A-Z Of Employers: Mazars

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The Independent Online

What does it do?

A while ago, we'd have called it a firm of accountants. But these days, it seems mere accountancy isn't enough. So Mazars styles itself as "an international firm specialising in audit, accounting, tax and advisory services". If the name isn't familiar, that's because it's French. Robert Mazars founded the firm in Rouen in 1940, and the name stayed when the business merged with the London-based Neville Russell accountants in 1998. Both sides brought substantial international operations to the table, giving the new firm branches all over the world. The most recent expansion has seen acquisitions in Switzerland and Estonia. Mazars currently audits the books of 170 companies around the world. Its business consultancy service targets small and medium-sized companies, and tax advice is offered to concerns of all sizes. A prominent strength of the London operation is in the insurance market.

Vital statistics:

A total of 10,000 employees, working in 58 countries, last year produced an estimated turnover of more than £300m.

The office:

The group head office is in Paris, with the British operation centred in London and employing 800 staff, including 89 partners. The 18 UK offices are spread from Southampton to Glasgow, via Luton and Leeds.

Is this you?

Fifty graduates are taken on in the UK every year, half of whom start in London. All train as chartered accountants. As you'd expect, a 2.1 is the minimum academic requirement, along with the less tangible qualities of enthusiasm, intelligence and a willingness to learn.

The recruitment process:

Online applications, via www.mazars.co.uk, are screened by the graduate recruitment team, and first interviews follow. If you get through to a second interview, prepare for a whole day of group and individual exercises, and a mild grilling from a partner. You'll also be able to meet current trainees. Read the website for recent recruits' accounts of their interviews. Training lasts for three years, but is much more than preparation to take the professional accountancy exams. Areas covered include auditing techniques, client handling, problem-solving, fraud and money laundering, plus generic managerial skills. Graduates evaluate and learn from their experiences as they progress. They start in one office but, with experience, move around between sites.

Top dollar?

The current starting salary for trainees in the London office is £22,500. Later, salaries are set according to experience.

Beam me up Scotty?

Mobility will do no harm to your chances of ascending the promotion ladder. Progress can be fast; a recent trainee made it to partner level before the age of 30.

Who's the boss?

The senior partner in the UK is David Evans, who joined in 1982, having done his professional training with what was then Touche Ross.

Little known fact:

How do you illustrate the web pages of an accountancy firm? Among other soothing images, Mazars has a man silhouetted on top of a mountain range, and a pair of hands spinning a globe. Ask a psychology graduate to explain!

Next week: MBDA, missile systems manufacturers

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