Savvy research on the firm is vital before you apply to Dixon Wilson, especially when it comes to answering the ‘Why us?’ question either on the application form (which you can access via the 'Apply by email' button) or at your interview. We’ve put together four pointers to get you started.
1. Unlike most firms, when you apply to Dixon Wilson you do not apply to a specific area of accountancy, such as audit or tax, as graduates work across several disciplines. After you have submitted your academic record – you will need at least a 2.1 in any discipline and 300 UCAS points to be considered – the application form asks you to explain your reasons for considering accountancy, so make sure that when you answer this question you demonstrate that you are not solely focused on one specialisation. For example you could refer both to the business knowledge skills working in audit will give you, and the analysis skills you’ll pick up working in tax.
2. The website boasts that there are many professional prizewinners in the ranks at Dixon Wilson – and two thirds of the news items concern recent awards. This is obviously a firm that looks for high achievers. Therefore, at your peril ignore the section asking you to list any special achievements – and don’t worry if your achievement is in something non-accountancy related as it will still demonstrate that you aim high. If you’ve had more than three months off at any time since graduation the Dixon Wilson recruiters are keen to know what you did with your time, so again, if your time off resulted in any special achievements or the acquisition of new skills, now is the time to mention it.
3. The firm is 130 years old (it was founded in 1888) and is proud of the fact that some of its clients have been on the books for over 80 years. All accountancy firms will look for interpersonal skills, but at Dixon Wilson they will be particularly interested in how well you communicate, both verbally and non-verbally, due to the commercial importance of maintaining these longstanding relationships. One of the tasks at the assessment centre is a written exercise that involves writing a letter to a client, demonstrating that Dixon Wilson is looking for graduates with excellent communication skills. For some good tips, see our article on communication skills.
Other interview questions have included:
4. It is a medium sized firm, with offices in both London and Paris. You should already know this if you’ve looked at its profile, but bear in mind the implications of size and international outlook during the application and interview process. The application form asks you what in particular appeals to you about Dixon Wilson, and past interviewees report being asked about the challenges they think a firm of this size might face in the marketplace. Spend some time considering this. What advantages/disadvantages would a firm this size have over a Big 4 firm? How would having one office in the UK and one in France affect its capabilities/opportunities?
- Which types of tax do you think concern our clients?
- What are the largest costs on the income statement for our clients?
- What do you think you will be doing in tax/audits/accounts?