PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was formed in 1998 by the merger of two large companies, Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand.
PwC provide clients with three main business lines.
The company employs around 162,000 people across 154 countries in different 766 locations and has $26.569bn in revenues.
When searching assurance services or advisory services PwC is near the top of the list on both Google and Bing search engines. These links bring straight to their homepage, the website its self is easy to navigate round and professionally laid out, its visually pleasing and with bold and bright colours it attracts attention. It gives the viewer the opportunity to look at information on a basic level and also to find out more in a greater depth.
From their home page you can click on:
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PwC's clients range from start-ups, to governments and other non-for-profit organizations and then to some of the largest global organizations. This financial year, 2010, PwC provide services for 415 of the companies in the Fortune Global 500, North America and Europe accounting for 79% of PwC's annual revenue, with Europe alone accounting for 44% of the scale of profitability.
The main competitors for PricewaterhouseCoopers are in the accounting industry, the three main competitors are; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, who provide audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to selected clients, Ernst & Young Global, with their four lines of service, assurance, advisory services, tax services and Transaction advisory services, and KPMG who offer audit, tax and advisory services.
These four are the largest international accountancy and professional services firms.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
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Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu is the largest company out of the four, employing more staff and also by having the greatest revenue. PwC has $26.569bn in revenues a 1.5% increase from 2009. Revenues for the UK increased by 4% from 2009 to £2,331m in 2010.
PwC have 32 locations in all of the major cities in the UK, in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, which match the strengths of the British economy, but also in Milton Keynes, which match the growth of British economy. They employ across 154 countries and have offices in 766 locations, which include some of the fastest growing economies, Qatar, Botswana and Azerbaijan and some of the strongest economies, USA, China and Japan.
Recently PwC got voted the top Graduate Company to work for a record seventh year running, it came top in the graduate survey ahead of Deloitte and the Civil Service. In October 2010 there was a bid by the government to break up the big four auditors, due to the fact that the fifth biggest, which checks the accounts of local authorities, fire, police and health services, was being scrapped as part of the 'bonfire of the quangos'. In September 2010 PwC announced a 4 per cent increase in full-year revenues to £2.3 billion. In June 2010 the headline read, "Inquiries mount after PwC 'fail to notice' mistakes." This was after PwC failed to notice that JP Morgan was paying up to £16 billion of clients' money into the wrong bank accounts. In November 2009 PwC made it in the news with PwC's plans on further growth and expansion. Over all it seems that PwC is positively rated by the news.
There are many of opportunities for Maths Graduates to undertake including job opportunities, internships and work experience.
For Maths Graduates there are three main types of Graduate Training Programmes:
Graduate Generalist, which covers:
Graduate Specialist, which specializes in:
Consulting, which covers:
For all three, Graduate Generalists, Graduate Specialists and Consulting, the requirements are a 2:1 honors degree in any discipline and 300 UCAS tariff points, the only other requirement is for Actuarial where they ask for a grade A in A-level Mathematics or equivalent. For the first 2 years of the Graduate Training Programme they introduce you to your:
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Buddy, usually a recent graduate recruit who will answer day-to-day queries
Coach, who discusses development objectives for the coming year
Partner Mentor, who boosts their understanding of the firm and long-term opportunities
This way of working reflects the strong co-operative eths that are part of the company aims.
The first 2 years time is spend on developing key technical skills and business skills. Technical training includes studying for a Chartered Accountancy qualification with ICAEW (Institution of Chartered Accounts for England and Wales), ICAS (Institution of Chartered Accounts for Scotland) or ICAI (Institution of Chartered Accounts for Ireland), and then business training is provided through some formal training and also on-the-job working alongside a variety of specialists and undertaking client work. After the 2 years of training and working towards an ICAEW, ICAS or ICA the offers are there to develop and broaden skills within the firm. Gaining the Chartered Accountancy qualification makes options within the firm extremely broad and can lead down a number of routes. Due to the feedback, coaching and formal courses, personal strengths and weaknesses will be made aware of and a formal opportunity to reflect on personal progress and what steps there are to take next in driving a career forward. In the third year all professional qualifications will have been completed and from then on concentration in mainly focused on work experience and learning through doing. Along with this more responsibility is taken for own work and a more active role in played in supporting other team members. Through out a career at PwC a variety of work is offered and personal development is encouraged. PwC offer a course called "Cycle of Experience" for those who wish to broaden their knowledge further, face new challenges and develop new key skills as a way of expanding on personal careers. In fifth year at PwC learning will still be taking place, however at this stage there are plenty of opportunities for promotions, chances to develop business skills and to take up overseas secondment. The important thing about this development process is that it enables the company to establish and sustain a strong corporate way of working, which guarantees clients a consistency of service delivery.
