As some of you may know, I recently applied for a vacation work programme offered by PricewaterhouseCoopers, currently ranked the world’s top auditing firm. The programme this year was only 4 days long (as opposed to the customary 2-week programme); and as my snooping censors later discovered, the reason for the contraction was due to the branch taking up more vac workers than intended, thus compelling them to shorten the training period. Despite the week being short-lived, the experience was incomparable and beyond expectations.
Day 1: The 18-odd vacation workers rocked up just before 8 am, dressed in the best office attires, each one looking as nervous as the next. We were quickly ushered to the board room where we would have our first briefing by the HR manager. After the initial ice-breaker exercise, we were slightly more relaxed and chatty. The 18 vac workers were equally divided down the gender line and came from all different walks of life. After we received our free sets of PwC stationery, we were taken on an office tour, and were introduced to the amazing coffee machines from which the best cappuccinos were made. The remainder of the day consisted of various talks and presentations by the PwC employees on topics such as: Auditing, Taxation, PPE (Property, Plant and Equipment), etc. We got a little bit more insight into what the different sections entailed and how it differs from text-book materials. At the end of the day, I felt more knowledgeable and was actually looking forward to what the rest of the week had to offer.
Day 2: The progression went similar to day 1, where the morning was filled with more presentations about financial statements, bank and cash, etc. We also had an extended lunch break where we lounged in the social area for two hours, and satisfied our appetites with a dozen Debonairs pizzas. After lunch, we worked on our modelling project (a team-building exercise). Basically, we were divided into two groups, and each group had to design and create an outfit using recyclable materials. So, we got money from the petty cash and drove to the mall in search of materials. My group ended up spending close to R130, and bought stacks of crinkle paper, strings, glue, marbles, cardboard paper, and others. We worked on our dress until 4 pm, and called it a day.
Day 3: The vac workers were assigned to a PwC trainee and had to shadow that person for half a day. The lucky ones got to go out and visit clients while the rest of us stayed at the office and did mundane jobs such as photocopying, filing, and ticking. The ones who went out however, had the opportunity to see first-hand how casinos operate and what kind of procedures go into auditing casinos. One person even went around visiting the various Departments and Legislatures, and had lunch with the VIPs. The afternoon was once again dedicated to the modelling project where my group tried to bring the design on the paper to life.
Day 4: The last day was very much relaxed. It started with a Q&A section with the trainee accountants, followed by a presentation on Advisory and CSI where we were introduced to the world of forensics, IT auditing, and many more. At lunch, we were each given a R60 Spur voucher to spend on whatever we wanted. I ended up sharing a Ribs & Buffalo Wings with a friend, and it was quite frankly one of the best I’ve had in a long time. We got back to the office around 2 pm and did some last minute fixings to our dress, and waited patiently for the modelling show to start. At 4 pm sharp, we wandered to the social area, and eyed the crates of alcoholic beverages on the counter. The eager beavers helped themselves to the drinks while the rest of us prepared the models for the ‘run-way’. At the end, despite my group’s meticulous efforts, our Princess Ogre outfit was simply no match for the other team’s transsexual cross-dresser, complete with fake boobs, red lipstick, steel-wool wig and tinfoil shin warmers. Luckily there was plenty of booze left for us to drown in our defeat. After we received our cheques (and more freebies!) we thanked the wonderful PwC team for giving us such a wonderful experience, and I went home with a huge dial on my face.