Adaptability and flexibility, analytical skills, and problem solving

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lauren and I graduated in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in Business Management (Accounting and Finance) at The University of Manchester. I am an Audit Associate at EY and I live in Birmingham.

How are adaptability and flexibility, analytical skills, and problem-solving important in your current role?

In audit, no day is the same as another. Some days I work from home, some from the office, and some from client sites, which can be in any city. People who work in audit have to be very flexible and be able to adapt their day-to-day lives to the audit engagement they are working on.

Unexpected events that occur in the course of the audit can cause so many changes to the work that needs to be carried out. For example, I use analytical skills when testing accounts on the clients' financial statements to identify any material misstatements. If I identify that there are any material misstatements, we may need to increase the level of testing that we complete, therefore changing the level of workload.

In addition, there are many deadlines during the course of an audit, which we have to meet. Sometimes issues can arise which result in an increased time spent completing tasks, placing pressure on the deadline. Therefore, problem-solving is a key skill in audit due to the increasing pressures on audit teams to deliver procedures on a timely basis.

How did you develop each of these skills during your degree?

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of my lectures were online. This meant that I needed to be flexible and adapt to a new way of teaching very quickly so as to not let the change in teaching methods affect my degree performance.

I also developed my analytical skills through the various financial reporting modules, where we had to assess a company’s financial statements and evaluate the entity’s performance year on year.

Finally, I developed my problem solving skills through various group activities that I completed as a part of my degree. Working in a group often comes with new challenges compared with working individually and so a lot of problem solving was needed in order to complete the work in advance of the deadline.

How did these skills help you get your first graduate job?

I was able to demonstrate all of these skills to the EY professionals at the assessment centre through the various tasks we were set. I believe that demonstrating these skills helped me get my graduate job, because of the importance of adaptability, problem solving, and analytical skills in audit.

What were the main factors that influenced your choice of first graduate job?

Going into accountancy was the natural next step after my degree. However, when choosing a service line, audit appealed most to me as I believed that it was best-matched to my skillset and I liked the idea that no one day would be the same.