#GradStories Brian Kelly, Tax Associate at PwC Ireland
What are the main tasks you do in a normal week?
My main job is to assist managers with client engagements. As part of that I have to assist them and the clients on audit and internal prevention work which might involve improving the clients processes and controls.
Liaising with revenue under the mangers is also important. The first few years in your graduate programme is spent learning from your managers' experience in as many client engagements as you can.
What skills do you need to be successful in your role?
Two of the most important skills you can have are effective communication skills and good organisation skills. When you're part of a large team and you're getting many requests from many managers, you need to keep a good to do list. You need to keep track of what you have to do and when you need to deliver it.
You also need to make sure your managers are aware of what projects you're working on if you're working with them to ensure that they have oversight on the progress and the state of play.
What do you love about your job?
What I love most about my job at PwC is the culture. There's a good culture of encouraging young, inexperienced graduates to speak freely about their ideas, to improve efficiency or how a team operates. Senior management is always eager to hear ideas from graduates.
There's also a culture of helping people. Even if you have a question for someone who you've never spoken to, most people are more than happy to help you with your query.
How did you get into your job?
My background is not in finance. I have a degree in science from UCD. I knew I liked numbers, I also liked the life sciences. I decided to go into science thinking I would go down the physics or biology route. As I progressed through college, I found myself veering towards finance. I did some research in my final year about jobs available to science graduates. I never thought I'd get a job at PwC having studied science but they want people from all backgrounds because we can bring something different to the table. PwC want bright young people with lots of potential to turn them into strong professionals.
What advice would you give to a new graduate?
Try as many things as possible, keep you options open. What most companies look for in graduates is the ability to learn. Have they done well in college? part time jobs while at college are also an advantage. They show that you have good time management skills and can balance work with study.
What's the one skill students should develop if they are interested in this sector?
Interpersonal skills are very important. College is a great opportunity to meet as many people as you can. Partake in events, clubs and societies. I worked in a bar in college so I was in a highly social environment. I had to learn to deal with customers and learn to work well in a team which is very important at PwC.
How have you adjusted to working from home?
My adjustment to hybrid working was pretty seamless. I began in November of 2020, I was fully remote for the first seven or eight months. The adjustment to going back to the office for one or two days was fine for me. I was fortunate that I lived close enough to the office that I could walk there. PwC has a very good flexibility programme. You can start an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier. So there's good flexibility options which managers have no problem with.
My advice to people working from home, especially if they're starting out is to get involved as much as possible, ask as many questions as they can and keep an open line of communication with their team.