I’ve taken the very difficult decision that it’s time for me to leave the NAO so this blog post will also be my last one. Join me when I’m looking back at some of the things that I will miss working here.
The London office, set among the graceful Victorian and Regency architecture of Pimlico, is a lovely place to work. Nearby are leafy squares and imposing town houses, including 65 Eaton Place, the setting of the TV series Upstairs, Downstairs (actually in the series it was number 165 but they painted the 1 in for the cameras). On my regular lunchtime walks, I’ve spotted numerous blue plaques announcing the famous people who lived in the area, including Sir Winston Churchill; Mozart; Noel Coward; Laura Ashley and Sir Laurence Olivier.
A strange one this, since my main reason for leaving is to spend more time at home, but there are bits of audit visits I will miss. The working atmosphere is one of those – on audit you always feel part of a team, and that’s reinforced by staying in the same hotels and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Getting out of the office, travelling to different parts of the country and meeting the clients, seeing the context behind the numbers in the accounts, all make the job more interesting.
Merlin is our intranet, where you can find everything from the answer to a tricky audit question to someone to share a flat. One of my favourites is the suggestion scheme. A number of ideas have been taken on board, such as casual Fridays and support for some voluntary work. I’m not sure whether the latest suggestion for a bring your pet to work scheme will ever catch on, despite provoking some hilarious debate. I hope someone will let me know the result!
There have been plenty of ways to get involved in areas outside my normal audit responsibilities: this blog for one, but also playing the role of a challenging client in the audit interview training; having lunch with the candidates on the graduate scheme assessment days, and staffing a stall at the induction jamboree. These have been great fun and a chance to get to know colleagues around the office.
Baking is a bit of a tradition in the office. Delicious cakes baked by colleagues regularly appear in the office together with an email invitation to “help yourself”. It’s tantalising when you’re miles away on audit and you still get that email. We are trying to persuade one of our team to go in for the Great British Bake-off – watch out for the auditor on your TV screens next year!
I’m leaving the best to last of course. Saying goodbye to all the friendly, intelligent, individual, interesting, supportive, and generally lovely people I have met here is the hardest part about leaving. It’s not only my audit colleagues I’ll miss, but also those I’ve met through the Union, the choir, this blog and of course my college buddies who have shared the ups and downs of studying for the ACA over the past two years.
It’s been a continuous learning experience. I have absorbed such a lot of knowledge that my head feels as if it might burst. I’ve made new friends, gained a qualification (the Certificate in Finance and Business), counted missiles, and found out how my taxes are spent. I’ve dressed up as an eighties glam rocker and a fifties lady at two Christmas parties, taken part in a fantastic film quiz and sung Christmas carols for charity in the foyer. I’m sad to be leaving but very glad that I filled in that daunting application form back in April 2012. If you’re wondering whether to apply, my advice would be to do what I did, and go for it!
The NAO graduate blog thanks Lis for being part of the blogging team. We will sincerely miss her blog posts but wish her the very best for her new life post-NAO. Keep on blogging, Lis!
Our 2015 graduate training scheme is now open to applications (deadline 31 December 2014). Head over to our graduate recruitment site for further information on how to apply.