I was working at a small accounting firm after I graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance. A few friends from university had just started at BDO and they were telling me great things about the firm, so I decided to apply.
Assessment centre: A reflection of the culture
The recruitment process was nowhere near as daunting as I had expected. I had to complete some online tests in numeracy and reasoning, as well as send in my resume and cover letter. After that, I was invited to an assessment centre.
At first I didn't know what to expect, and went into the day with some apprehension. However within minutes my mind was put at ease, and I actually ended up having a lot of fun. There were two client case studies, which were all about applying our knowledge in a practical way and were really interesting to complete.
After that we had speed interviews. These were with eight people from the department you were applying for, and ranged from managers to directors. They had a list of set questions they needed to ask, but this was also a chance for us to have our own queries answered, and it ended up being much more of a conversation. This part of the day was really fun and impressed upon me how great the culture is at BDO - it's collaborative, young and exciting, and this came across very clearly in the assessment centre.
Accounting experience not necessary
I found out I got the job soon after. BDO told me they were impressed with my confidence and how I had gotten along with everyone so well. This is something that I think my time working in retail during my undergraduate degree really helped with. Anyone who's worried they don't have the necessary accounting experience should definitely still apply - personal skills, particularly in communication, are just as important.
In hindsight, I would have prepared a little more before the assessment centre. Going over answers to potential questions would have helped to calm me down a bit beforehand, and I'd recommend anyone applying to research the firm and its values first.
I'm so pleased I was successful - the culture at BDO is amazing and in my five months since starting I've felt so supported. There are a lot of opportunities for training and development - BDO puts CA master classes on, holds weekly training, and there were also grad inductions when we first started.
Don't be worried about the recruitment process. BDO puts you at ease straight away and it's really a snapshot into the collaborative and welcoming culture that exists here.