Upstream Finance Challenger, Joint Venture Audit Team
As a Finance Challenger, Brooke Sheppard is two years into a three-year rotational program at BP called the Challenge Program. In the program, Brooke is immersed in all aspects of finance and accounting at BP—her first rotation was in onshore finance operations, and now she’s on the JV audit team. But the role isn't limited to typical finance and accounting projects: Every day, she works side by side with engineers and geologists to learn the ins and outs of the oil and gas industry, including technicalities of machinery, well sites, reservoirs, and more.
How did you get your start at BP?
I started as an intern in 2011, assigned to the Gulf of Mexico division. Even as an intern, I felt like I wasn’t just doing busy work: I was working on projects that would change the way the company functioned. For instance, I helped remap the accounting system for the Gulf after the company reorganized from a regional to functional organization. I also helped standardize area reporting for each asset in the Gulf; at the time, BP had eight platforms in the Gulf, and each was reporting financials differently. I created one standardized format for reporting to the VP. When I talk to the team I used to work with, they still use the report I created and nicknamed it “Th e Brooke Report,” which makes me know that my work is significant!
What have you learned in your role?
To be honest, coming into this role I didn’t know much about the energy industry—but I’ve gotten so much exposure since I’ve been here. I’ve learned about the global demand for energy, including how much it will increase in the coming years and which regions are demanding the most resources. I’ve learned how BP has planned its assets and carefully designed its portfolio to meet that demand for decades to come. That gives me confidence in my employer—BP is already planning for energy demand 100 years from now!
What kind of career development does BP provide?
In my opinion, BP offers some of the best training in the industry. In the Challenge Program, we have training requirements both in and out of the classroom with industry experts. I’ve taken classes on economic modeling skills from a Schlumberger employee who helped develop the Petroleum Economic Evaluation Program, and another class on rock formation from a University of Tulsa geologist. I’ve been in the on-campus drilling simulator room that BP uses to train the people who will drill our wells in the future.
What brings you to work every day?
I like coming to work because I never feel like I’ve exhausted the opportunities to learn here. Every day I show up, I have a chance to learn a new skill or observe something I have never had exposure to before. There’s always a new part of the business to learn. The people I work with are true industry experts. For instance, there’s a Petroleum Accountants Society of Houston which is part of the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS); they create guidance documentation for companies around the world to do accounting transactions in oil and gas. People on my team are the officers in that society. In fact, I sit next to a former President of the society and discuss emerging issues with her every day!