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.