Business Administration (Bachelor of Arts, University of Economics and Law, Berlin)
The world of numbers has always been more to me than anything else. During my studies I particularly liked courses in accounting, finance and taxes. During my studies, I couldn't imagine much within the field of auditing, only that one day I would come into contact in some way with all of my favorite subjects.
After a compulsory internship during my bachelor's degree, it was clear to me that the job description was exactly what I was looking for. After a student traineeship, I was able to start as a permanent employee after graduating.
We usually work in teams of 2 to 4 people for the respective mandate. Depending on the size and complexity, you have between 3-10 clients a year with different teams. Since I am employed with a large mandate, we are up to 13 team members during the winter months.
It is difficult to generalize the process. Every annual audit is different and depends on the business model, the staff and the general complexity of the client (s). Basically, in the first steps, a process recording takes place, in which one becomes familiar with the company. The team must understand, for example, how the process takes place from material procurement through production to sales and to what extent the internal control system ensures security for correct processing and presentation in the accounting. If the finalized figures are fixed in the accounting, the items in the balance sheet and income statement and all additional attachments must be checked. For large clients, this process can easily take up to five months; for smaller start-ups, the annual audit would be ready after a week.
It is very different. There are mandates in which I lead my own team and mandates in which I am a "normal" team member. Depending on the situation, different tasks arise. Basically you have different tasks every year and you are always the contact person for the person who now has to do the tasks from my previous year. With more responsibility, there are additional tasks, such as writing the audit report or coordinating with the head of finance and management during the audit.
No, we have a seasonal business. As a rule, companies prepare their figures on December 31st of each year, which means that we have a so-called “busy season” from October to March. We work so much that we can take our overtime hours off in the summer (usually around 4-6 weeks of extra vacation). From April / May it slowly becomes quieter and we have a classic 40-hour week with flexitime until October (every hour not worked can be compensated later, for example).
You can clearly only learn the specialist knowledge in your job. Nevertheless, I was able to take some basic things with me from my studies. Classic accounting topics such as booking rates and the principles of the German Commercial Code [Handelsgesetzbuch] should be available. Much more important, however, was the personality that you developed during your studies - how do I deal with problems? How do you work efficiently in a team? How are conflicts in the team or with the client resolved? How do I prioritize my tasks?
Everything, just everything. You are thrown into the deep end in the auditing department, but you learn something new every single day. I learned more during my internship (6 months) than in the previous 3 years of study. There are new challenges every day because no mandate is the same and you get to know a lot of people and everyone needs to be dealt with differently. Even in my third year at PwC, my learning curve is still climbing steeply. You probably don't have that much in classic occupations in industry.
In any case, start with an internship, without having done it, you cannot even imagine everyday working life and you cannot even estimate whether you can cope with the stress in winter. Get to know auditing by going to university events or speaking to the company's contacts at trade fairs. Keep your ears open and get your own idea of it all.