We caught up with Bright Network member Simrath who is carrying out her Industrial Placement at EY as an Assistant Tax Advisor. Here she shares her experience of her time as an intern and what it’s like to work at this prestigious professional services firm.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at EY?
I’m currently studying Accounting and Finance at the University of Liverpool and in my spare time I enjoy volunteering, travelling and mountaineering. I am currently taking a Year in Industry to work in the Tax and Financial Services department at EY. I’ve been working in this role for nearly the full year, and it’s been really great. The only previous experience I had with Tax was a module at university – but now, through working Monday to Friday 9-5, I’ve learnt so much.
What kind of training have you received? How have team members, managers or firm leaders supported you throughout your programme?
Training is highly valued at EY and we’re encouraged to go on external courses as well as develop skills internally. I’ve started working towards a professional qualification and the modules I have completed have helped me develop my tax and audit knowledge. I’ve also done training courses in London in different areas of Tax; like VAT and business tax.
Throughout the programme, the management team have been very supportive. It doesn’t matter if I’m asking a silly question or a tax related question; they’re always really friendly and very happy to help.
How has this role, and the experiences you’ve gained, set you up for your future career progression and success?
My experiences on the placement have given me a pretty clear idea of the career I want in the future. At university I was more focused on the theoretical side of things but working at EY has given me experience in the practical side of this sector. I’ve grown a lot more confident and feel that I have become more well rounded. I am sure the knowledge I have obtained will help me wherever I choose to work.
What skills do you feel you’ve developed on your placement at EY?
At university we were always pushed to be more commercially aware but I never really knew what that actually involved. Since joining EY I’ve been liaising with managers and really keeping up to date with events that affect us as a business. I also wasn’t aware that there was a business style of writing, so I‘ve been able to develop that over my time at EY while putting together reports and emails. I’ve really improved my written and spoken communication skills, which will definitely help me in the future.
At EY we’re encouraged to offer help to the wider team and have meetings where we catch up and discuss what needs to be done. I’ve learnt to work with real initiative and have gone out of my comfort zone on several occasions; taking on extra responsibility and removing pressure from the team members above me.
Do you feel university prepared you for your role?
At university I learnt the theory behind tax and audit, which I put into practice on the job. Whilst what I had learnt didn’t always exactly match up to reality, I do feel that I was given a good foundation.
I was also a member of two societies at university, which helped me develop my organisational skills as well as my ability to meet deadlines and work effectively in a team. I didn’t realise how important those skills would be to my work at EY, but they’ve been incredibly useful.
EY is committed to being an inclusive employer, how would you describe the company culture?
The EY company culture was highly recommended to me by quite a few friends before I joined and I can see why. There are about 50 of us in the Leeds office and everyone is very supportive, approachable and happy to help out – it really is a great team atmosphere.
One of the best things about the culture at EY is that they’re very inclusive. I’m not treated differently at all to the graduates or other employees. Even as an intern I’m actively encouraged to speak up in our group meetings and share my ideas. It’s a very inclusive culture as EY know that collaboration is the key to finding solutions.
We’re also encouraged to join networks within EY, for example I’m a part of a Women’s Network. All the different networks work together to put on events, which provides an amazing opportunity to learn about different employees’ cultures.
What excites you about the work you are doing at EY?
One thing that really excites me about working at EY is that there is no typical day. Every day is different and presents different challenges. Also there’s the global aspect to the company - some days I’m working with someone in Japan, the next I’m working with someone in the US.
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a similar role at EY?
- Build up your commercial awareness:I would really build up your general business knowledge as not only will you be tested during the application process, but this knowledge will be incredibly important during your role.
- Make sure you do your research on EY: That way you can put your all into the application process and really demonstrate why it is that you want to work for EY specifically.
- Be proactive, motivated and ask questions: Attend careers fairs hosted by the company to show that you’re driven, motivated and interested. Such events give you the chance to ask questions of the staff, build your network and find out more about the company – this is essential for a stand out application.
Interested in following Simrath's footsteps? Read more about EY and find all their opportunities right here.