Changing jobs and starting afresh always takes a leap of faith. And although the pandemic has complicated almost every aspect of our lives, if your gut’s telling you it’s time for a move, right now could be the opportune moment. But don’t take our word for it. Anoop Bilkhu joined our Audit team in February 2020, so, we caught up with him to ask what changing jobs during COVID-19 was really like!
Oh, and if you’d like to join Anoop at The Sunday Times’ 8th Best Company to Work For in the UK, why didn’t you ask? Check out our roles here.
Hey Anoop, tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you join us here at Cooper Parry?
My name’s Anoop and I joined the West Midlands Core Audit team in February 2020.
What made you decide it was time for a change?
My previous firm was my first “proper job”. I joined in 2012, trained up, qualified, and spent 8 years there. It was a relatively big firm so there was lots of regulation and pressures, and I thought it was time for me personally to make a move, while staying where my passion was, here in Audit. I wanted to find a firm that had ambitious growth plans. I wanted to be a part of that firm’s growth and be able to help them further down the line.
What caught your eye about CP?
I wasn’t familiar with CP, but I researched the firm and the role on offer and that’s when you start to see the offices, the people and learn about the culture. It then all sort of “brightens up”. You wake up and go, “hold on, this seems too good to be true.”
I suppose when you see a firm like CP, so different to the norm, it’s difficult to turn that down. The culture, the people focus, the flexibility, the fast growth. Also, the recruitment process was simple – the interviews felt more like good conversations with down-to-earth people, so that made things enjoyable in the process.
Did you ever consider working in industry?
If you talk to people at some of the bigger firms, they tend to say they lose the passion for Audit. I don’t always think that’s true, it’s more the baggage that comes with it. Audit gives you a lot of variety – you’re speaking to different people in different businesses and dealing with different markets and industries.
I never wanted to leave that behind. I just wanted to do Audit somewhere that did it differently to some of the bigger firms.
How did you find joining us?
It was a fantastic experience. I was able to start talking to clients and our team straight away. Really early on I was having lunch with the Head of Audit or bumping into different Partners and having a casual chat – that just doesn’t happen in bigger firms.
Everyone was so welcoming and made a big effort to make me feel at home. It felt like I’d been here much longer than I had, and the great communication and socials continued virtually through COVID too, which was amazing.
How has your time been so far at CP? What’s been different?
The workload is more controlled, the resourcing of jobs is more flexible, and everyone is great at what they do, so it makes it easy to really enjoy the job.
There is a big “togetherness” here. We have various offices, yet it really feels like one firm, which is how it should be. In my previous job, there were a lot of offices around the country, and it was very rare you’d speak to people in those.
What about in your personal life?
There has been a big positive shift in my work-life balance. The control you have over your time and work here has such a big impact on your life and social time. It’s been really great because with work-life balance in a good place, you start to fall in love with Audit again when those time related stresses are removed.
Was joining a few weeks before the first lockdown a bit scary?
The team were already using technology to work together remotely well before COVID, so it made it easy for us to react and adapt. There was a big focus on not losing touch, everyone kept communicating and there were always regular catch ups.
When you go into lockdown it’s worrying. You want to be reassured that your job, your company etc. was fine and the communication provided that. Plus, we’ve continued to win plenty of new clients and welcome new people to the team, which is fantastic.
What are you excited about for the future?
Short-term, spending more time in the office and seeing the team and other people again. Longer-term, I’m excited to help the business grow. COVID hasn’t affected our growth plans so it’s exciting to see that carry on and be a part of it because I know there’s a lot more to come.
If you fancy switching things up like Anoop, we’ve got plenty of roles available here at Cooper Parry, and they’re yours for the taking.