Life at PKF

10 month secondment: From Sydney to London

At the beginning of 2023, we welcomed Alex Schipp from PKF Sydney for a 10 month secondment in our Corporate Tax team.

With Alex due to return home soon, we caught up with him to talk about his time with us.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. I went to university there too and studied Accounting and Finance. During my final year, a friend who worked at PKF Sydney suggested I apply for a part time summer role before finishing my degree. It involved working three days a week at PKF and then three days at university, which was ideal. As I approached the end of my degree, a graduate role became available in the Tax team and I was in the right place at the right time! I’ve now been there since 2019.

What promoted you to think about a secondment?

I’ve always liked the idea of living abroad, and taking myself out of my comfort zone to experience a new country and culture. Colleagues of mine in Sydney had done secondments to PKF in London and had great things to say about the firm, the culture and London life! I thought it’d also be a great experience to build my professional network too.

What was great was the encouragement I got from the Partners to apply for it. They’re really behind the scheme and put me in touch with the right people to make it happen. Before I knew it, I was here!

How have you found London life?

Life in London is great, both professionally and personally.

From day one everyone at PKF was welcoming and super friendly. The biggest transition was the change in processes and systems, but that was to be expected and everyone in the team was patient and willing to help.

London really is fantastic – it’s such a great city. I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve been able to watch Liverpool at Anfield and go to the Ashes for an Australia vs. England match.

It’s also opened up so many opportunities for me to travel to countries across Europe. I’ve visited 11 countries since being here. Some of my favourite places have been Prague, Scotland and Italy –  I’ve visited Italy three times to explore different cities (who doesn’t love pasta and pizza every day). I’ve got a final trip before I head back home to Stockholm for the Christmas markets, which I’m really looking forward to.   

What are your plans for the future?

I’m starting back at PKF Sydney in January 2024, after the Christmas break. It’ll be great to see old colleagues, as well as my friends and family, again!  I’ve also really missed the ocean, so I can’t wait to take a dip!

The secondment has been such a great experience, and I’d love to come back to work in London again.

What advice do you have for others who may be considering a secondment?

I really recommend it; it’s definitely worth doing. It’s completely natural to be nervous when you first go but you make friends so easily and find your feet within no time at all. The experience has been invaluable and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.