What’s your name, job title and employer?
My name is Michelle Mulligan, I'm an audit trainee and the firm I work for is Mazars.
What are the main tasks you do in your job in a normal week?
There's a range of different tasks that I would do on a daily basis depending on what stage the audit is at. During the planning stage you'd be requesting information from the client, you'd be preparing the audit file and the approach that you would take to test those balances. During the fieldwork stage you'd be generally on-site with the client and dealing with the finance team and documenting the evidence that you've received and then the completion stage is the finalisation of the audit process and that's where you would end up with the final product which is the audit report.
What skills do you need to be successful in your role?
I would say the main skill that you need to have would be good project management. You're going to be juggling a number of different things so obviously if you want to pursue a career in accountancy you are going to have lectures to attend and assignments due on top of your work and then you will likely have social engagements and things as well. You definitely need to have an ability to allocate your time to all of those different things and as well as that then you need good communication skills and that works both upwards and downwards, upwards to managers and partners and then downwards to your peers and the other trainees as well.
How did you get into your job?
My degree was German and intercultural studies, so it wasn't financed based whatsoever. When I entered the workforce, I was working for one of the big banks, so I was in that finance, professional services environment and then I decided to pursue accountancy. Having a second language is always a great skill to have. I haven't applied it directly in my role so far however Mazars is an international company and there are opportunities when I qualify to travel to other countries and to use that that skill at that stage so it's all it's always good to have.
What advice would you give to a college student?
When you work a part-time job, as a lot of college students do, even small things like resolving an issue for a customer, you can apply that into your professional life as well when you progress to that stage. All of those skills that you are developing during your time college are important and they'll help you in the long run. For anyone who is looking to pursue a career in accountancy, something to pay attention to you would be the modules that you would pick or the percentages that you need to get in those modules in order to get exemptions from the accounting the exams later on. It'll just really help you if accounting is something that you want to pursue. It'll save you a lot of time and effort if you've if you've done that research and put that work in at an early stage.
What do you love about your job?
My favourite thing about being an audit trainee for Mazars is definitely the people that I work with. My intake are a very close-knit group of people and it's great to have those peers there that are sharing the same experiences and maybe facing the same issues that you are. Another element of working for Mazars is that you don't generally feel that hierarchy of senior management and partners. Everyone's very approachable and its really benefited me to be able to work closely with those kinds of people and pick up skills from them that will help me advance my career as well.