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My ACA experience: Caitlin

Caitlin is a Trainee at Moore Stephens LLP. She had always wanted a career in finance in London and the Level 4 apprenticeship helped to make her dream come true straight after school.

Caitlin Mason

Caitlin Mason Trainee, Moore Stephens LLP

ICAEW route: Apprenticeship

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: UK

Caitlin's Story

Like most people, I had been set on a path leading to university from a young age. So when I finished school, I assumed that’s what I was going to do. I first heard about apprenticeships at school when an ex-pupil gave a talk about their experience, but even then, I didn’t consider it as an option.

During college, I started to learn more about apprenticeships, and with encouragement from my parents, I looked into different programmes. I spoke to many different people to gain more insight into my options. University students and other apprentices told me about their experiences. Additionally, I reviewed school leaver routes offered by different organisations. In the end, I decided an apprenticeship was the best route for me.

I always knew I wanted to work in the London finance industry. By choosing to do an apprenticeship, I was able to realise this dream earlier, while earning money and gaining experience debt-free.

Before I started my apprenticeship, I thought accountants just sat at their desks, looking at numbers. But that couldn’t be further from the truth – most of my time is spent out of the office, visiting a wide range of businesses. This has given me the opportunity to get to know many different companies. Every client is unique, so you learn a lot about varied industries.

Accountancy as a profession is really diverse, as there are lots of routes you can explore, depending on your interests. A typical day starts with speaking to my manager, and being given tasks for the day. I work largely independently, asking any questions if I have an issue. There’s also a lot of client interaction, as I have to make many enquiries.

The most challenging part of the job is around exam time, as I have to work during the day and then study in the evenings. Adapting to this was hard at first as the exams are tough. However, with planning and hard work it is very manageable, especially as the exams are spread throughout the year.

All in all, I have a good work-life balance. I still have time to pursue my hobbies, such as travelling, hockey and long-distance running, as well as socialising. Accountants are actually very sociable, and we often get together as a team after work.

To summarise, when it comes to options after school, it’s really important to keep an open mind and not assume that university is the only choice available.

Find your route

There are a number of different routes to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can start your journey straight from school, while you're at university or after you have graduated. Find out which route is right for you.

Find your route

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