Life at Deloitte

Your first client engagement: Courtney Newcombe

Lessons learned when starting out at Deloitte

August 8, 2019

Deloitte professionals are constantly challenged by new projects and clients, allowing them to learn and grow professionally. The scope and depth of the work are varied and sometimes complex. But when asked, Deloitte professionals always remember their very first client engagement.

For some, it was both an exciting and nerve-racking experience, while others were confident in their abilities right off the bat. But the consensus is that it was an opportunity to grow and to learn from their team members, understand the needs of their clients, and to make an impact. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing a series about several of our recent hires’ first engagement experiences from when they joined Deloitte. 

Courtney Newcombe, audit & assurance senior assistant, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Phoenix, AZ

Outside of work: My hobbies include travel, fitness, and hiking. 

Fun fact: I am currently planning a trip to Europe with some of my best friends that I met at Deloitte. 

Describe your first client engagement.

My first engagement was an audit of a publicly traded homebuilder. I had worked with the team before during my internship, and I was excited to be joining the team full time. I served as the only junior professional on the engagement, working closely with the senior professional daily.

Did you feel nervous?

Since the Phoenix office has so many real estate clients, I had a lot of resources to utilize when I had a question about anything. My team was very inviting and helpful, so I didn't feel very nervous at all. I could tell that my manager and senior had a great relationship with everyone, and I soon would too.

What are three tips you would give someone just about to start a client engagement?

1.    Ask as many questions as possible. Your team expects you to have questions about the client, the industry, team protocol, etc. I respect team members who ask lots of thoughtful questions because it demonstrates their desire to produce quality work and develop a better understanding of the client.

2.    Research the client beforehand, whether that's reading through a company’s 10-K or requesting onboarding information from your team ahead of time, I encourage new staff to try their best to be somewhat familiar with their client before the first day arriving on site.

3.    Seek feedback from your team. I found that some of my best learning opportunities occurred when I asked my manager to grab coffee for a quick check-in or asked to have a work-paper reviewed live so that we could discuss the testing together in person. These conversations always gave me valuable insight into how my work fits into the bigger picture. They also allowed my managers to provide advice and pointers to help me improve.

Is there anything you know now that would have helped you with your first client engagement?

I learned so much during my first client engagement, but the one thing that would have helped me is knowing to ask as many questions as necessary. I think asking more questions earlier on during my first client engagement would have helped me learn about the client and real estate industry more quickly.

Read about Manan Shah's first client engagement, and check back soon for more stories!

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