Eamonn Grant, Audit & Assurance Trainee, KPMG
What's your name, job and employer?
My name is Eamonn Grant and I work in Financial Services as an auditor for KPMG.
What does your job involve?
It depends on what stage of the audit you're at. You might be at the audit planning stage where you would be assessing the risks that would come forth in the audit, so we would have to look closely at a client, consider the area they work in and consult previous audits we worked on that would be similar, and any lessons that we could bring forth into our current audit. On the other hand there is also testing, so as auditors it's our job to prepare and assess financial statements of companies. We would look at the numbers and the qualitative information that they present in their financial statements and form an opinion on whether it's true and fair in the view of the stakeholders.
What skills are important to be successful?
When you start off in the audit practice you're usually not going to understand everything naturally, so it's important that you're able to communicate to your team members what you understand and what you need to understand regarding what you're currently doing so that senior members of the team are able to assist you in getting the answers you need. Organisation would be a very important skill to have. Typically, you're working with a number of clients at once and so you need to know what you have to do on each job to minimise the amount of wasted time. When you get past first year you could be leading a team or working with others at the same level. As a result it's important that you're able to work together.
What do you love about your job?
I love the fact that the people I work with, particularly in a 'Big Four' or 'Big Six' company, are around my age. It's a very social company with a lot of events, whether volunteering or a celebration. Maybe the day of an audit you might go for a dinner. There are annual conferences with the Chartered Accountants Society of Ireland so we would all go away on a trip for a weekend, have activities with other firms and get to know each other. It's brilliant for networking as well.
How did you get into your job?
I did Accounting in Queen's University in Belfast. Coming out of there, I wasn't really sure where exactly I wanted to go. I didn't know whether to go for a small firm or a big firm. I had an aunt who worked in a 'Big Six' firm in Belfast and she advised me that it was what I wanted. There's a gradual learning curve in KPMG, which makes it very easy because KPMG provides you with internal classes for all sorts of skills, not just to do with auditing – maybe presenting, organising or timekeeping.
What advice would you give a first year student?
If I could go back and talk to myself as a first year student I would probably tell myself to take part in any projects or group activities that are going on, whether scholarly or extra-curricular, because any of the skills you pick up will stand to you in a professional setting.