I knew that I wanted to be an accountant from a young age and studying accounting at college and university confirmed it. The ACA appealed to me as it is a well-known reputable qualification, held by many.
I knew I wanted to train with a medium-sized audit firm to gain a variety of experience with different types and sizes of clients, therefore when a colleague recommended Kingston Smith LLP (as they trained with them too) I applied via their website.
My high school German teacher, who I am still friends with today, offered me a part-time role as a bookkeeping assistant of her and her husband’s company after I left school.
They were both very helpful during my recruitment process and even introduced me to a previous Kingston Smith employee who gave me advice and some work experience within his new role as a financial controller.
Initially when I was offered the job I was slightly worried about working full time and studying, however, I was surprised by how well they work together.
We attended college to study and could therefore focus all of our attention on our studies. In addition, study periods and exams were well spaced apart enabling us to have a break from our studies. There was also plenty of time to fit in social activities with friends, including work events.
Before I started working, I thought I would be predominantly based in an office dealing with numbers all day, which I was looking forward to as I really enjoyed maths and accounting in my prior studies.
My perception has since changed for the better, as my role includes liaising with clients on a daily basis, analytically reviewing figures and explanations as well as solving a variety of issues. The role is very interesting, almost every day I learn something new.
On a typical day at work I will be in the client’s office, auditing all areas of their financial statements and leading or coordinating the audit team.
I will also spend a considerable amount of time liaising with the client over their systems and any other areas of interest as a result of the audit. Other days include working in the office preparing financial statements on behalf of clients.
I really enjoy preparing financial statements from clients records as you end up seeing the complete picture and understanding all areas of the financial statements and their disclosures. There is also a sense of achievement in seeing a set of accounts that you have produced.
I have developed a wide range of skills including: team work; professionalism; liaising with clients; and being analytical, as well as developing an eye for detail, keeping to deadlines and being organised.
In addition, my technical knowledge has developed. Not only am I able to put our theoretical studies into practice, but I come across new areas regularly, such as unusual accounting treatments, SORP and FRS102, which we are not taught in college.
I finish my training contract in three months qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, this will see me progressing to a supervisor and then onto an audit manager within the space of just over a year.
I believe that staying within audit will help enhance my experience and skills. I could then see myself moving on to become a financial controller or director of a small or medium sized company or charity.
One of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced during my ACA studies was studying for all three final ACA exams at once and having the exams one after another on consecutive days. This took commitment and complete concentration on my studies during this period.
My advice for those considering an accountancy career is to make sure you research a variety of different roles; understanding what you will be expected to do and what you are likely to gain from such a role.
If you have any questions you should feel free to contact the potential employer and enquire with them.