"A brilliant educational platform" – Harry
- Harry Pujara
Harry graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Mathematics with Finance in 2013. Prior to joining EY as a graduate he completed a summer internship with us in 2012. Harry is now a Tax Advisor in our Leeds office.
What were the key factors that made you choose EY?
I had been on the summer internship in summer 2012 for 6 weeks and found this to be a great experience. Aside from the interesting work I was involved in, the people were great and I was made to feel part of the team even for those 6 weeks.
How has EY helped prepare you to make an impact in your career?
EY has so far provided a brilliant educational platform for my professional qualifications and I have recently completed the joint ACA-CTA programme, which makes me eligible to join both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
Similarly, EY provides great on the job learning. Throughout my time at EY, no question has been too simple for any senior member of staff to answer when I am working on client projects. Importantly, Partners, Directors and other senior staff are great at sharing experiences and knowledge on a day to day basis.
Are you involved in any initiatives that allow you to make a difference to EY or to the wider community?
Through EY Foundation, I was involved in Maths mentoring at a local school, helping students prepare for their upcoming GCSE exams. At times it was challenging and was very different to the day job, but being able to provide help to students who just needed an extra bit of help to get them through was very rewarding.
I have also been involved in being a host for smart futures students, who come into the office for a 3 week period for work experience, trying to give them a brief overview of a “day in the life of a tax advisor”, giving them various client and business development tasks to complete.
What would you like to achieve in your career with EY?
I would like to gain a broad experience of both client work and different cultures. Luckily at EY, there is endless opportunity to seek out the experiences that you want. So for me, to work with people from all over the world would be something I would like to continue doing.
Furthermore, working towards becoming as senior as possible at EY would be a long term aspiration. Being able to lead teams and create relationships with senior business persons both in VAT and wider is another career aspiration.
What would you tell graduates about the EY culture?
The culture is very much a “you get out what you put in”. Although the opportunities to get involved in so many exciting client and non-client work exist, you really have to take an active role in seeking these out.
In terms of the people at EY, my experience so far is that everyone is very open and always willing to pass on knowledge and experience which makes for a great place to learn and develop your career.
What advice would you give to new graduates, looking to join EY?
Speak to someone who works at EY if you can, whether that be at a recruitment or careers fair. I think getting an understanding from someone who is at EY will give you a greater understanding of life at EY and enable you to understand if both EY and the department you are choosing are right for you.
What's an interesting team project that you have worked on recently and what was your role?
I have been part of a team that has been working with a global client on introducing an Indirect Tax Technology Tool that assists with automating VAT returns, initially in the EU and subsequently in Central and Latin America. As part of the projects with this client, I have been required to travel to Poland and even Costa Rica (never did I think that my job in VAT would take me to Central America)!
My role on the Central American project to start with was that I was involved in the validation stage of the project (making sure this was a viable option for the client), but as the project kicks off further, will involve coordinating with overseas EY offices on VAT technical areas of the project, testing of the tool before it goes live, acting as a point of contact for the client and performing client workshops on how to use and implement the tool into the day to day business processes. The EY team was around 8 people, including all different grades of staff and the project was purely led by Indirect Tax.
Were there any challenges on the project? How have you learnt from these?
Working across time zones can be one of the challenges that we face on these projects. In one scenario, we were working with colleagues in the UK and Australia whilst sat in Poland! This means that we have to make sure that when we do have time scheduled in with people in different time zones, that we use it very effectively and efficiently.
It has taught me to be extremely organized and to always prepare before any meeting. Something as simple as a time zone difference has taught me how valuable small amounts of someone’s time can be.
What individual challenges did you face on the project? How did you overcome them?
When starting out at EY, presenting and workshops was not something I had done a lot of. However, these projects often require you to present and carry out workshops for many people, so I had to quickly get used to doing this, but supported by more senior staff who are great at passing on their experiences and ways to present to different people.
Did you feel like you were able to make an impact on the project?
Not only on this project, but in all projects at EY, I have been given the chance to make an impact on the work that I do. In particular on these projects, this is usually delivering and managing a small area of a large project and being given the responsibility to co-ordinate that particular area.
Being given this responsibility as a graduate gives you the ability to make an impact but also gives you the opportunity to create relationships with clients and other stakeholders on the project.
Did the programme fulfil EY’s purpose of ‘building a better working world’?
Yes, throughout my time at EY and on this particular project, we have been working with the client to make their life easier but at the same time introducing consistency and best practice globally.
This has only happened by working with the client, and often on the client site with discussion and debate to get to the best possible answer.
What was the most satisfying part of working on this project?
Seeing something go from proposal to a real-world solution that the client now depends on, on a day-to-day basis (and getting to travel to different places around the world!).