Vanderbilt MAcc Assurance
Assurance Experienced Associate | PwC
Assurance Experienced Associate | PwC
As a Vanderbilt economics major in undergrad, Doug Norfleet realized that a majority of recruiting for his classmates focused on consulting or investment banking, which didn’t quite fit his career aspirations. He knew that he wanted a career in business, but wasn’t sure where to start. Public accounting seemed like a great option, allowing him to learn how businesses work and honing his ability to speak the language of business. He enrolled in the Vanderbilt MAcc program and landed an internship with PwC in Nashville. He now works full time for PwC, specializing in Healthcare Provider businesses. Here’s what a day in Doug’s life looks like:
I’m currently training for a marathon and I like to get my workout done early. After a jog around my neighborhood, I’ll whip up some eggs and read a few headlines from Factiva, a news source PwC provides all employees that includes business publications.
I generally leave my house around this time and head either to a client site or to the office. I have many clients throughout the year, so I’m usually switching locations every 4 to 8 weeks.
I start my day reading emails, gathering my thoughts about tasks left over from the previous day and making sure that I know what my priorities are for the day ahead.
Early mornings are often the best time to touch base with various teams. We use specialist teams for certain areas of the audit to ensure we’re offering the highest value to our clients and use technology to collaborate effectively. Using specialists provides efficiency and allows me to focus on more challenging and interesting tasks.
Once or twice a week, our team will have a “huddle” meeting where we talk through our project plan and discuss issues that might impact the audit. Now that I’m in my third year with the firm, I lead these meetings for our team.
Late mornings are often focused on coaching less experienced members of the team. Working in the Big 4 is a continual learning process, meaning you must pass on what you’ve learned when a new class of associates comes in. You truly understand how much you’ve learned in a few short years when teaching others!
Most days the team goes out to lunch, walking if possible to break up the day. We like to emphasize staying healthy as part of PwC’s “Be Well, Work Well” campaign. About once a month, I’ll meet with my career coach who acts as a mentor within the firm. We’ll chat about my current projects, any advice I need for challenging situations, as well as potential opportunities for me down the road.
Depending on the day, the afternoon can be focused on a number of things. Some days I will work through a complex spreadsheet to understand how management came up with an estimated balance. Other days, I’ll meet with my manager to discuss their review notes on a task I have already prepared. No two days are the same and I get the chance to put a variety of skills to use each week.
During the course of the day, I’ll drum up a number of questions for the client. Whether it’s more documentation needed or a conversation to walk through a business process, my goal is to get the answers before they head out for the day.
I always take notes of where I leave off for the day and what I need to check off the next. I also check in with my seniors or managers before heading out.
If it’s summer, I’ll find something to do in the city, such as a concert or a baseball game. During busy season, I’ll work from home for a few hours after dinner.
Working in the Big 4 is a great opportunity. I’ve had the chance to learn the business environments of several industries and how the economy impacts their profitability. Beyond that, I have resources at my fingertips that would be hard to get elsewhere. Big 4 firms have specialists in every imaginable field and mentors lined up willing to get you to the next level of your career.
UPDATE: Doug recently received a promotion to Assurance Senior Associate and transitioned to PwC's office in Washington, D.C. Metro area.