Audit and Accounting
Unexpected beginnings and unbridled futures: audit as a stepping stone
Meet Lucy, an assistant audit manager at Gerald Edelman. With a background in architecture, Lucy demonstrates how inspiring careers can be found outside of the field of your degree.
Progressing from audit senior to assistant manager within a year of joining GE, Lucy credits a culture that prioritises development as the reason a career in audit has suited her so well.
What is your current role?
I am an assistant manager within the audit department which means I have a varied portfolio of audit clients that I deal with on a regular basis. I am also involved in the general running and organisation of the audit department. Audits take place annually, but the length of an audit from planning to completion can vary from around one month to over six months depending on the client size. My role also involves a lot of training and development especially as we take on new graduates in both September and January each year. We also hold regular training sessions for the whole team, and I get involved in recruitment and play an active role in several of our other committees.
What do you enjoy most about your role/GE?
I have always felt supported and empowered at GE and that has always been down to the people around me that I have been working with. As I progressed from a junior trainee, I always wanted others to have the same positive experience as I did and I always look to ensure our department has a great culture. I feel like there is a real opportunity for trainees to learn and develop really quickly at GE if they are motivated and show a real keen interest in taking on responsibilities from early on. I genuinely believe you wouldn’t experience this at a lot of other firms.
Have you always wanted to work in Audit?
I feel like I have fallen into my current role as I never set out wanting a role in audit. I studied architecture at university and spent 15 months working at an architecture practice after graduating, even though I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to continue to pursue as a career. My dad was the one who suggested I try and get my ACA qualification which is how I ended up at GE, and that meant I completed my training contract working in the audit department. I never really had a long-term goal of where I wanted to be working, but I really enjoyed my three years training and I guess that’s why I am still here. I still feel like I am able to develop and progress in my current role.
Why did you choose GE?
I knew I wanted to be at a medium size practice as I would not be pigeonholed in one direction, and would be recognised as a person rather than just another number. I had a good feeling about the firm from my first interview and really felt like the firm was well balanced to offer good exposure and opportunities with a great supportive culture.
What does your average day look like?
This can vary quite a bit. It usually it involves checking in with any audit teams ‘on site’ or carrying out audits, providing guidance on technical and audit approaches and reviewing audit files. I also get involved with client discussions and liaising with the partners on current jobs. There are also usually meetings in relation to the general running of the department, including speaking with recruiters.
What have been your biggest achievement/challenge so far?
After passing all my ACA exams first time, I would say progressing from senior to assistant manager within a year. It has been quite a big learning curve with lots of challenges but it has also been really rewarding and has meant I have been able to do more of what I enjoy -interacting with clients and getting more involved in the training and development of the team.
Tell me your goals for the future?
Honestly, I am not too sure. I enjoy being challenged so as long as I feel like I am learning and developing in my role I haven’t got a specific ‘goal’. Having a good work life balance has always been so important to me to, so ensuring I am still able to strike this balance whatever level I progress to.
What motivates you the most?
I like to make a difference and feel like I am having a positive impact; whether this is to an individual’s progression within a the audit department, or ensuring an audit runs smoother than it has in previous years, knowing that myself or the team have identified areas of improvement within the clients business.
What advice would you give others that are seeking to pursue a career in Audit?
I don’t think it’s about your experience. If you are hard-working and eager to learn and have an interest in different businesses and how they operate, then that’s all you need. You also don’t need to know whether you want to be an auditor forever, because it’s a great foundation for many different career paths.