Numbers add up for accountancy career

10 Aug 2023

Character counts when it comes to graduate recruitment at PwC.

Speaking at a Career Convos session at College, PwC Assurance Senior Manager – and Old Boy – Will Lovell explains that developing individual character strengths and being a team player – in tandem with accountancy ability – are integral to launching a successful career.

A member of Condell’s House from 2005–2009, Will still makes his mark on the College basketball court, leading the Old Boys team in the annual game against the Senior A side.

Will has shared his own accountancy journey – from College to the University of Canterbury (including a semester at the University of New Mexico) and on to PwC as a senior manager. He also holds a recruitment role, speaking to many students and interviewing those who have the best mix of skills and personal character traits to become accountants at PwC.

During the Career Convos session, he has pointed out that there are many opportunities for those considering a career in accountancy, including applying for a PwC Scholarship. It supports those experiencing financial and/or personal hardship by providing $7000 towards tertiary studies, a PwC mentor, and the chance to apply for a paid summer internship.

Will recalls taking Accounting at College in Year 12 “and it just clicked”.

“From there, it just seemed a natural progression into accountancy,” he says.

Will says that learning from Accounting teacher Brian Le Vaillant – fondly referred to as ‘BDL’ by generations of boys during his 44-year College career – “was brilliant”.

He also highlights the importance of each boy developing his character strengths because PwC values a range of skills and service when taking on graduates and seeks out those who have taken on varied roles or challenges during their time at school.

As Will points out, “College is great at giving you exposure to everything”.

“Obviously, basketball was a passion for me but through the whole House sport thing you sort of have to get good at everything. Then, there is debating, and I did Speech and Drama, was in the choir, did musicals – you were constantly thrown opportunities to be challenged.

“It is an environment where taking up those challenges isn’t daunting. College was an awesome environment to be challenged in a safe space.”

Will has been with PwC since 2015, apart from a year working with a small firm to gain a different range of experiences. However, he is most at home at PwC.

“I love the ‘Big Four’ environment,” Will explains, referring to the world’s largest professional services networks – Deloitte, EY (Ernst & Young), KPMG, and PwC.

The ‘Big Four’ is big enough to “stretch you if you need stretching and challenge you if you need it but there is always the backstop of partners or, if you are junior, you have managers and they can align the opportunities with your skill sets, which is a massive bonus”.

“I also love that I go to universities and do recruitment and interviewing.”

Today, “the skills and attributes have changed away from that practical, technical side of accounting to softer skills – being able to interpret and communicate”. It also helps to have some IT skills.

“Accounting gives you a pathway to a number of options earlier in life, particularly having chartered accountant against your name means travel, opportunities. It opens the door to so much outside of just pure accounting, outside of just NZ. I think it is a fantastic career. It’s evolving with technology and it’s changing and such a good opportunity.”