As noted in my last post, the Tax CA program provides multiple opportunities to go on short term (3 – 6 month) secondments to offices in Canada, the US, and India. These give our junior staff the chance to get some experience working in another office, build their global internal network, and get an idea of what the primary industries of our clients in different parts of the world. For example, in Vancouver we work with a lot of mining clients, while in Toronto or New York many of our clients are financial institutions. In our California offices, we have a lot of high tech and entertainment clients, while in Alberta or Texas, there is a good chance most of your clients will be involved with oil and gas.
Personally, I like working in Vancouver, so I have never been interested in these short term secondments other than one month that I spent working in our Calgary office. Calgary was a lot of fun and I met a ton of great people but because one of my fellow bloggers can give you a great idea of what it’s like to work in Calgary (http://pwc.typepad.com/pwcconnect/2012/06/michael-in-calgary.html), I figured I’d write this about another short term secondment experience instead.
The most popular destination choice for short term secondments of Tax CA students has been New York City. In the last couple of years, we have sent 5-10 people there each year, so I sat down with Sharon, one of my colleagues who has taken advantage of this secondment opportunity, to get an idea of what her experience was like.
1) What kind of work did you do in NYC?
During my secondment to PwC NYC, I primarily reviewed U.S. partnership returns and partnership slips, as well as managed the process of preparing and reviewing over 200 U.S. state returns. I was placed in the Investment Management group and mostly worked on one large client while I was there.
2) Did you find that your Vancouver tax experience helped you with the work that you were involved with there?
Actually, they did not require any U.S. tax experience for the secondment, so they assumed I didn’t know anything. However, I had done a five month U.S. tax rotation in Vancouver a few months before leaving for NYC, so I had some U.S. tax return preparation experience. It was still a challenge to pick up the work at PwC NYC, but the people there were nice and really helpful in working through the issues with me. They provided a lot of guidance and direction since they knew that the work was all fairly new to me.
3) How do you think your secondment has impacted your career in the long run?
It was definitely a rewarding experience to work with colleagues in another PwC office! I was working right at the peak of the U.S. tax busy season, so I was able to learn effective strategies for completing returns as quickly as possible. It was stressful at times but the experience there taught me how to adapt to new working environments and work with much bigger teams than I usually do in Vancouver.
4) What was the most memorable experience you had while in NYC?
I think the experience living in NYC is definitely memorable! Every secondee had their own beautiful apartment right in downtown Manhattan and we were given a living allowance as well. It was exciting living in a city that never stops! One night, I couldn’t find a cab and did not know how to call one yet, so I decided to just walk home. I was shocked to walk through Times Square and find that there were still many tourists and other people around – it was 3am! I guess it was not too dangerous after all. (Even still, I made sure I got the taxi phone number after that night!)
As well, meeting the people in the NYC office, and spending time with my team was definitely one of my best experiences. Since client information came in late, we were working to very tight deadlines. Everyone stayed late in the office, and worked side by side to make sure we were able to deliver on time. We ordered in food and ate together, and everyone made an effort to help out when we encountered any issues. It was a lot of fun working alongside staff who were on secondment from other Canadian and U.S. offices too. We explored the city together and had a great time outside of work...like biking around Central Park!
As a follow up note, since returning to Vancouver, Sharon has now decided to specialize in US Tax! Hopefully, the skills that she developed and the contacts that she made while working in New York will prove to be major assets to her as she progresses in this area of Tax at PwC.