Joe W.

Manager, Financial Services
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Joe W.
Physics
Physics
Undergraduate
Alcuin
2011
United Kingdom

My employment

Manager, Financial Services
EY
United Kingdom
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)
2011
27500

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A day in the life of a Manager, Financial Services in the United Kingdom

Working with the smartest colleagues and most prominent clients on a daily basis

What I do

As a Manager in the Financial Services Assurance practice, I am primarily responsible for delivery of audits of Insurers, Asset Managers and Pension Schemes, as well as delivering a number of consulting projects such as advising on acquisitions or new legislation. I am there to ensure a smooth delivery and a key point of contact for our clients, usually large or FTSE-listed groups.

Skills I use and how I developed them

In the first few years at EY, I developed my technical skills. I learnt how businesses and specifically insurers work, and how accounting and financial reporting plays an important part in their success.

As I have progressed, I have significantly developed my people skills, both in managing the teams on my audits (upwards of 20 people) and in working with clients with a range of backgrounds, from FTSE CEOs to junior accountants in small businesses.

What I like most

I enjoy working with my clients, really understanding what they want and need. There isn't a textbook, it is all about connecting with people and then doing the best to serve them and deliver what they need, when they need it.

If I am allowed to name two things, I also genuinely enjoy the people I work with. EY is full of smart and curious people, and every day you learn something new about how to do your job and develop as a professional from the people around you, something unique to the Big 4 in my experience.

What surprised me most

The first couple of years were in line with expectations - what really surprised me is the speed of progression to managing large teams and being a client handler. The job very quickly evolves away from being technical, which is what I thought it would largely be, to really being a people-facing role.

How I looked for work

I found it through the Time Top 100 Graduate Employers website in 2010, having been directed by the York Careers Service.

How I found out about the job

Time Top 100 Graduate Employers

The recruitment process

The recruitment process is an initial interview followed by an assessment centre. I applied in mid-2010 and by August 2010 had been made my graduate offer to start in September 2011.

My career goals when I graduated

I didn't have a specific goal when I graduated, other than that I wanted to do well. I perhaps thought I would be better suited to a technical career, having graduated in Physics, but since then have really enjoyed managing people and working with clients.

My career history

I have now been at EY for 5 years. Over that time I have progressed from an Audit Associate through Audit Senior and was progressed to Audit Manager in 2015. This has given me a good route through learning the ropes to managing a team and clients in a relatively small period of time.

What has helped my career to progress

Being willing to put my hand up to take on as many experiences as possible and get to know as many people as possible. You need people to know your name and associate you with being a self-starter, and the opportunities will then be easier to find. But if you don't ask, you don't get.

Courses taken since graduation

I have studied with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2014. This is required learning for an auditor, but has also helped developed my broader awareness of the industry.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

Right now I intend to continue with EY in my service line - each year it is possible to continue to widen your experiences and skills without moving. I also hope to spend some time working abroad, which is something that is easily offered by EY.

My advice to students considering work

Start early. I got my job offer a year ahead of starting with EY, when there were still plenty of opportunities available. The later you wait the harder it gets.

Having said that, don't set your heart on a career too early at Uni. There is no need, it can come later.

My advice about working in my industry

Apply for internships. I didn't actually do one myself, but as time has passed this has become an increasingly good route to get a taster of the industry and also make yourself stand out from the crowd. Everyone has the same mix of University experiences on their CV, so you need to work to make yourself stand out.

Contacting me

I am happy to answer questions or give my thoughts on any topic related to employment.

I think I can be most use to students with a similar background to my own, looking for a career in Finance or Accountancy, and in particular in the Big 4.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Joe’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Joe a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Joe to be your mentor.

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