines. Often, I will then head down to the client site with the audit team to perform the testing that has been allocated to me. Much of my day is spent interacting with client staff, either in meetings or over the phone, to better understand their business and how it operates. I regularly have quick catch ups with my managers to let them know of the progress on my work and discuss issues that arise, to ensure the audit runs as smoothly as possible.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Excellent time management skills.
An enthusiastic and open minded approach to work.
The ability to build professional relationships in a client facing role.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
Having taken a year out from school to decide on my options and travel, I was faced with the decision of what career path I wanted to follow. Having heard what the working life was like from school friends who were already at PwC, the job and the opportunities it offered appealed to me. As a school leaver with a limited knowledge in finance, it wasn’t a career path I had originally envisioned but I am certainly glad that I chose to do so.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I greatly appreciate working for a number of fantastic clients, in various industries, which ensures my work is always fresh and interesting. Additionally, the wide range of skills and the responsibility I am given, will hopefully prove invaluable throughout my working life and career.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
At times, juggling deadlines and professional exams can be challenging, particularly during the busy period. This can involve working longer hours during the winter months when the workload steps up. PwC realise this can be demanding and offer regular social and sporting events which provide you with the chance to wind down and relax after a busy week auditing.

What training/qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
Starting at PwC, you’re offered the choice of either the ACA or ACCA qualification. Popular with school leavers, the ACCA path offers the chance to acquire a leading professional qualification as well as a bachelor’s degree. I’ve currently passed a total of 6 out of 14 exams; with the aim of being part qualified by December 2017. PwC have an excellent study support network and BPP college o er fantastic tutoring, to give you the best chance of passing your exams first time.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
PwC arrange regular recruitment and social events for those who are eager to learn more about what it’s like to work at PwC and their career opportunities. I would encourage anyone who is interested in a career in the financial services industry to get in touch with our recruitment team and have a chat. PwC are interested in applications from people from all levels of educational backgrounds, from school leavers to graduates and experienced joiners too. If you’re looking for the best start to a career in finance then look no further!