UK: Myth-Busting A Career In Accountancy: It's Not All About Numbers

Entering the "real world" of work can seem a daunting prospect. On the first day, your mind is swimming with questions: What will my colleagues be like? What will they expect me to know? What time should I leave on my first day?

In most cases, you've already made up the answers in your head before you take a single step in the office.

The reality is most of your assumptions are going to be way off the mark. And if my experience so far has taught me anything, it's that there's nothing to be worried about.

I've been working in the Global Employee Services (GES) team in Aberdeen for about nine months now; and it's lived up to everything that I had hoped for.

At the same time, it's also shattered many of my misconceptions about what it means to have a career at Deloitte – or even in accountancy for that matter. 

Here are just a few of them:

You need to study accountancy

One of the biggest misconceptions about a career in accountancy is the idea that you need to study the subject at university. Truth be told, I set out to be an accountant. I was lucky I had a clear idea in my head of the career I wanted to pursue, which can be half the battle sometimes.

But among the grads in our Aberdeen office, there are few who decided to study it – or even one of its closely-related disciplines. One of the best things about the team in the North East is the diversity of the people. Most of them come from other areas of Scotland or from further afield. It's expected that you're not going to know much, if anything, about accountancy or tax on your first day and you're encouraged to ask as many questions as possible.

Your first day is day one

A talk from a former student of my university course inspired me to apply for an internship position at Deloitte in the summer of my penultimate year. They were an incredible four weeks, giving me a real insight into what the culture of the firm was like and what the role I hoped to undertake entailed.

Luckily, it directly led to my job in the GES team the following autumn. But it's worth interning at a company before applying for a job – it will let you know what it's really like to work there and give you a much better idea of what to expect. Whether you know people already or not, you'll be assigned a buddy to help you through the first year.

It's all about numbers

When I tell people what I do, they have a mental image of me sitting at a desk all day in front of a spreadsheet. Of course, there are numbers to deal with – it's accountancy after all – but what's more important is the ability to communicate, provide insight, prioritise and develop expertise.

In my first year at Deloitte, I've worked with a range of clients, some regular and others on an ad hoc project basis. Likewise, I get to work for clients on the employer side and on the employee side. The variety has been one of the best things about the job, and I'm constantly picking up new skills. Never be afraid to ask a question or put yourself forward for something you've never worked on before; it will broaden your knowledge and skillset.  

Your job is just about work

They say work gets in the way of life: but that shouldn't be the case. One of my favourite things about working at Deloitte's Aberdeen office is the experiences I have and the people I meet. We have a great social life outside of work and an open culture in the office.

On top of the client work, until recently I was studying for my Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) qualification. Assuming I pass (fingers crossed!), I'll go on to take my Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) exams. The firm has given me plenty of time off to study and paid for all the courses. I've also become involved with graduate recruitment and our green team, helping to minimise our impact on the environment. There's plenty to do beyond the usual day-to-day work!

Over the course of my short career, I'm really proud to have completed my exams and integrated into my team so well. But the best thing of all is walking home on a Friday night, looking back over the week and thinking about how much I've achieved in just five days.

Global Employee Services in 40 words:

Employment issues are incredibly complex and constantly changing for multinational businesses. The Deloitte GES team works with multifaceted tax laws and labour regulations across the world to help companies transform their global employment programs in a tax and cost-efficient way.

Like the sound of life at Deloitte? You can apply now for a graduate or summer internship position in the GES team. Find out more information here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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