By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Not surprisingly for someone who’s attained an executive position in a Canadian based professional staffing and recruitment firm specializing in Finance and Technology, Kevin Jeewan has a few international stops on his resume.
“I’ve worked at both PwC and Ernst & Young in the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago,” he told us when we spoke to him recently during a break in his busy schedule. “I worked as an Audit Senior for those firms.”
He left the Big4 to move to Canada to begin work with Lannick Finance & Accounting, an arm within the Lannick Group of Companies that has been recruiting professionals for intermediate to senior level permanent and contract roles since 1985. His experiences add some valuable insights to our series of career discussions in what it takes to get ahead and
stay ahead in the Big4.
One of the first things he stresses to those looking for an upward trajectory is mastery of the Uniform Evaluation (UFE) that’s the last stage for students looking to get their chartered accountant designation in Canada.
“Passing the UFE on your first attempt is pretty important because it helps your progression with any firm,” he says adding the ability to sell across service lines at your firm to existing clients in other areas is another important consideration.
“How I define that is by saying audit for many firms is not a growth pillar. Either fees are declining or they’re holding steady at marginal growth rates of one to two percent in the audit groups but they’re still the mainstay of the Big4,” he says. “Where individuals in audit can actually add value is to cross-sell certain services and get highly recognized for consulting in other groups.” He mentioned enterprise risk and tax as just two examples.
Jeewan clarifies his philosophy on where you need to focus by explaining things from the Big4 standpoint.
“In the end, the Big4 firms look at you as a revenue driver and not a cost centre. If you talk to any partners, they view their roles and their team’s roles as revenue drivers.”
Having a broad skill set is another one of the ingredients to a successful career according to Jeewan.
“That’s about not only being academically smart and hard working, but also showing that you’re a good corporate citizen in terms of getting involved with charities and things like that,” he said. “Having the time to be an extremely well-rounded individual bodes extremely well for your career path in the Big4.”