The perfect work life balance.
Olivia Thomson gave us the low down on what it’s like to be part of the team at Deloitte in Wellington. We get a bit of an insight into how she, and those she works with, are breaking the ‘boring accountant’ stereotype in a lively, social office where she finds the perfect balance of work and play.
We asked Olivia some questions
Why did you choose accounting? What sparked your interest in numbers?
At high school, accounting was a subject that clicked with me. I would get so much satisfaction from preparing a set of accounts and completing a balance sheet that was actually balanced. I was also lucky enough to have an awesome accounting teacher. Deciding that accounting would be the anchor of my bachelors degree was a decision driven by the old saying, “if you pursue a career you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!”. I balanced out my degree with marketing, and clothing and textile science for something a bit more creative.
How have you found your time at Deloitte so far and how does it fit in with your overall career goals?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Deloitte so far. I love being a part of a large network of people pursuing similar career goals and working alongside some of the most highly skilled professionals in the industry. I also knew that joining Deloitte would provide me with a solid foundation for my career in accounting.
As a graduate, I was part of an intake of 140 fresh-faced accountants, many of whom I now consider good friends. I can also advocate that they are not your stereotypical boring accountants! The longer I am a part of this firm the more I realise that the boring accountant stereotype is just a myth. However, I do find it satisfying when people tell me, “You are far too interesting to be a tax consultant.”
What makes Deloitte a great place to work? Why do you enjoy getting up and coming to the office every morning?
There is such a diverse mix of personalities at Deloitte, which means that every day in the firm is different. The average day can consist of lively banter between consultants and partners, sport sweepstakes (or more recently ‘the bachelor’ sweepstakes), stuff quiz championships - you name it, we have it. Of course all of this fun runs in the background to a busy day at the office. I think this highlights that the people at Deloitte are well-rounded and embrace a work hard, play hard attitude.
There is also a wide variety of events to get involved with, both inside and outside of work. the Deloitte social calendar for the past year in the Wellington office has featured half marathons, quiz nights, dragon boating, a hypnotist comedy show and the annual firm-wide ball, just to name a few.
What makes you passionate about what you do? What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role?
Working in tax allows me to apply both my accounting and problem solving skills, having been involved in both tax compliance and consulting work. Also, as tax law is constantly changing there is always something new to learn, and clients continuously come up with new and unexplored questions.
As a junior consultant at Deloitte, I get to work with a wide range of clients. As each client has unique needs, the variety of work available allows you to identify areas or industries you are particularly interested in and would like to pursue.
Having a positive attitude and desire to grow are really important attributes for success in any job. Communication and teamwork skills are also vital.
What specific skills have you learnt in your job and about yourself while being a Deloitte graduate?
The past year as a graduate has been a constant learning curve. In my time at Deloitte so far I have learnt everything from the ins and outs of complex tax laws, to the most efficient way to un-jam a printer, and even irrelevant facts about cats.
Deloitte offers a wide variety of training and personal development sessions, which help build a solid foundation for any graduate launching their career. I have found that every interaction you have at work is an opportunity to learn and it is up to you to make the most of the guidance and resources offered. In addition, there are a number of great mentoring initiatives to keep you on track.
What are your passions outside of Deloitte?
I love to cook and bake. It is a great excuse to invite friends and family over to catch up. I also continue to pursue my interest in clothing and textiles by regularly making dresses and skirts for myself.
Keeping fit is also important to me. Over the summer I get out running and over the winter I avoid the Wellington weather by heading to a gym class at les Mills. Watching sport is another interest of mine, so I will often go along to netball and rugby games, occasionally scoring tickets to the Deloitte corporate box (another perk of the job!).
I’m always up to try something new. Recently, I’ve tried my hand at golf and toastmasters.
How would you describe a summer intern or graduate career opportunity with Deloitte to someone considering pursuing accounting?
For anyone considering a career in a professional services firm or accountancy, I would recommend applying for a summer internship. Not only does it give you a taste of the work involved with your chosen service line, it gives you a chance to experience the company culture.
When I look back on my year as a graduate, I can honestly say that I have grown immensely, both in my career and personally, and I am grateful that Deloitte has provided the environment to do so.