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M aking S uccessful A pplications to A ccountancy F irms & those in the F inancial S ervices . Employers Perspective. Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in?. Employers Perspective. Define the job and the role Identify key skills and aptitudes for the job

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employers perspective
Employers Perspective
  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Will you fit in?
employers perspective3
Employers Perspective
  • Define the job and the role
  • Identify key skills and aptitudes for the job
  • Design the application to gather evidence of key skills and aptitudes
  • Shortlist looking for MATCH between candidate and job specification (ratio of 1 from 10)
its all based on evidence
Its all based on Evidence!
  • Have you analyzed the job advert and specification and done some research on the organization
  • Are you clear on what skills, qualities and experience are essential for this company
  • Your past is evidence of your future potential.

Its essential to draw on your past experiences to demonstrate your skills/experience in this area

  • Are you using the right language ( key words can often be found in the company’s brochure or web site.)
step by step do
Step by Step - Do
  • Follow instructions on the form
  • Read the whole form through before writing
  • Photocopy 5 times and prepare the drafts first
  • Use black ink or go on-line
  • Choose the right envelope
  • Keep a copy of the form for yourself
  • Say positive things about you throughout
  • Give evidence of your achievements

Above all, complete the form with the specific vacancy/employer in mind

don t
  • Make spelling mistakes
  • Dirty the form
  • Fill you form with exaggerated statements with no supporting evidence
  • Be apologetic in tone
  • Negative about your achievements
  • Forget to explain gaps in your study/work experiences
application forms
Application Forms

Big 4

  • PriceWaterhouse Coopers
  • KPMG
  • Deloitte & Touche
  • Ernst & Young


  • Allied Irish Bank
  • Deutsche Bank

The skills and qualities an employer is looking for can be found in their job ad., recruitment literature and web site.

When you have identified what the employer is looking for, list all your experience which shows that you can demonstrate these skills and qualities.

This evidence is the basis for your answers.

general hints
General Hints
  • Target application form to each individual company (approx. 60 minutes each)
  • Demonstrate answers by live examples
  • Show a progression through the answer
  • Tell the story – beginning, middle, end
  • Using STAR process






Draw most on your most recent activities /


  • Demonstrate using examples from relevant / related business experience, academic project work, extra-curricular activities
  • Use the language of your degree - business e.g. Evaluated……, Analysised…., Reconciled….., Balanced…..
Career ChoiceWhy do you want to work for this company? Experiences or people who have influenced your decision.

The first year of my commerce degree incorporated a module in accountancy. I discovered I had an aptitude for the subject and received an honour at the end of year exams. Discussing this interest with a cousin of mine who qualified as a Chartered Accountant he advised me to gain some practical accounting experience. I researched opportunities with the careers service and secured the position of accounts assistant within a small accounting firm last summer which confirmed my interest in this area. Details of your training opportunities were distributed at a recent career planning seminar and having studied your recruitment literature, I feel confident that I have the (include the skills, attributes mentioned in their brochure) to face the challenges of working within one of the world’s (look at brochure for language here).PricewaterhouseCoopers

KPMG , AIB, Deutsche Bank

Ernst & Young

LeadershipA position of responsibility you have held.Challenges you faced and what you learned from the experience.
  • As a senior waiter in a busy city centre restaurant, I lead a team of 5 staff.
  • The main challenge is to ensure a high level of customer service – a difficult talk as there is a high turnover of staff, the majority being mainly students working part-time to fund their studies. By selecting the right staff and providing training, relations among team members are good; a high level of enthusiasm is maintained through encouragement and good example.
  • I learned that relationships are developed and maintained by providing good example and encouraging staff to openly discuss issues of relevant to them.


Drive & InitiativeBriefly describe a situation where you set out to achieve something and reached your goal.


Raise finance for and encourage high attendance at

Student/Staff Finance Departmental Social Evening.

  • Compiled a comprehensive written plan, detailing the event, its organisation and proposed expenditure.
  • Co-ordinated and facilitated meetings with academic staff and student representatives in implementing this event.
  • Raised E850 sponsorship, providing funds for posters, tickets, a sound system and a band.
  • Negotiated free use of function room and free breverges up to 9.00 p.m. which attracted large numbers.


Interpersonal SkillsDescribe a situation in which you had to influence people and overcome objections to your viewpoint.
  • As a treasurer of my soccer club I was keen to introduce a computerised accounting system which involved significant changes to procedures for all members of the committee and initially was met with major objections.
  • Through discussions and involving all those it impacted on, agreement was reached on issues that were key to their concerns and the changes were successfully introduced and continue to work effectively today.


career outlook how do you see your career developing over the next 5 years
Career OutlookHow do you see your career developing over the next 5 years?


  • Tax was the area that interested me the most during my degree at UCC. As a result I would like to complete the Institute of Tax examinations within the next three years. As my training and experience progressed in this area I would hope to be working on more complex areas of tax with increased responsibility and transfer to a more senior role which would involve advanced research skills and conducting tax reviews.
  • At this stage I would also like to be involved in mentoring junior staff and perhaps presenting training courses.

