After a great vacation, this week I travelled to London (Ontario) for training. While sitting in the hotel conference room today, I reflected on my university graduation and how I thought all my “formal” learning was coming to an end. I could not have been more wrong!
Each year, we attend a week long training seminar which prepares us for our ever-changing roles and responsibilities at PwC. I always look forward to this week as it is a chance to catch up with friends from other offices and swap stories from the past year. This week we are in London for Assurance 3 training, which is preparing us for the leap from Experienced Associates to Senior Associates.
Your first two weeks at PwC are spent at “Assurance 1” which is usually held out of town and is an introduction not only to PwC audit methodology but also to the PwC culture. While it can seem like a lot of information is thrown at you during these two weeks, it is also a great chance to meet and have some fun with new starts from across the province (the Ottawa office does training with the Waterloo, London and Windsor offices). Not only are these two weeks filled with classroom time, but there are social activities organized as well. During my Assurance 1 training we somehow ended up on a party bus cruising through London....perhaps that is a story for another blog post!
PwC’s Learning and Development team offers a wide array of interactive online learning sessions which cover pretty much every topic imaginable : using your firm email, how to be professionally sceptical, and how to conduct an inventory count. Some of these are mandatory when you first join the firm, but the vast majority are “Just In Time Learning, when you need more background on a topic or program. Personally, I have found some of these sessions extremely useful – especially for becoming familiar with the latest version of our audit software.
Frequently, throughout your first two years at PwC, you will have a day booked off in your schedule where everyone at your level meets to discuss and share their experiences to date. These “Development Team Meetings” are facilitated by a Senior Associate or Manager and are a great opportunity to debrief lessons learned and share best practices in a relaxed and open setting.
Periodically, we also attend other classroom training sessions on topical issues. For example, IFRS training sessions were offered before the transitions began as well as tax provision training for those of us needing to finish our 100 tax hours to qualify for our CAs.
On-the-Job / Coaching
While not as formal as the other types of training, I have found that the vast majority of learning occurs while at the client site. Every audit provides an opportunity to face new situations and learn from the other members of your audit team. PwC fosters a culture of coaching and mentorship where more experienced team members “coach” newer associates through challenges they may come across. When a more senior team member comes across a challenging or unique accounting issue, the entire team often stops to discuss the issue at hand, as well as its audit impact through a “rounds” session allowing everyone to learn from and participate in the discussion.
Not only does today bring an end to our Assurance 3 training, but it is also SOA results day. Our office always holds a SOA results party, so I am looking forward to getting back to Ottawa to congratulate all of our successful writers!