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My ACA experience: Laura

Laura knew that she wanted to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant before she went to university and so chose to study a degree that offered exemptions to the ACA. After graduating she focused on applying for jobs offering training and joined Shorts. She says working is very different from studying at university, but that her confidence in her abilities has grown as she has developed her knowledge and skills through the ACA.

Laura O'Doherty, ACA Trainee at Shorts

Laura O’Doherty ACA Trainee, Shorts

ICAEW route: Finance degree

Industry: Various

Location: UK, Chesterfield

Laura's story...

Studying at university and actually applying accountancy in practice are very different.

As an ACA trainee every day is different. One day I might be preparing a client’s VAT return and the next I’m out onsite conducting an audit.

Becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant was a natural progression. I enjoyed maths at school, and with my mother already a qualified accountant I decided to follow her into the profession. 

I also got some really valuable work experience in several different areas of accountancy, particularly account preparation, and decided that the ACA would be the best qualification for me.

I studied Accounting and Finance at Nottingham Trent University and found I had a natural flair for preparing accounts and tax computations. I then focused on Tax and Audit in my second and third years.

While at university, I was lucky enough to speak to ICAEW on campus to find out more about the ACA qualification.

They talked about all the benefits of becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, so I then applied for graduate jobs which included ACA training.

As I work for a chartered accountancy practice, I need to be able to prepare accounts, have an understanding of taxation and stay up to date on the accounting and audit standards that apply to our clients. 

Initially, I didn’t have the confidence to give advice to clients. However, as I’ve gained more knowledge, skills and experience through the ACA, my confidence has grown and I can provide clients with appropriate advice. 

In the future I would like to continue my role, working in practice, as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

My initial advice to any student thinking about a career in accountancy is to gain work experience while at school.

They should also think about the various routes into chartered accountancy (ie, AAT-ACA, school-leaver and graduate).

I chose to go down the university route and applied for courses that offered exemptions from the ACA qualification, however, if tuition fees were as high as they are now, I would have chosen to study AAT first.

Find your route

There are a number of different routes to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can start your journey straight from school, while you're at university or after you have graduated. Find out which route is right for you.

Find your route