The insight programme was largely enlightening into how auditing works, I was given a wide range of work being done. Whilst at the beginning of my placement, I wasn't given much work to do, this changed fairly quickly on my next client job. This allowed me to experience many different processes involved in the job.
When I first arrived at the office, everyone was very welcoming and treated me as an equal. I was invited out for drinks after my first day and everyone was very sociable and offering their help and support almost immediately. As the programme progressed, I was treated more like one of the team rather than an add on for a few weeks with my opinion being valued as much as anyone else's.
During the first 2 weeks of the programme, I felt largely disappointed with the amount of support given. Whilst the training was helpful for practicalities, it did not give an overview of what the job entailed. Upon arrival at my first client site, I was given jobs with very little explanation as to what was required and why they were being performed. Following this, I raised this issue with my performance manager who then ensured that my next two client jobs were more guided. The following jobs have been more guided and I've learnt much more from them.
One of the skills I feel I've enhanced the most from this scheme is the ability to communicate my ideas and struggles efficiently which I feel is largely important during my degree to be able to converse with lecturers/tutors any problems I may be having. Also, I feel this scheme has largely enhanced my employability as the responsibility I've been given and quality work I've been completing will help me in future jobs and interviews when discussing my previous experiences.
I feel the structure of this scheme was largely successful. The values day on the first day was largely helpful in learning the technicalities of the job i.e. IT equipment etc but did not provide insight into what the job would entail. Following this, we were told we would be able to view where we were booked (i.e. what job and whether we'd be at client site or in the office) on their SAP system. However, this vital information was not available to us (IT problems) making it stressful to know where we were meant to be, having to ask whoever was around to check for me. On the other hand, it was well structured in that I worked on a variety of client types all for at least a week with review meetings put in between.
The atmosphere at KPMG is largely light and enjoyable with even more senior staff being approachable and friendly. They were always arranging some sort of social event and trying to make it an inclusive environment for all the collaborate. As I visited during the summer months which is audit's quiet period, colleagues were finding it hard to be motivated at times but they all aided each other in getting the work done to the best possible standard, keeping the atmosphere fun when possible.
I feel like KPMG have invested a lot of time in training us to the best possible position within 4 weeks. We attended a KPMG values day to tell us more about their ethics and the importance of independence and compliance with the code of conduct. This gave us an idea of how important it is to act correctly whilst on the job and reminding us that we are representing KPMG whilst out on client site. Also, we attended a corporate responsibility day discussing KPMG's projects in the local community. This was useful in gaining a broader image of how KPMG function nationally and how they volunteer to improve the lives of others.
From this experience, I feel like I am fully equipped in deciding whether KPMG is a firm I would feel suited to working for in the long term. I have experienced a large variety of work and feel as though I now understand what an auditor does on a day to day basis. Whilst I was not completing work at the same level as someone in a qualified/full time role, I feel that KPMG gave me the best possible insight that they possibly could.
We attended many events that gave us insight into KPMG's corporate personality and what their short term and long term goals are. They believe it be vitally important to act professionally and to realise when it is necessary to escalate a situation that is beyond your capability and this was clear from the offset. They believe firmly in an inclusive environment for all and are always looking for new ways to help in the wider community.
While the work given may not have been truly representative of the work I would be carrying out as a full time employee, it allowed me to subconsciously shadow my superiors to see what sort of work and responsibility they carry on a regular basis. Regardless of whether the outcome of this was positive or has eliminated such a career, the scheme has definitely aided me in establishing exactly whether this sort of work is suited to me or not.
We were paid for the month on the salary of a starting audit assistant which was largely reasonable and definitely acted as an incentive to gain as much as possible from the experience. Furthermore, for any travel incurred we were reimbursed if it was over 30 minutes away from home, which is very helpful considering the amount of travel that is involved in auditing to visit the client site. We were also given an allowance for lunch based on whether we were in the office or not.
There were plenty of opportunities to socialise and network with other employees. After the first training day, we were provided with drinks and joined by employees from other departments to discuss opportunities in other sectors except from the department we were joining for the scheme. Also, at the corporate responsibility day we were able to meet employees from other offices to give us an insight into any community work available outside of audit.
The events were largely enjoyable and a good way to break social barriers that may have been a hindrance during meetings/working together. As vacation students we were invited to every social event possible and encouraged heavily to join them. I felt largely welcomed and was not treated as inferior at any time. They really helped us feel part of the team and to fall into the job much easier.
As mentioned earlier, the corporate responsibility outlined all community based projects that they work on and how we can get involved in those during the 6 days allocated to volunteer work annually. Further to this, at the values day we were encouraged to join their committees/societies to improve the working environment for KPMG employees. They highlighted the importance of working inclusively and helping those that are more vulnerable or need more assistance.
I would most definitely recommend this scheme to a friend. It was an amazing opportunity to experience audit first hand and working on all your own work papers with as little or as much support as was necessary depending on the individual. It was a very enjoyable way to boost your CV and make you more employable.