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ZacHawley

Zak Hawley - BDO - Graduate Jobs Case Study

Zak Hawley, 22, is a tax assistant in BDO’s Manchester office. He studied economics at the University of Manchester.

How did you get your job at BDO?

  • I applied for a summer internship in the tax department through the usual application process towards the end of my second year at university. It involved aspects such as online numerical and verbal reasoning tests, and eventually I got to a final interview with a partner.
  • At the end of the internship I was offered a full time graduate position for when I finished my degree.

What was the interview process like?

  • The interview process was daunting. However, it was as I expected, for example the initial application stage led to computer based tests and eventually to an interview and assessment centre.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

  • The variety of experience it is possible to obtain on a daily basis, for example I have had the opportunity to work on everything from large corporate tax projects to smaller, more ad-hoc personal tax projects.
  • I also enjoy the wide range of technical issues, as well as the constant changes in legislation, which provide a challenging environment that means I am constantly learning.
  • I work within a good team whereby everyone’s opinion is considered. It is also both friendly and sociable, making it an enjoyable department to work in.

What is a typical day like for you?

There are just a few of the things I do on a daily basis:

  • Preparing draft tax computations for inclusion in companies’ accounts.
  • Departmental meetings to discuss topical issues such as proposed changes in legislation and the direction the department wishes to take in order to offer our clients a better service.
  • Drafting letters to both clients and HMRC outlining tax calculations and responses to enquiries.
  • Conference calls with our overseas offices to discuss issues for our clients with overseas interests.
  • Technical research into particular areas, for example research and development and patent acquisitions.

What are the most stressful parts of the job?

  • Studying for the ACA has been the most stressful part of the job. The exams require a significant amount of work and I have found adjusting to time in the office after a particularly difficult period at college to be quite challenging. However, having a peer group of others in my intake, as well as having good support from my department and others within the firm has enabled me to adapt to this.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?

  • I would highly recommend having an open mind. I believe it is very difficult to have a complete idea of what career path you want to follow, for example when you start a job it may not be what you expected or there may be other areas that you were unsure of before that now appeal to you.
  • I would recommend giving careful thought to the qualification you will be studying for, ensuring that you are fully prepared to put the right amount of work in order to pass all of your exams.

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