Chris Stuart

BAcc (Hons) Accountancy & Sports Studies

Briefly describe your career history to date 

During university I had a variety of jobs from a dominos delivery driver in my first year, to a barman during second, third and fourth year. I was also a personal assistant for a student with cerebral palsy in my fourth year. During the summers after my second and third year I worked as a general councillor at a summer camp in America. During my fourth year I also did some work experience at MacFarlane Gray Accountants in Stirling doing accounts preparation. In September 2012 I joined EY as a graduate in the audit department.

What attracted you to this career?

Working in audit, gives you a great exposure to how companies operate. It gives you a great understanding of what makes a company work well and also at times, what doesn’t work well. It’s this experience that is great to gain exposure to at an early stage of my career as I can use this knowledge further down the line. It’s a steep learning curve and you are thrown in at the deep end, but that’s the best way to learn.

Describe what your current job involves (i.e. what is your typical working day).

I’m generally at my clients most days; I’m very rarely in the office. The team performing the audit can range from 2 to 8 people. Your job is to understand your clients business, the industry it’s in, how it operates and what the risks are to the client. I have a lot of client face to face meetings to gain an understanding what they do within the business. During quarters and at year end I audit the financial statement. We work in a team auditing the lines of the financial statement, ensuring that the financial statements produced by the client are a true and fair representation of the client’s performance for that period.

In what way did your time at Stirling shape your career to date (knowledge, skills, experiences attained during your studies)?

The university provided strong academic support throughout my four years of studying. The university also provides a vast range of different opportunities to participate extracurricular activities. These experiences were key when I was applying for jobs and for talking about in job interviews. The university also provided help in writing my CV through the careers service.

List three things that you love about your job:

I enjoy the social side to my job, I enjoy the fact that I get to work on different teams at each client I’m at. This means I get to know my many more of my colleagues far better, than just sitting at the same desk each day, with the same people around me. I also enjoy the social interaction I have with my clients. My job is to build good working relationships with my clients, and this is done through having plenty face to face interaction with them, getting to know them as a person and building a relationship over common interests. This then establishes base, which allows me to build a good working relationship with them. A third thing I enjoy is that it gives me great exposure to how companies operate, through this there is a lot to learn and no matter what level I’m at, there will be lots of news things for me to learn.

List three things you dislike about your job:

During ‘busy season’- January to March (after year end in December) and then the week or two after each of the quarter ends during the year, the hours are long as there is a lot of work to do in a tight deadline which unfortunately means you have to work longer hours. I also dislike the perception that some (not all), but some clients have, that auditors are ‘out to get them’, pick them up on a mistake they’ve made and get them into trouble with their boss. I don’t believe that’s the case at all. Some clients therefore sometimes try to avoid you, so this is something you have to manage and work around. A third thing I dislike is, is the client is often working on a tight deadlines; there are times that they are late giving us information. This then squeezes our already tight deadline and puts more pressure on us to complete the work in time.

What advice would you give to current students in terms of preparing for life after graduation?

I remember going through the process of looking for a job I, how hard it can be at times. I know that personally that not getting through a stage of an application can be soul destroying at times. But my advice is, keep applying, don’t throw in the towel. With each experience of the process you go through, whether you are successful or not, you learn something new that you can take forward for the next stage or the next application. At each stage of the process with one company where I was unsuccessful, on the next application I made it through to the next stage as I had learned from my previous experiences.

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