Niall Ralph, Audit Associate with RSM, talks about his experiences on the firm’s graduate programme to date.
Work, play and travel
I work in RSM’s audit department, which provides services to clients across a wide range of sectors including hospitality, manufacturing, financial services, aircraft leasing and not-for-profit. As an audit associate there is great variety in my day-to-day activities. An average day can include attending client-site for stock-takes or audit fieldwork; financial statement preparation; or liaising with other departments or firms.
What skills have you developed on your graduate programme so far?
Every day, I am finding that I am learning something new, my accounting knowledge and skill base is constantly growing. I think the main skills that I have noticed development in so far are problem solving, interpersonal and emotional intelligence.
What’s been the highlight so far?
My highlight was having the chance to represent the RSM Ireland team at the RSM European football tournament in Manchester in September. Each year the event is hosted by one of our European firms (the previous year, the tournament was held in Amsterdam), and each country is represented by a men’s team and a women’s team, with eight players on each. The tournament took place on a Saturday morning and afternoon, it was followed by a trip to Old Trafford in the evening for a tour of the stadium, awards ceremony and music.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge so far was trying to balance work and studies while still trying to maintain somewhat of a social life! RSM are determined to assist all trainees in passing their professional exams – the firm provides ample study leave, organises tutorial and exam revision classes with a current CAI lecturer, and finally, senior staff and managers are always happy to help.
What’s surprised you most about your job so far?
I was surprised by the amount of opportunities available at the firm. In my first year with the firm, I was sent on a three-month secondment to small, rapidly growing client. The skills and knowledge I obtained from the secondment helped me a great deal when it came to CAP1 subjects and furthermore, it was exciting to help the firm build a relationship with this client.
What’s next for you?
After sitting and passing four CAP1 exams earlier this year, I am looking forward to tackling the four CAP2 exams next June and FAEs the year after. Long-term, I look forward to becoming an important member of the Audit team and continuing to grow with the team.
What’s your top tip for someone looking apply for an audit graduate position?
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare at each stage of the application process. It is important to avoid presenting an image of an individual who is unprepared.
Bonus tip – ensure you arrive in plenty of time for your interview, no sense in putting yourself under time pressure on top of everything else!
Describe your career so far in three words.
Rewarding, sociable, motivating.