Ermst & Young

Other InformationOther factor that you think should be taken into account in our considering you for a career with this company?
  • Include technical skills such as PC Applications, hardware, operating systems, software etc. Did you complete the ECDL?
  • Include any relevant non-technical/soft skills, such as presentation skills, team management skills/Any in-house training completed. Give examples of how you used these skills/experience (relate to industry)
  • You may also wish to include that you hold a full driver's licence if appropriate
work experience last two positions of responsibility and your personal contribution
Work ExperienceLast two positions of responsibility and your personal contribution

Forde O’Connell Accountants, Bishopstown, Cork

Junior Accounts Administrator

  • Worked closely with qualified and part-qualified accountants
  • Gained an insight of financial reporting requirements
  • Assisted with the preparation of client accounts
  • Completed computerised VAT, Payroll and PAYE/PRSI for sole tranders and small business partnerships, submitting relevant forms to Collector General
  • Accompanied accountants to on-site company audits
  • Gained knowledge of accounts preparation and audit methodologies
  • Contributed to weekly progress meetings when required

Ballincollig Credit Union, Cork (voluntary)

Junior Accounts Assistant

  • Completed account transactions and reconciled client accounts
  • Assisted clients in completing loan application forms
  • Liaised with internal staff in collating financial data for production in the annual report
  • Responded to requests for information in person, on the telephone, and in writing

AIB, Deutsche Bank,


Ernest & Young, KPMG, Deloitte


Interests & AchievementsDescribe your main interests including positions of responsibility including active membership of clubs and societies.

Group Your Activities:

  • Sports

Member and Treasurer of St. Michaels GAA team (dates)

Active Member of UCC Soccer Team (dates)

Contribution as Treasurer:

Attend monthly meetings advising members of budget issues

and invoices that need to be paid

Maintain club accounts and liaise with auditors on an annual basis

  • Class Representative for 4th Year Commerce

Liaise with academic staff and students on arising class issues

Liaise with Students Union, attending monthly meetings and relate relevant information to class group

AIB, Deutsche Bank,


Ernest & Young, KPMG, Deloitte

Personal InvolvementGive details of any experience of dealing with or being responsible for groups of people/additional skills

Last summer I had the opportunity to work as a Summer Camp Leader with

Football Opportunity Camp, Ontario, Canada. Initially on my arrival I undertook

a number of training events in such areas as leadership,counselling, and activity

instruction which included organisation and time management skills. On

completion of this training I was assigned to supervise and be responsible for a

group of 20 students ranging in ages from 14 – 18 years which involved:

  • Providing guidance and care to ensure that campers had a safe and rewarding experience.
  • Co-ordinated a daily rota of activities based on students’ level of experience.
  • Responsible for teaching and assisting students with in-camp activity classes.
  • Liaised with camp counsellor, parents and management on a daily basis.
  • Attended weekly team meetings addressing programmeand staff evaluation, equipment inventories and summer end reports.AIB
what employers want
What Employers Want?

AIB Capital Markets

  • Among the attributes selected by AIB capital Markets for successful applications - team work is one of the most important
  • Demonstration of team work in college in a multidisciplinary environment or committee work AIB

Crowley DFK - 3 Key Score Areas

  • Academic - must be able to prove strong academic ability
  • Attitude – overall attitude to work and career aspirations
  • Skills and personal qualities – what can you bring to the firm?

Crowley DFK


Accenture – 5 Criteria

  • Academic Excellence – 400 points in Leaving Cert. – 2H1 or better in Degree
  • Interest in Technology/Business – active interest is a must
  • Innovative – Resilience and hard working, being prepared to challenge assumptions
  • Passion – Self motivation and confidence play key parts in your success
  • Flexibility – Mobility and ability to adjust to different work environments is essential”




  • “The process provides the candidates with an opportunity to demonstrate their competencies in a number of different areas across 4 assessment stages ie application form, first interview, selection exercise and second interview.
  • Application form: this form explores information in relation to;
  • Education and vocational background
  • Career motivation
  • Assessment of leadership and business skills

Ensure you meet submission deadline – no acceptance of late applications

  • Ensure the form is neatly written and legible. NB that KPMG can read it!
  • Give all answers on the form equal attention – all answers matter even the tick the box ones and all are on the form for a reason so do your research on each of them and give equal attention.
  • Keep a copy of the form – the information you provide forms the basis of the interviews so you need to ensure to have a copy to reread and refresh your memory before interview.” KPMG


  • “Demonstrate evidence of interpersonal skills because of the broad client base of PWC
  • Involvement in extra-curricular activities is essential as well as demonstration of involvement with Clubs, Societies etc
  • Done something different? This is interesting and should be noted ie travelling etc.

Tied into this is evidence of interaction with other people and the ability to stand on your own 2 feet.

  • Good academic background at university ie 2H1 or better as well as good Leaving Cert. especially in Maths and English
  • Make the effort on the application form as it is obvious if you haven’t. Applications for the sake of it are disregarded”. PWC

Lazard Capital Markets, London

“Communication skills are key in this business. Our job is to

advise clients – therefore it is imperative that candidates can

demonstrate clear and concise communication skills in all

assessment activities…..beginning with the application form”

Lazard Capital Markets


“Do not leave any gaps (repeat years, results etc.). It is important

to fill in all the boxes this includes the number of CAO points

awarded. Deloitte in Ireland received over 1400 graduate

applications last year, therefore it is really important that the

candidate supplies all of the information asked for, otherwise they

are likely to be screened out.


Deloitte have identified a number of key competencies outlined in the application form which are required for the role. Therefore, our questions are aimed at allowing the candidate to demonstrate their abilities under each of our key competencies.

  • This competency based assessment will run through to the interview stage.


finally always try to
Finally, always try to……
  • Give evidenceto back up your statements
  • Give enough detail, but
  • Be succinct in your statements – don’t ramble on
  • Give positive statements about yourself – but don’t say anything you can’t backup
  • Really try to answerthe question posed on the form
  • Application Forms must be targeted to indivdiual employers
  • Do out a number of draft application forms for each company
  • Bring completed drafts down to the career service for final review before posting
  • Accountancy Deadlines – 20th/21st October 04
  • Check with Careers Service Website for Financial Services Deadlines www.ucc.ie/careers
careers service opening hours
Careers Service Opening Hours

Open Monday to Thursday 9:30 – 5:00

Fridays 9:30 – 4:00

Open through Lunch!