A career in audit is a viable option for graduates and professionals from a vast array of disciplines. As the industry continues to thrive, one frontline professional services firm has seized the opportunity and seeks to employ dynamic and enthusiastic aspirants to join its expanding team.
"Audit continues to absorb the majority of our graduate intake but our Deloitte Institute develops graduates in a whole range of professional services including tax, consulting and corporate finance services," says John Rasheed, partner and national learning leader, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. "We position ourselves in the market as a professional services firm offering a multi-disciplinary approach, so as an integrated service provider there is tremendous scope for either specialisation or diversification for our people," he explains.
Deloitte's leap beyond the realm of traditional accountancy services such as audit and taxation services, towards the provision of an array of integrated service solutions, is in response to a change in client needs and expectations. "Our clients now require us to have a thorough understanding of both their industry and specific business functions, and expect us to bring insights to them," he says. "Our job is to devise workable solutions for clients. Naturally, a team with members from a variety of academic, professional and cultural backgrounds facilitates this process as their niches add value and scope to our solutions."
Candidates keen on entering the profession therefore no longer need a background in accountancy, given the available comprehensive conversion programme for non-accounting graduates and professional designation support by Deloitte. Mr Rasheed himself started a career as a biologist, but was drawn towards accountancy and has subsequently spent the last 22 years in the industry. "Enthusiasm and energy are key," he stresses, adding that Deloitte is acutely aware of the competitive nature of the industry at the moment and in response remains open-minded and adaptable concerning recruitment initiatives.
One key area where Mr Rasheed believes Deloitte has the edge is in its people management. "We know exceptional people receive exceptional offers from competitors," he says. Deloitte differentiates itself by listening to what people want. Contemporary demands often fluctuate in response to market trends but in essence, Deloitte people are looking to be valued, stimulated, motivated, acknowledged and rewarded.
"We offer our employees a value proposition," says Mr Rasheed, adding that recent research indicates that employees are looking for long-term career development complimented with challenging assignments, recognition and competitive remuneration packages.
The Deloitte Institute is strategically placed with these considerations in mind. In addition, just a short walk from the main Deloitte office in One Pacific Place, the training venue is a state-of the-art, fully wired learning centre complete with chill-out sofas and refreshment facilities, all in an open plan space overlooking Admiralty.
Once initial training is completed, Mr Rasheed explains that during the first two to three years with Deloitte, most graduate recruits are primarily focused on achieving their professional designation. "Our people have the opportunities of moving from audit into another function once they have completed their professional designation examinations," he adds.
"Post-designation, our people sometimes look into other opportunities within the firm and Deloitte is conscious of the fact that we need to provide an environment in which the best talent will flourish," notes Mr Rasheed. He also underlines the fact that Deloitte feels privileged to be able to provide the resources modern professionals seek. This ensures recruits stay with the firm and remain positive and enthusiastic about their profession.
"Experience has taught us that if we treat people simply as staff, they will leave us," he acknowledges. To minimise staff turnover therefore, Deloitte's human resources learning communities are taking proactive steps to listen attentively and address issues as and when they arise, rather than once a person's resignation is tendered.
Regarding the learning community at Deloitte, Mr Rasheed is excited about future possibilities. Partners and managers from service lines are involved in planning the professional content of specific programmes and also their delivery. This adds an essential degree of relevance and reality into the equation, which is a proven plus because partners are exposed to new ideas from their people and junior staff get to liaise with established staff in a relaxed and unthreatening environment.
"We have a mixture of seminars, webinars and individual training initiatives and the key theme permeating them all is specificity," explains Mr Rasheed. "Training must address today's needs and be useful to the individual. We make every initiative unique to every team so the learning outcome is maximised again and again," he concludes.