How did you end up in the audit industry?
I started studying at Aalto University School of Business right after upper secondary school in 2013. I ended up choosing accounting as my major, which out of all the subjects had felt the most like my thing when studying for my entrance exams. Even at that stage, it was clear that for me, auditing was one prospective career option and that I wanted to have the chance to challenge myself in the industry by completing a traineeship. In my fourth year of study in the autumn of 2016, I ended up applying to PwC for a trainee programme and soon after, in January 2017, I started working!
Straight away having started as a trainee, I was really excited about how many like-minded people I met among the other trainees. The substance of the work was excellent as well – I was able to join in on client projects within my first week. The work was immersive from the start and my skills and ideas were trusted.
After my four-month trainee period, I got a permanent position from PwC. As I was still studying, I was able to organize things flexibly so that I worked part-time and could take time off to write my master's thesis.
What does your day-to-day work entail? What kinds of skills do you need in your position?
I currently work at PwC in Private Company Services as a manager. I have a very diverse body of clients, ranging from well-known family-run corporations to startups, as well as a listed company and some foundations. My day-to-day work entails guiding and planning the work of my audit team members, as well as a lot of communication with my clients. At this level, I already have a lot of responsibility for the progress of our work, reporting to client management, and the profitability of assignments. In practice, a large part of the work we do is problem-solving with our teams and clients. You must have the right attitude and good nerves.
One of the most important skills in my role is a strong understanding of accounting and corporate law, as well as industry standards. Of the skills I learned in my time at the School of Business, I consider the basics I learned in accounting courses to be the most important, because the basic information about income statements, balance sheets and the basic principles of accounting really do take you far!
Auditing is essentially project work, and, at an early stage, project management skills become paramount in one’s day-to-day work. In addition to mastering Excel, it’s important to master the basics of business communication, for example, as assignments involve a lot of communication with clients or foreign teams.