Frances Executive Director/Vice President, Internal Audit Internal Audit division, London
Internal Audit is the perfect department for identifying opportunities across the firm, for getting involved in a diverse range of activities and for building your network.
I am an Executive Director in Internal Audit managing a team of six people that covers the firm’s Securities and Investment Banking divisions. My team works in partnership with our clients to identify potential risks and control weaknesses within their business and to agree on and track solutions for remediation. In addition to my audit role, I’m also co-head of the Legal, Compliance, Internal Audit and Executive Office Women’s Network where we focus on the strategy for retaining top female talent at the firm and providing events that cater to the career and development challenges faced by the men and women of our division. My work varies and involves both individual, self-directed activities such as responding to client queries and ad hoc reviews, and larger team-based projects that can be multiregional and span a number of months.
Internal Audit is the perfect department for identifying opportunities across the firm, for getting involved in a diverse range of activities and for building your network. For me, this has led me to become involved in two firmwide working groups and has also provided me with the opportunity to work in a number of offices around the globe.
The great thing about working here is that Goldman Sachs has a very diverse workforce and working alongside these talented individuals challenges my way of thinking and pushes me to consider new strategies for approaching issues and solving problems. I definitely think that the best part about my job is the wide range of people that I get to interact with and the broad view of all levels across the organization that this gives me. Also, the Internal Audit department is constantly evolving, making it an interesting and exciting place to work.
My day-to-day responsibilities include project managing individual audits, discussing control challenges with the clients, investigating incidents across the division and responding to client requests. My current assignment is auditing a business that I have not had exposure to previously and so it’s an opportunity to learn about new products and processes.
The most challenging part of my role in audit is managing the expectations of my clients in terms of how much of their business we can provide assurance on. It is also difficult to negotiate ownership of the solutions that are reached to solve the identified issues.
I came to Goldman Sachs by chance. I studied mathematics at university with intentions of becoming an engineer after graduation. This changed when I decided that instead of continuing on with my studies I wanted to start working, and so I joined a leading Accounting and Consulting firm as an Internal Auditor in their public sector practice. I remained there for five years, focusing on local government clients and central government contracts and was then offered a position in Internal Audit at Goldman Sachs. Even though I had never worked in the financial sector before, I was eager to accept the challenge and happy to have the chance to work in such a dynamic environment.
I remember being quite overwhelmed my first few days at Goldman Sachs as there was so much to learn. The firm has a reputation of striving for excellence in everything that it does and part of that means focusing on the advancement of its people. When you work here you can tell that you are part of an organization that cares about your development and invests in that every day.
Above that, I was impressed by how open and friendly all of my colleagues were. The firm is a truly diverse organisation that brings people together from different cultures and backgrounds. This became very apparent during my first week at the firm when I found myself in a lift in my London building with conversations going on around me in three different languages!
When I was working in the public sector I never considered a career in financial services. Instead, I was beginning to think about a change of direction towards a different industry such as retail or non-profit. I am grateful that I stumbled upon this opportunity at Goldman Sachs and since joining the Internal Audit department I have never looked back.
The banking industry includes a huge variety of roles from marketing and event coordinating, to financial accounting, to trading and technology programming. My advice for anyone considering a career in this industry would be to research all the opportunities that are available and don’t limit yourself to the positions you’re familiar with, and pose questions to people in the business to learn more. Take time to identify your strengths and the things that you enjoy doing and then seek guidance on which roles will best play to those characteristics. The most successful people are usually those who really enjoy their job.