Katie Dallimore-Fox is an Audit Partner at EY Reading and shares her career journey from joining as an Audit Senior in 2011 after qualifying as an accountant in a smaller tier firm, to making Partner just 10 years later.
atie studied Economics at the University of Bath and moved to Hampshire to join a small tier firm, and in that time seconded to a Corporate Finance team.
“It was quite a small team, but you could socialise and network. But after a pretty significant life event I realised that life is short, and I wanted to move on in my career. And that’s when I saw EY’s advert”.
Katie was interviewed by Marcus Butler, Audit Partner at EY and who she still considers one of her key mentors to this day. The interview gave her a sense of the culture at EY and how she was going to feel welcome.
“Sponsorship is really important at EY. You’re not expected to know everything when you join, so having people that support you in navigating your network is helpful, so you know who to go to ask questions. For me this was Marcus when I joined and even now as I begin my journey as Audit Partner.
“Coming from a small tier firm, I did have imposter syndrome at the start. I would think ‘I’m about to join a Big 4 firm – am I going to feel like an outsider’. But that quickly left when I began working with people on projects. There is an EY way of doing things so coming from an outside firm I did have to learn and train on new processes and operational ways of running audits, but the support and training was always there to help to succeed”.
Leaning into a big firm
Katie shadowed a qualified senior for six months from joining EY which gave her the confidence to ask questions, and bounce ideas. Katie’s biggest reflection from when she joined is that you need a lot of personal motivation to lean into the training, development, and processes of working on EY’s listed clients. And for her, navigating a large firm like EY was quite challenging at the start, but there was always somewhere to go for help.
“Something that I never got to experience from a small tier firm was auditing large clients or listed clients. So for me, the breadth of experience that you get when you join EY is incredible. There’s always an excitement I get from sitting in a boardroom or on an audit committee for those listed clients. And knowing what we get to deliver for these clients is motivating”.
A key transferrable skill for anyone coming from a small tier or mid-tier firm to EY is the experience of working cross service line in both Audit and Tax and being part of a team.
“Lean into those strengths of having experienced any tax compliance work or working on audits that have only three people working on them. You’re showing how you can act in more managerial roles and have had exposure to a breadth of knowledge already”.
Commercial acumen is something that is different for Katie since joining EY and is important for working in audit.
“Expanding the levels of discussions that you have with your clients and your teams is something you’ll be doing when you join EY. Your network here will be there to support you. We have dedicated technical teams that massively help with questions on the audit process”.