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My ACA experience: Andrew

Andrew is a Trainee at Moore Stephens LLP, who, after eight years as a personal trainer, decided to pursue a career in accountancy.

Andrew Hoover

Andrew Hoover Trainee, BDO UK LLP

ICAEW route: Apprenticeship

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: UK

Andrew's story...

I had an unusual start to my accountancy career. I went to university in the US and then worked for eight years as a personal trainer. So the Level 4 Accounting Technician apprenticeship was a big career change for me. However, I knew I wanted to work in a profession with good career progression and earning potential, where I would be able to learn new skills.

I found the programme on the Moore Stephens website and thought I’d give it a try. My family had a lot to do with my decision, but ultimately it was my wife who encouraged me to take the leap and change careers. I’m really glad that I did, and I can see that it was a good choice for my family and for my own personal development.

Being a personal trainer taught me how to be client-focused, which is a very important skill for auditors. I have always been good with numbers and logic also, however the learning curve on this apprenticeship has been quite steep. I’d barely ever used Excel before!

My days are quite varied. I visit a range of clients – from large shipping companies to small charities. I have worked on external and internal audits, written reports and have recently been involved in preparing financial statements. I really enjoy seeing how various organisations operate. It might sound odd, but I also quite like the technical side of accounting, such as analysing data or learning about accounting standards and financial controls.

Admittedly, I’ve faced a couple of challenges as an apprentice. My wife and children are obviously a priority, so finding the time to study can be hard. This usually means I end up studying late in the evening, even on weekends. However, this apprenticeship is important to me, so I know it’s a temporary sacrifice for long-term rewards. I also set myself high standards, which sometimes means I can be rather self-critical. If I ever doubt myself, I just take a step back and look at what I’ve achieved so far, rather than worrying about how much I still have to learn.

Being around other people who are studying for the same exams as me has also been a great support, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting new colleagues. One thing that has impressed me is the general level of intelligence and work ethic that I see around the office. I am especially impressed with my younger colleagues, as I don’t think I would have been able to do this apprenticeship at their age!

I would encourage anyone who is considering a career in accountancy to look into apprenticeships. A university degree and the life experience that goes along with it are certainly highly valued. However, if you go to university you might still have to study for a professional qualification afterwards. Taking the apprenticeship route means you can start earning money straight away and avoid student debt.

My advice is to speak to as many people as you can and to make your choice carefully. As for me, I enjoy the breadth of experience that I am getting in audit, and I would also like to explore other areas of accountancy. My main goal now is to complete the ACA qualification.


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