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My ACA experience: Adam

Adam wanted a career path and qualification where he felt he wasn’t tied down to just one profession.

Adam Cane, Business Trainee at EY

Adam Cane Business Trainee, EY

ICAEW route: School-leaver programme

Industry: Various

Location: UK

Adam's story...

The thought of having a qualification which is recognised all over the world and will allow me to take on any career path I want appeals to me.

Having the ACA qualification does not tie me down to just one profession, whereas I feel some qualifications are too industry specific.

After my GCSE’s I wanted to improve my soft skills to increase my chances of securing an apprenticeship. I didn’t have much experience using Microsoft Excel. I gave up an hour or two a week to strengthen my spreadsheet skills. Outside of my typical school work, I spent an hour or so a day reading newspapers and articles online to find out exactly what was going on in the real business world and improve my commercial awareness. I then related the theory I had learned in school to identify why such things have occurred, this also helped me hugely in my A-Levels.

My favourite part of the job is how varied the work is. Some days I will be on Excel almost all day, other days I will be planning social events with clients or going to schools to do talks and share my experiences. The days are never boring and believe me, you will develop a huge number of skills, some you never thought you even had!

I can’t lie, work is challenging, but it is arguably one of the best parts of the job, developing new skills and improving on your current skillset - this is very rewarding.

During non-exam periods it is easier, after work I often go and meet friends for dinner or go and kick a ball around at the park. However, during exam periods it is a little more difficult, you have to get the work-life balance right and revise.

It is worth the hard work and if it was easy, everyone would be a chartered accountant!

There are 2 main reasons why I decided not to go to university (and I definitely would pick the same path again):

  1. I am a very hands on individual. I like exploring different ways of doing things to get the best out of my ability and I think the working world could cater for this more than university.
  2. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. When I was at school I knew I wanted to go into financial services of some sort. I was always interested and good (hopefully my teachers can vouch for that) at economics and I knew if I went to university, I would come out looking for a job similar to what I have now, so why wait 3 / 4 years?

I personally would advise, if you do not know what you want to do in the future, going to university is not a bad idea, you can still become chartered if you do or do not go to university and I think school leaver programmes are suited better for those who know what career path they want.

The ACA has really helped to develop my maturity, organisational and business writing skills.

In five years I see myself as a qualified accountant, climbing the ranks at EY or using the skills I have learned in the past five years to set up my own business and see where that takes me! As much as looking long-term is a great idea, you’re living the present so you need to make sure you enjoy it!

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