From wanting to build a broad client portfolio to spearheading digital transformation. There are many career paths following the SR Academy – and many personal journeys leading into it.

For some of Deloitte’s talents, the year 2022 will likely always stay in their memories as they can now call themselves State Authorised Public Accountants (statsautoriseret revisor in Danish, hence the name SR Academy). After passing their final exam, with crowds gathered inside the historic halls of Børsen in Copenhagen, they can finally tick off this monumental part of their career to-do list – for most people, a very special and touching moment.

Lise Hillersborg Madsen, Kris Eggertsen and Naja Vestergaard Jessen are all part of the SR class of 2022, but each of them with their own unique story. Lise graduated after just two years and two months, Kris left the academy, but eventually came back, and Naja decided to do things at her own pace to find that inner balance that everyone is searching for.

Three different talents with three different stories – but united by their personal growth during this intensive time of their lives. After all, the SR Academy is as much a personal learning experience as a professional training programme, with everyone at Deloitte rooting for your success.

Learning to trust yourself

Lise Hillersborg Madsen is the first to share her story. She is 31 years old and has been with Deloitte since 2014:

“I’m from a family where everyone workswith numbers. After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Aalborg, I decided to move back to Silkeborg where I joined the Deloitte office. Later, I started my master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration (cand.merc.aud) and then the SR Academy. I wouldn’t say that I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be a State Authorised Public Accountant, but things have just progressed naturally for me. I made the decisions as I went along, and then I slowly found my way.”

According to Lise, the academy was tough, but not inhuman, and a great opportunity to test one’s boundaries:

“Becoming a State Authorised Public Accountant requires a lot of work, and there were many weekends where I had to study instead of unwinding and relaxing as you would normally do. However, it’s very rewarding. Personally, I got a chance to build my self-confidence. Especially during the exams, where you have to make a lot of decisions and trust your instincts. I learned that I am capable of a lot more than I thought. It’s been a process of intense learning and growth.”

Taking a detour, but coming back

Kris Eggertsen is 34 years old and joined Deloitte in Aalborg in 2008. Four years later, he received his Graduate Diploma (HD), then went on to study the master’s programme (cand.merc.aud), after which he went on to the SR Academy. However, in 2021, he decided to leave Deloitte and the audit industry altogether for a job as a financial controller in a large company. After a few months, he decided to return and now works full time for Deloitte’s Audit Quality and Risk Office (AQRO) in Copenhagen.

“My time at the SR Academy has definitely been more rocky than for most people,” Kris says. “I started in 2018 under the old study plan with three written exams. I passed the A and B exams in 2019, failed the C exam in 2020, took a break from the industry, and then returned and passed the C exam in 2022 before passing the final oral exam. I’ll be honest and say that it has sometimes been hard to find the motivation for so long; however, I’m very happy today that I pulled through, and it’s been really rewarding both professionally and personally.”

Working for Deloitte’s Audit Quality and Risk Office, Kris does not have a client portfolio. Instead, he is responsible for Deloitte’s financial reporting application, FACT. He also specialises in the Danish Financial Statements Act, and he is a subject matter expert when it comes to the so-called ESEF reporting for listed companies.

“I’m enjoy working for AQRO where I can specialise in some very specific accounting-related areas and be a go-to person for my colleagues. The audit industry is changing a lot these years with increased digitalisation and standardisation, new regulations, and simply a new way of doing things. Our clients also expect us to be at the forefront of technology, innovation, sustainability and other areas that matter to them. They want to future-proof their businesses, and as auditors we need to be right there with them to support their journey.”

Finding your own way, at your own pace

Naja Vestergaard Jessen, 31, works at Deloitte’s office in Aarhus. She joined Deloitte more than 12 years ago, straight out of business college. Like Kris, she got her Graduate Diploma (HD) and master’s degree before entering the SR Academy – in her own words the “classic audit career path”. However, in spite of her success, Naja has had to learn how to deal with pressure and find the right balance in her life:

“From the beginning, I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it through the SR Academy, and it’s a huge boost to see that, yes, I did have what it takes. Luckily, I was able to use a lot of my experience from working with many different clients over many years. However, I’ve also felt the pressure, and there were times where I was under too much stress and had to take a break from everything. I’m happy that I am now on the other side, and I’m very relieved to have passed the oral exam at Børsen, which is such a special and nerve-wracking moment.”

Besides finding her own life balance, Naja clearly sees how many of her young colleagues are creating a different career path where work is not necessarily everything:

“The new generations that join Deloitte definitely have a different perspective on work-life balance, which I think is healthy for everyone. Historically, too many people have left the audit industry because of the high pressure and many hours. That is all changing now, and as a company we have become much more inclusive than before in terms of allowing people to create the career that feels right for them.”

A bright future

Lise, Kris and Naja are all optimistic about the future following their graduation from the SR Academy. Kris will continue his work with process optimisation and digital transformation in the industry – and he wants to teach the next generation how to take advantage of these tools. Naja wants to continue her work with her impressive client portfolio, which already includes many different companies, ranging from DKK 10 million DKK in yearly revenue to almost a billion.

Lise eventually wants to focus on a particular industry, but she is not ready to make that choice yet. Her best advice is to stay open-minded and not plan everything ahead. She urges others to look for the opportunities that present themselves and see which doors will open along the way. Because in her view, nothing is given and a career in auditing may take you places you had never dreamt of going.

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