PwC's Claire: 'Working in financial crime has given me the chance to give back to my local community'

  • - Written by the team at PwC

    Claire is part of our Operate team based in Belfast. She joined our Financial Crime team on her placement year, and returned following graduation, during both periods she gained experience in analyst and quality control roles. 

    Having studied Business Management, Claire was unsure what route she wanted to take after graduating and found her business placement gave her insight into the many areas within PwC. It’s one of the main reasons she’d recommend a placement and career at PwC to anyone. 

    As an analyst, Claire performed due diligence on her clients, obtaining information regarding the nature of businesses, ownership and screening. In a Quality Control role, she reviewed and provided feedback on cases prior to completion. This gave her the ability to understand the risks posed and whether this was outside her client’s risk appetite. After gaining confidence in her role and taking on opportunities to lead on various engagements, Claire started to look for other opportunities within PwC. She’s now part of various committees and helps organise events in the Belfast office bringing people together.

    Claire’s since moved from a Quality Control role and is now a transaction monitoring analyst, deducing if accounts are being used illegitimately and whether they warrant a disclosure to the National Crime Agency. 

    “Joining the Financial Crime team has been a great step in my career. The projects I have been on have taught me to adapt to fluctuation of workloads and time pressures. Every client and project is always different which means I’m continually learning something new, whether that’s new system processes or technologies that help us.
    The collaboration within my team means we’re always working together with these new processes which in turn helps everyone however new or experienced they are.

    I’m also part of the FinCrime CSR committee, where our committee actively works alongside charities to support their initiatives, be it through general fundraising or more specific agendas that we can channel our skills to support.” 

    When she’s not at work Claire’s started to learn Makaton, a language combined of signs, speech and symbols. Having completed level 1-3 she’s found learning this new language incredibly fulfilling and is planning to continue her learning to advanced level.

    One of the benefits enjoyed by most people at PwC is the flexibility around working hours, and with the shift towards a hybrid approach to office and home working, this will undoubtedly please Claire who is a self-confessed morning outdoorsy person.

    “I just love getting up early, before the day has started for most people and getting outside. I live on the outskirts of Belfast and benefit from some beautiful outdoor spaces. Helen’s Bay beach isn’t far from me and I enjoy going down there for early morning sea swimming; it really helps set me up for the day ahead. I’ve tried to keep it up even during winter which might seem mad but I really do enjoy it!

    I’ve also recently started hiking up the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland which has some of the best views I’ve seen. I do appreciate the flexibility that’s given to us at PwC and I appreciate that’s down to the trust we have within our teams to be able to work this way.”

    The sense of teamwork and community is another area of work life at PwC that Claire’s proud of. Having that support network around you to encourage you to learn and develop, as well as help when you are struggling to grasp new processes means that everyone is comfortable in speaking up, creating a real genuine sense of community.

    Claire said she’d describe herself as enthusiastic, energetic and chatty, but like many undergraduates she had little experience of public speaking beyond the university presentations she’d been involved in. She found that the placement gave her the opportunity to step out of her comfort zone to not only present but also to grow in confidence in her working with senior members of her own team and clients.

    “Looking back, one of the proudest moments I’ve had at PwC was certainly on my placement year at the Operate Strategy day. I was petrified of public speaking but was encouraged by my career coach and peers to have a role in the day. I’m so glad I did as it meant returning to university with the confidence I needed to deliver presentations more effectively and when I returned to PwC after graduating I found speaking with clients less daunting.”

    At PwC we encourage an environment where you’re able to continually learn and upskill yourself, taking ownership of your own career. And that’s exactly what Claire did when moving from analyst to a quality control role. 

    With carefully curated training programmes designed to help you with specific learning, our internal training system gives our people the opportunity to take on new learning which could open doors for you in the future.

    “Operate is always developing. On a personal level we all take accountability for learning the new technologies, processes and systems which PwC adopt, and then as a team we work together to ensure these are used in the best way possible to help our clients. There used to be a high degree of manual entry of data involved in Financial Crime which could lead to human error, project delays and additional costs.

    With the feedback from our teams, we’ve been able to introduce several processes which eliminates these errors and creates efficiencies for everyone. The continual upskilling and technological advancements means we’re able to automate these data-entry processes giving us more time to further analyse the information.”

    Looking to the future Claire can see the huge opportunities not only within the Operate business but also in Belfast and Northern Ireland. 

    “PwC really has opportunities for everyone. When I joined on my placement year I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do or what it would be like in a professional work space, but the opportunities PwC has given me has taught me so much about myself and what I want from my career.

    I’ve learnt so many new skills from my PwC journey, and continue to do so daily. If there’s anything new you’d like to learn or improve on, there’s training courses and people to speak to which enable you to do this. You don’t have to always wait for others to dictate when the right time is to take the next step in your career too, you are given the power and encouragement to create your own future. It’s one of the reasons why I continue to feel so much fulfillment in my role with PwC.”

    To find out more about Operate, click here.

    To read more about our Northern Ireland teams, click here.

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