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by Jen Simmons | October 01, 2020


Vault brings you a day in the life of Jen Simmons, Business Assurance Trainee at BDO Stoy Hayward, Business Assurance division in London. Jen studied a BA Degree in Finance Accounting and Management and has been working at BDO Stoy Hayward for 7 months.

09:15 AM: I get here ten minutes early, at 9:15. We have hot-desks, so I’ll find myself a desk near my friends. We all have our own laptops, so I’ll pull that out and set it up. I spend the first 15 minutes checking emails getting tea and catching up with everyone.

On the first day of an audit — starting a new client, I’d spend a half hour researching the client, for which I would have been given a planning memo which I’ll read over. Before an audit we have a meeting in the morning that starts at about 10 o’clock. The memo will be about that.

10:00 AM: –Meeting. I’ll meet the people on the team for the audit in the team – we’ll go over any particulars depending on the sector the client is based in, client history and key personnel. There’ll be juniors like me, senior managements and partners etc. Next, the partner conducts a fraud brainstorming discussion. We discuss any particular areas of risk in the audit where the client may face fraud.

11:00 AM: –Then I’ll pack up a stationary bag and get last years files from the audit. Next is the visit. The manager will come out to meet the client and check everything goes okay. The team with the manager will go out — usually about three people. There will be a first year, a second year and a fourth year employee who will senior the job. The manager will come out on the first visit. We go to see the client.

Most of our work is conducted at the client’s office – we would go, be introduced to client, and then check for any problems. We’ll stay there the rest of the day.

12:00 PM: –Lunch. If I am at a client’s office, I’ll take an hour – probably pop to a sandwich shop nearby and bring it back to the client’s [office]. We’re usually based in a board room. I’ll probably check Facebook and stuff. It’s nice to get to know the team too.

1:00 PM: –The client will give us information to begin audit. Seniors on the job will allocate out the tasks – the areas of the balance sheet and profit and loss. An audit lasts two weeks. I plan at this point which sections are mine and how long I need to spend on each one. Typically in the first year I’ll be doing fixed assets and cash and bank. So I would go into last years files, soft copy files on excel. I enter all the new information into excel. I then look at the figures they’ve given us this year, compare them to last year – do some testing on that. Then have a discussion with the client on any significant movement – discuss the general business reason for any of these. A lot of the job is getting information from the client – talking to the client. Some clients are very happy to give you information, whereas with some clients you have to be more formal and arrange a specific time to meet and discuss movements in financial statements.

3:00 PM: –I do more technical analysis – tests and totals, get hard copy evidence of bank statements etc. That’s recalculating the interest they say they’ve received – using the average interest rate etc. Then I test the exchange rates at year end, especially if reporting foreign currency. We need to back up all evidence of bank statements, bank reconciliation.

We have a computerised system. Once the tests are completed I would sign it off on the system ready for the manager to review.

If you find any errors we correct them in a journal – a debit and credit, putting everything in the right areas of a credit sheet. You have to know your debits and your credits.

5:30 PM: –Day finishes at half past 5. At the start I’ll finish at 5:30 on the dot. If it’s later on and there’s more work we might stay for an extra hour. I record everything on my time card and get paid overtime. We fill out a timecard at the end of the day.

It’s a really social team and I would then go out with work. We have a weekly social where we’d go bowling etc. All sorts of things. I always have lunch with everyone.