How I got hired as a tax assistant at BDO
I’d always liked maths and when I was applying to university I wanted to use maths in whatever subject I went on to do at degree level. A slightly older friend and the head teacher at my college had both done accountancy and encouraged me because it included the skills set I liked to use. It’s important to like what you do to ensure you succeed and develop.
What appealed about BDO?
I was impressed when two people from BDO came to present a workshop at university. They gave us advice about applying for jobs and helped us with our presentation skills. I thought they were very down-to-earth and they really promoted the firm as helping graduates develop through an all-round experience. They told us they offered internships, so I had a look at the website and went from there. The internship application process is pretty much the same as the graduate application process. I came in for an assessment day and had lunch with two of the current graduates. It was good to talk to them and find out what it is really like to work at BDO.
What advice would you give students about the application process?
BDO has four core values – honesty and integrity; mutual support and respect; professional and personal client relationships; empowerment and personal responsibility. At interview stage they’re likely to ask when you’ve been able to demonstrate these values – it’s good to know that they are looking for that difference in graduates rather than just, 'Have you got the grades?' As well as making sure you’re technically good at the work, the interview is also about how you get on with others. Research the company well when applying for jobs or internships. When I did my interview there were a lot of questions around ‘why BDO?’ and the role I’d applied for. If someone is well-researched that will make them come across as more interested in the role rather than just wanting any job. So focus as well.
Where do you work?
Job location wasn’t that important to me when I was applying here but I looked at Manchester because I’m from around here. Last year our firm merged with PKF and we now have more offices. I go to the Liverpool office around once a month – it’s good to get involved with different clients and different work. BDO also has offices all over the world so I know there are overseas travel opportunities if I want to pursue those once qualified. There are also secondment opportunities to work in different countries or in a different stream, say corporate finance, for example.
What’s it like working and studying?
As I’ve progressed there’s more responsibility at work and harder exams but trainees in the year above have done the same thing and ask if you need any help. Managers are supportive as well, checking every Monday to ensure your to-do list is manageable. You have to come home and motivate yourself to revise in the evenings but as I speak it’s only for a couple of months more (I hope!). I’m used to it by now and it’s nearly over! The trainee group here is very social – I work in a young department where we all go out for drinks together – it is nice to get away from work once in a while and leave everything at the office.