PricewaterhouseCooopers also offer a summer internship programme in the same business areas as the graduate training programmes, Assurance, Consulting, Tax, Financial Advisory and Actuarial. Applications have until 31st March 2011 to be handed in. The courses run from the 27th June to 5th August, and from 1st August to 9th September. Applicants need to be in their penultimate-year and university with a 300 UCAS tariff or equivalent (or, for Strategy Consulting, a 340 UCAS tariff) and be on course for a 2:1. The internship course will provide a training programme and some general and specific training. They provide a buddy, who has run the course before and who will be there to support and to answer questions. What an undergraduate will gain from a summer internships is a real-life view of what working as a graduate for PwC, if the career is right for them and, providing they perform well, PwC could offer a position as a graduate trainee. The internship is also about PwC informally assessing students before starting a long and arduous recruitment process.
When applying for a Graduate Training Programme with PwC there is an application form to fill out online, previous to that you can have a look around to see where vacancies lie for April 2011. For the Graduate Training programme they are looking for someone with any degree where the graduate had achieved a 2:1 or above along with a 300 UCAS tariff.
In Autumn 2008 PwC replaced the Work Permit Scheme with a new Points Based System so instead of "work permits" being issued by the Home Office, approved licensed employers issue "Certificates of Sponsorship". This way PwC reflects the cultural and linguistic diversity of the markets it operates in.
There are no regional applications deadlines for Graduate Generalists as these are on going, but if applying in London then the application deadline if for 4th January 2011. There are no application deadlines for Graduate Specialists and Management Consulting and the application deadline for Strategy Consulting is 29th November 2010. Although PwC clearly suggests filling in an application from as soon as possible as a positions can close fast.
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Essential Personal Qualities
As well as the academic side PwC are also looking for someone is highly motivated and self-discipline as well as being creative, someone who is eager to learn and expand on their own knowledge and capabilities whilst assisting others. Clients are very important to the company, so PwC look for communication skills and being able to listen effectively, amongst caring and being passionate about the service provided to the client. PwC also believe that relationships are important and built upon between employees and clients along with honesty and integrity. Teamwork is a key skill, being able to lead and contribute to team success along with being able to manage projects and meeting deadlines. Changing businesses need changing minds so being open minded and agile as well as being able to acquire and apply commercial and technical techniques are other traits PwC look for.
Once filling in the registration form online the next steps are online tests:
Logical or verbal reasoning tests depending on the chosen business route, which will be repeated under supervision
PwC Student Talent Questionnaire, The Student Talent Questionnaire presents realistic work-based scenarios, based on situations that may be found whilst working for PwC.
Occupational Personality Questionnaire, The Occupational Personality Questionnaire an indication of an individual's preferred behavioral style at work.
The next step, step 3, is the online application form, depending on the business route depends on the number and types of questions.
Step 4 is the Interview, the interview is one-to-one, and may be over the phone or face-to-face with the office manager depending on where is the candidate has applied. The part of the selection process gives the candidate a chance to give justice to that which paper cannot.
Step 5 is the Assessment Centre, here PwC will repeat the tests from the online registration and there will also be a second interview normally with either a partner or director from the business area that the candidate applied for.
Step 6, the offer, PwC try to make an offer as soon after the Assessment Centre as possible, the process from application to offer takes three to six weeks.
Step 7 is the PwC Pre-Employment Tests, after the candidate had accepted the offer, the Pre Employment Screening Team will verify the academic and employment history. After this the successful candidate will be invited back for a visit, where an informal chat about what to expect, a chance to take a look around the office where they will be based and to meet other members of their team. This is a rigorous process, reflect the rigorous expectations that clients have of PwC.
PwC is founded on a culture of partnership with a strong commercial focus and this is reflected in their vision "One firm - a powerhouse of a commercial enterprise that does the right thing for our clients, our people and our communities." Their vision is split up into three sections:
"One Firm", an extensively networked organisation which aims to bring the best of itself to its clients, be agile and flexible, share knowledge and bring fresh insights and act in the interests of the whole firm.
