“My current role is as a corporate tax advisor at PwC. I have a portfolio of clients and deal with tax advisory, compliance, provisioning and structuring work on a daily basis. I am also involved in business development and actively assist with the targeting of new markets for the firm to enter.”
What made you want to pursue a career in accountancy?
“I have always really enjoyed working with numbers but did not know what career I wanted to pursue whilst at secondary school. I chose to study mathematics at university as I really enjoyed this subject at school and felt it kept my options open for the future. I did my father's bookkeeping in the family business throughout my time at university and had regular conversations with his accountant who is a partner in a Dundee based firm of accountants. I found her inspiring and she encouraged me to pursue a career in accountancy and study towards the CA qualification.”
Why did you specifically choose to study the CA qualification?
“I specifically chose to study the CA qualification due to the worldwide recognition it receives. The ability to travel the world with the qualification and practice in any country really appealed to me as did the fact that no matter where in the world you are there is always a network of qualified CA colleagues around you. I also enjoyed the dual nature of being able to carry out further study towards a professional qualification whilst gaining work experience.”
How do you find studying for the CA qualification?
“Studying for the CA qualification is unlike anything I have undertaken before. The fact you are working in a full time job whilst trying to study in the evenings can be challenging at times. Having said that, the CA qualification is also extremely rewarding especially the feeling when you find out you have passed your examinations. The support the ICAS staff offer is second to none and you are encouraged to ask questions throughout classes. The volume of material you have to learn can be overwhelming at times but I think it is important to be disciplined and create a study plan to ensure you do not fall behind. I am now preparing to study towards the final Test of Professional Expertise examination which I will sit in November.”
How will being ICAS trained help with your future job prospects?
“ICAS is a world-class organisation and held in high esteem by all in the accountancy industry. I think employers recognise that obtaining the CA qualification has meant hard work, self-discipline and dedication throughout your training contract and this proves invaluable in respect of future job prospects. In addition, the ICAS examinations team cover a broad range of technical subjects and I think employers value that CA qualified individuals are not only chartered accountants but also all round business advisors. This is something I feel is extremely important in the ever changing business environment.”
Why would you recommend the CA qualification to others?
“I would thoroughly recommend the CA qualification to others. I have been in my training contract for approximately 20 months now and have found it hard work but also incredibly rewarding. The technical skills which ICAS teach you as well as the on the job learning mean that you become a true business advisor. ICAS convey the importance of integrity and ethics from day one and I believe it is these core values which ensure ICAS receives world-class recognition, making the CA qualification invaluable in terms of future job prospects.”
What do you like about training to be a CA in PwC?
I really value the support PwC offer to graduates throughout their training contract. During our ICAS classes we are given a block of time out of the office to concentrate on studies as well as dedicated study time in the period leading up to examinations. In addition, PwC are always focused on our development within the firm and, in particular, how they can enhance our experience such as the opportunity to go on the secondment.
Do you get to travel a lot within your role?
Yes, although I am predominantly office based I have been on a 12 week secondment to the PwC St. Albans office just outside London to learn about the firm's corporate compliance process and I am currently on another 12 week secondment working across the PwC Glasgow and Edinburgh offices to learn more about the firm's private business and private client tax offerings.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve been involved with?
I have been involved in a lot of interesting work since starting my training contract, however a highlight for me would be a recent simplification project I worked on where a group of companies were looking to simplify their corporate structure and we were involved in analysing the tax impact of the restructuring.
Do you have any interesting hobbies or activities outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy curling and recently played with a team from PwC Aberdeen in the ICAS networking event at Curl Aberdeen. We are hoping to enter a team in the Aberdeen finance league this September. I am also captaining the PwC team in the Corporate Decathlon in Aberdeen this year and go along to the events when they are taking place. I also enjoy playing the piano and socialising with friends and family.