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My ACA experience: Alanis

Alanis was sure that she didn’t want to go to university and was keen to explore other options. The wide range of work and the challenges they faced excited her! she knew from then on that, that was the career she wanted.

Alanis Cooper

Alanis Cooper Junior Tax Associate, BDO LLP

ICAEW route: School-leaver programme

Industry: Tax

Location: London, UK

Alanis' story...

Tell us about your career journey and what you do day-to-day in your role. 

  • Currently work within the Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions department, as part of a team of 150, working mainly on tax compliance, however I have had some exposure to tax risk consultancy work such as CCO and SAO.
  • Currently work across a variety of industries and sectors, including large listed investment groups, to well-known retail brands.
  • Manage client’s portfolio throughout the year, ensuring that deadlines are achieved, and all relevant information is sent to clients on time, with quality work still being delivered to my seniors to receive.
  • Part of the learning and development team, making monthly ‘Learning and Development Digests’ to send out to the team. Each month is a new topic; examples of previous topics are communication, performance review, remote working and networking. The guide usually contains upcoming internal training dates, courses available, multiple articles & a few TED talks that are relevant to the monthly topic.
  • Coaching junior team members, reviewing their work and providing informative, constructive feedback to enable them to develop their skills.
  • Requesting additional information from clients as part of the process of completing and sub-mitting tax returns on behalf of clients.
Why do you think it’s so important that workplaces support and celebrate diversity? Has ICAEW played a role in this?

Important that everyone feels welcomed and like they are part of the team, and yes as diversity is one of ICAEW key pillars the resources they have to offer will definitely help firms implement amazing things.

Why did you choose the ACA over other accounting qualifications?

As it provides me with technical and practical skills that will help me in the workplace, and can take me down so many amazing avenues.

Who or what inspired you to become a chartered accountant?

I was in sixth form, and I was sure that I didn’t want to go to university and was keen to explore other options. BDO and PWC held open days where you could go down to the offices and speak to current employees about their day-to-day role and what it is they do and how they find it.

The wide range of work and the challenges they faced excited me! I knew from then on, that was the career I wanted.

Our accountants are more than you’d imagine. They challenge the traditional accountancy routes and career paths. They have an innovative approach and skill to their work. How does your career path, attitude and skillset support this?

Yes, they are. There are so many different sectors that you can work in which all brings new challenges. Being an accountant requires you to be confident and bubbly which helps when dealing with clients, innovative in coming up with new ways to may work more effective and run smoother.

Do you think there is such a thing as a stereotypical accountant? If so, how do you challenge this stereotype?

When I told people I was training to be a chartered accountant and especially when I said I was working in Tax loads of people said, “I was too outgoing for this role as it’s a boring job.”. This is definitely not the case, being a chartered accountant is definitely not boring, there is new challenges every day!

Why did you decide to go down the route you did?

I loved business at school and also really loved the financial aspects to my business course, so when looking up the types of careers I could go into with them interests charted accountancy was one. As soon as I went to the open day, I realised this was the job for me! 

What do you love the most about what you do? 

I love working with a range of clients and getting to help them with their compliance cycle from the start to the end of the year, as it is really rewarding seeing the whole process.