What they do
Best known as one of the world’s leading professional services firms, PwC has several areas of business, focusing on everything from Audit and Assurance, to Tax, and Consulting & Deals services. They recruit new hires into Audit and Assurance, Tax and Deals for CA positions, and Consulting for non-CA positions.
Location and history in Canada
PwC Canada is a national firm. They’ve been in Canada since 1907, with their first office opening in Montréal. They now have over 20 offices across the country, from Vancouver and Saskatoon, to Ottawa and St. John’s. PwC is part of a network of firms that spans 154 countries around the globe.
The different streams
When you go in for an interview, the recruiters at PwC are looking for what you know about the firm. There are a number of entry points into the firm, and it’s important that you research and understand the entry point you’re applying into.
Most of PwC’s recruits join the Audit and Assurance Group. The firm recruits across the country, for full time, summer, and co-op positions. PwC is also gearing up their Tax CA training office status. So if you know you want to specialize in tax, this should be great news for you! The firm is continuing to create Tax CA training offices across the country, expanding from Vancouver to additional locations like Calgary, Toronto and Montréal.
And if Consulting & Deals is your thing, you’ll have a chance to work with people who have a broad range of skills and experience, while getting on-the-job training, fantastic client exposure and the opportunity to travel.
PwC offices tend to be in central locations, in bright modern buildings. In fact, in the fall of 2011, they will move their downtown Toronto offices into a new building, where they’re aiming for a LEED Gold standard (basically this means it will be a very eco-friendly building).
PwC prides itself on a ‘teach don’t tell’ approach to learning. They encourage new hires to learn by uncovering answers to problems themselves. This is great because if the situation arises down the road, you’re better prepared to deal with it. PwC partners and staff support you through job shadowing opportunities and annual performance reviews as well. PwC classifies itself as a learning organization, because learning and coaching continues, no matter the stage of your career.
On the job
If you think you’ll come on board at PwC and be a wallflower, think again. The firm encourages new recruits to get involved right from the beginning. They host a variety of social and networking events to get you involved with the rest of the team. Some of their activities include participation in Movember, hockey and dragon boat teams, and rib fests and karaoke nights. Of course these vary according to location, but you get the idea.
PwC has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the past seven years in a row. This is an independent assessment of their awesomeness. They are also a diversity outreach partner, committed to recruiting diverse groups. Aside from employee resource groups which are led by PwC employees, the firm also has a number of other programs in play, which promote diversity among employees, and encourage a positive on-the-job culture.
While salaries vary across the country, they are competitively benchmarked for each city or province. At the entry level, a new PwC hire receives three weeks of paid vacation time. You also get three flex days for any thing else that might come up.
What else? Well, aside from the laptop and phone line provided to you (which can be redirected to your personal phone, allowing you to work from home or remotely), PwC also provides you with a fitness benefit. So whether you’re interested in skiing or skating, aerobics or boxing, PwC encourages employees to use the fitness benefit for wellness options.
One more thing worth mentioning – some PwC offices offer compressed work weeks over the summer months. So if you want that long weekend away to the mountains, you can leave at noon on a Friday.
PwC prides itself as a firm that incorporates good social responsibility into all their business operations. Employees are encouraged to direct a lot of the green initiatives that take place at offices across the country. Check out some of the initiatives they’re working on to reduce their environmental footprint.
PwC staff also get one paid day a year to go out and volunteer. And in 2010, the firm supported over 350 charities through the PwC Canada Leadership Grant, while raising over $2 million to support local United Way campaigns across Canada.
Degrees they like
For Audit and Assurance, Tax, and Deals, they’re looking for a degree in accounting. If you don’t have one, you’d have to do the required prerequisites according to provincial guidelines, along with the conversion courses necessary. These vary for the CA route.
If you’re looking at the consulting stream, PwC encourages a broader range of degree holders to apply. They’d be equally happy taking in accounting majors, but commerce, finance, economics, engineering and human resource majors are encouraged to apply.
It varies across the country, but all candidates are interviewed against the same competencies. But here’s some great advice – start building relationships with the PwC campus recruiters before interview season. Whether it is through information sessions, career fairs or open houses, start talking and networking with the recruiters, to gain familiarity with the firm. The more you network, the better prepared you’ll be.
Best thing to do/say in the interview
PwC recruiters say they gain a lot of insight into a candidate based on the questions they ask at the end of an interview. Sure, it’s good to ask them something like, ‘Why do you like working at PwC?’ But that doesn’t distinguish you and the research you’ve done from another candidate. Instead, they’d prefer it if you showed them you did your homework, and ask questions along the lines of: ‘You’ve just converted your large clients to IFRS, what are you doing to identify new revenue streams, given the work is now completed?’
This shows you’re prepared, and you’re ready for a competency based interview. PwC stresses they’re looking for well-rounded individuals who provide concrete examples of work they’ve done, using the STAR technique to answer questions.
Worst thing to do/say in the interview
The worst thing you can do is arrive unprepared. Nothing is in the bag until the offer is in hand. Be sure to read the PwC website (the Canadian version, of course), and do your research. And don’t answer your phone during an interview. We might be stating the obvious here, but it’s worth mentioning.
Why you'll stay
The people. PwC prides itself as a firm that offers ongoing learning and development opportunities for its employees. There are also many international opportunities, along with options to join new lines of service. If you’re someone who likes constantly learning and growing, you’ll love it at PwC!
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