"Powerhouse", where clients and others feel the benefit from the energy and the power of the firm, PwC employees strive with clients to achieve success with this they aim to attract, develop and excite the best people and to inspire confidence in their clients. Their ideas behind this are to be positive and energies others, invest in personal relationships and listen with interest and curiosity, encouraging diverse views and to have a thirst for learning and developing others.
"Do the right thing", its clear to see that PwC value their clients, they value their integrity, confidence and humility, they try to put them selves in the clients' shoes and will not accept second best, they treat people how they would like to be treated and be brave enough to except a challenge, act with integrity and enhance their reputation to bring out the best in the best.
"We must all accept personal responsibility to play our part in driving our firm demonstrating these values and behaviors - opting out is not acceptable."
In terms of policies PwC have some strong commitments to them selves and their staff. This is reflected in the recruitment processes and the performance management processes, but how does it tackle under-performance?
PwC commit to the professional development in employees, they give real-time feedback so that their employees can continually improve their professional skills and enhance their personal brand. They also offer a variety of developmental and training opportunities so that their employees build their credentials and stay relevant in the market place. They believe in diversity and inclusion, they try and identify and address the issues that exist in our communities and schools around gender, race, and sexual orientation and their programmes are focused on areas of diversity that present a challenge in society. In terms of work life and flexibility they understand that people work better when they are re-energized and recharged and their vacation and time off policy supports this with 25 days' standard holiday per year. They also understand the dual demands of being a full time parent and a high-performance professional, with this they offer flexibility and individual career options. PwC is committed to supporting the communities in which they are based. They take part in charity work and community service, last year PwC employees contributed 41,300 working hours to our their communities. PwC also care about the environment, as a firm they are committed to reducing the environmental impacts through the course of business whether that's through travel, energy and resource consumption and waste. And this is clear through their top targets, by 2012 reduce Financial Emissions Intensity, reduce overall energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions from client air travel.
PwC have won a number of awards over the last couple of years, some of these include, The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, Upper Mid Market M&A Adviser of the Year 2010, PFI European Adviser of the Year 2009, Consulting Firm of the Year 2009, International Tax Review European Tax Awards 2009, Employee benefits consultant of the year and for Actuarial consultant of the year and PwC wins Auditor of the Year 2009. This reflects the how well the business operates and how its teams work up to PwC expectation as well as keeping up its excellent reputation.
Whilst writing this report is has been clear to see how well and seriously PwC take the professional development of its employees and its team. They commit to the professional development in employees by giving real-time feedback so that their employees can continually improve their professional skills and enhance their personal brand. They provide a number of developmental and training opportunities so that employees build their credentials and stay relevant in the market place. They train up graduates and people to who join after A-levels to give them the correct qualifications and they encourage them to take more courses to broaden their skills within the business.
After reading trough websites about PwC you get the impression that it's a great place to work for that is until I realized my base for this hypothesis was thin, so taking it upon my self I read into employee reviews. Here I got a mixture of reviews.
"Great place to work due to the name and recognition it brings, flexibility, respect of your goals, management's support for your career, trust in your work product, freedom to seek out opportunities, transparency of upper management's dealings, and approachability of partners."
"Build Know How, Good career opportunities, Know How sharing; well organized"
"Good work culture, high degree of independence, high degree of work satisfaction/Interesting work Opportunities for working on projects across verticals."
Which was everything I was expecting, but some how I found myself slightly disappointed when I read these.
"Staff is underpaid, which is typical to the audit industry, and many often complain about it. Work is often mundane and not fulfilling."
"Too busy, hard to balance life and work, high turnover rate"
"PwC advisory does not compensate its employees as well as other consulting firms. Promotions and career advancement can be very politically driven."
"Long, long working hours, high rate of staff turnover due to bad management and poor work conditions."
Quotes from employees, or ex-employees from across the UK, collected from a number of sources.
One thing stuck in my head "high staff turnover rates" maybe is this maybe because the company is so good at it that graduates learn and then go other more lucrative jobs, or is it high because people cant hack it, and it seems to me through reading more of these comments, that a lot of employees seemed under stress, and this reflects the rigorous application process and the high standard of the personal qualities.