Hollie is a Strategy Ace. She started her Audit graduate programme in 2015 after graduating in Accounting & Financial Management. What has she discovered so far?

Starting out – ‘Get your experiences working for you’

“I was netball and swimming captain at school, and in my gap year I was a store supervisor at the Body Shop.

“At university I was a volunteer project leader, finance liaison and business mentor, and a course representative and university mentor.

“These experiences helped me to lead, communicate, organise and work in teams. I started to discover how to get the best out of people, and saw the way they respond to different approaches.

“I now use these skills as an auditor, mainly with stakeholders, getting tasks done with no last-minute stresses.”

Preparation – ‘Do an internship if you can’

“After doing the summer internship, I knew Lloyds Banking Group was where I wanted to start my graduate career.

“During the ten-week internship they kept giving me challenging things to do, which engaged me and made me feel part of the team.

“If this was what the internship was like, surely the graduate programme would be even better – and I wasn’t disappointed.”

Development ­ ­– ‘You can shape the future you want’

“ My programme’s a whole new level. It’s deeper and broader than the internship, with expert on-going support from our line managers and mentors.

“We even get to suggest ways to make the programme even better, so they obviously respect our opinions and experiences. Having a say in what I want out of my next three years – that’s empowering.”

People – ‘Know your colleagues are important’

“One of my strengths is making sure my colleagues are happy and engaged with their work. If something’s not right, I like to get to the root cause and rectify it.

“I’m as passionate about others’ development as I am about my own, and I want all the graduates on my programme to get as much from it as I do.”

Support ­– ‘Turn your weaknesses into strengths’

“My line managers encourage me to do online learning, for my soft skills and for business topics useful for my development.

“They push me to take on tasks that aren’t audit related, and to take on more ‘building blocks’ each time I start a new audit.

“They help me understand myself better, to see what I’m good at and not so good at, and where to focus my attention. They’ve shown me that every challenge is a good challenge and the developing never stops.”

Breadth ­– ‘The training covers much more than Audit’

“We do three different placements with three different audit teams on our programme, and then another placement somewhere else in the group.

“I’ve done my ‘Customer In Me’ training and my ‘Understanding Yourself’ training, so I now know why and how to put customers first, and how to use my strengths to get the best out of others.

“I’ve also done a lot of core audit training for the technicalities of my job, and presentation training, so now I’m more comfortable presenting than I was before I joined.

“All this and I’ve not finished my first placement yet.”

Defining moment ­– ‘They happen all the time’

“For me, defining moments happen whenever I meet someone new and learn something from them.

“This happens most days because there are a lot of different and very interesting people here.

“All the time I’m learning new things and stepping outside my comfort zone. How else do you grow?” 

Biggest surprise – ‘How helpful everyone is’

“It’s exciting to see the impact that Audit has on the organisation as a whole, and the amount we do to improve processes for everyone.

“My biggest surprise is how helpful people are. It’s easy to talk to everyone in the department, even the senior directors.”

Typical day –  ‘Communicating, organising, time-keeping’

“I get involved in transformation pieces, where we’re proposing and making change to processes.

“I support our more experienced colleagues ­in liaising with stakeholders, conducting tests and reporting my findings so that we can decide what needs to happen to change things.”

Key discovery – ‘I can build relationships’

“I’ve already learned a lot, from core audit methodology to understanding how the wider business works.

“I’ve also discovered I can build long lasting relationships with key colleagues and stakeholders, I’m empathic towards others, and I have good influencing skills.”

Where next – ‘Audit and beyond’

“I’d like a placement in a part of the business where I can become a subject matter expert, then I can bring back my knowledge and share it with my team in audit.

“A year from now I’d like to be leading my own scope areas in an audit and producing compelling pieces of work.

“Three years from now I’d like to be an audit manager, planning my own audits and running them end to end – by this time I should have done my functional audit placement, my risk audit placement and my business placement.

“After that I don’t know. Maybe I’ll explore beyond Group Audit into other business units to gain a wider understanding of the opportunities on offer.”

Top tip – ‘Sit down and talk with people’

“The support is here for you from day one. They’ll pay for you to do your professional qualifications, so go for it.

“Make the most of all the various training days for understanding the group and its values.

“Remember that you’ve been selected because they think you’re good and want you to do well.

“Everyone’s extremely helpful and friendly, always willing to sit down with you and talk you through anything you need to know.”

Nice to know – ‘Three must-haves’

1. My watch, because I hate being late.

2. My coffee machine, because nothing beats a decent coffee when you need a lift.

3. My headphones, because I’m a good listener

You can shape the future you want