Aberdeen is the best of both worlds
After moving to Aberdeen two years ago, the morning is now my favourite time of the day. I wake up at around 6.30am and have breakfast with my husband, whilst overlooking beautiful views of the river Dee. This is a great way to ease into my day before I get ready and set off on a scenic commute from Drumoak to the office in Aberdeen, which is only 30 minutes away.
As an audit director at KPMG, my role entails auditing financial statements to ensure they are true and fair, providing assurance and reliability for clients that I work with in the north-east. Audits are annual, although there is regular contact throughout the year, which allows time to really understand a client’s business. It’s actually a privilege to learn about a company and understand them inside and out. I love seeing how each business really works, right down to the nitty gritty – I thoroughly enjoy a factory tour!
When I arrive at the office, my first task is always to clear e-mails and make sure that any client concerns that have come in overnight are resolved. I also check my diary to see what meetings are coming up that day – my on-site audit teams might need my involvement at short notice, meaning that my schedule can change very quickly and I have to be flexible. However, before I even consider starting these morning tasks, making myself a coffee is most definitely top of my list.
For me, no two days are the same, and daily are quite varied. However, it’s this variety of duties that makes working at KPMG so invigorating. My mornings usually fly by with various technical queries and client requests to respond to, but I always aim to stop for lunch at 12pm. The office has a great canteen, and I have a weakness for their mac and cheese. However, I usually try to be low-carb and opt for a salad if I can. On occasion, I will meet clients and contacts in the city for lunch, which is a good way to catch up and maintain relationships in a more relaxed environment. The KPMG office is in a great location in the city centre, so sometimes I get to enjoy some fresh air and walk to these meetings.
My responsibilities across one day can vary from planning and evaluating audits to HR responsibilities, speaking to entrepreneurs at Elevator, and leading training courses. KPMG also supports several local initiatives that I love to get involved in when I can. Last year KPMG worked with over 100 schools and colleges across the UK, supporting more than 9,000 young people, with the aim of sharing our experience of the working world, improving skills and increasing academic achievement. In Aberdeen, we take on 13 graduates a year and have a school-leaver’s programme, where we train people as young as 16.
My afternoons can quickly become booked up, with 50% of my time typically spent in the office, and the other 50% spent externally meeting existing and potential clients. So, if I want to engage in our company initiatives, I need to be super-organised in my day. I also need to be efficient with my time, as I can be in back-to-back meetings all day or absorbed in technical research for clients’ needs in the sectors I cover, which includes technology, oil and gas, local food and drink and agriculture.
Travel is also a large part of my role, as I regularly meet with our offices throughout the UK to give training sessions on auditing processes. I can sometimes travel abroad with my clients and am constantly travelling around north-east Scotland for various projects and meetings. Before I know it, my day is done.
Working hours can vary throughout the year, but we are at our busiest in the months of January to March. The long hours over this period are rewarded in the summer with “jump-start Fridays”, whereby our teams can finish at 3pm – if all work is completed, that is.
This is a great perk in the summer, as I love to run at least three times a week – rain or shine. It is important to have a good work-life balance, and I always try to incorporate exercise into my working day, as well as the weekend. I rock-climb with my husband at least once a week at Transition Extreme, and we also curl in the winter. I love the outdoors, so living here provides the best of both worlds, with city living and countryside activities all on our doorstep.
4 REASONS WHY I LOVE MY JOB
1. The smart, funny and committed team players that I work with – for me, this is what makes the workplace enjoyable.
2. No two days are the same, which keeps my work interesting.
3. The businesses we work with, and seeing how they adapt and evolve. This presents numerous stimulating challenges that keep us on our toes.
4. The long-term relationships we build with our clients and being part of their journey is one of the most rewarding aspects.